SF Castro arcade bar to reopen next week as The Detour

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Friday July 12, 2019
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The Castro bar and arcade formerly known as Brewcade plans to reopen as The Detour next week. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
The Castro bar and arcade formerly known as Brewcade plans to reopen as The Detour next week. Photo: Courtesy Facebook

A popular arcade and craft beer bar on upper Market Street in San Francisco's gay Castro district is set to reopen next week under the moniker of The Detour.

For longtime residents and visitors of the gayborhood the business name will be a familiar one, as it was used by a former gay bar that once was located a block away at 2348 Market Street. It closed in 2005 and its storefront was later incorporated into the space now occupied by gay dance club Beaux.

Initially opened in 2015 as Brewcade by co-owners Tiffny Vergara Chung and her brother, Shawn Vergara, the arcade shuttered last month in order for it to expand into the adjacent restaurant space at 2200 Market Street. As the Bay Area Reporter first reported in September, the siblings wanted to combine the two ground floor retail spaces in the building into one totaling roughly 5,000 square feet in order to add additional game offerings and to serve food to their patrons.

The corner restaurant space had initially been home to the LGBT-owned Hecho Cantina. But it shuttered in April 2017 and the Andal� Management Group (AMG) then opened Botell�n in December of that year. That eatery closed last fall.

When Brewcade shut its doors in June for the revamp, its co-owners had announced the new name for the expanded business would be District 8, in reference to the supervisorial district that includes the Castro. But due to concerns voiced by South Beach wine and whiskey bar District that the two names were too similar, the Brewcade owners opted to instead revive the name of the shuttered gay bar The Detour.

"We ran into a hiccup with our branding. Our lawyer advised us that our risk level was at about a 3 and worst case scenario ... here we are at square 1," the arcade owners noted in a Facebook post last month. "Although we knew there was risk in using the name District 8, we still wanted to go for it because we felt the name was so fitting as it represents our neighborhood and community."

The Detour is shooting to soft open Monday, July 15, and plans to officially open Friday, July 19, according to a note posted on its Facebook page.

As the LGBTQ-owned business cited in its application for the change of name and additional mechanical amusement devices with the city's entertainment commission, the arcade will reopen with 16 more video games than it had before for a total of 30. It will continue to have 10 pinball machines on the premises and will not be adding any pool tables at this time.

The owners also listed the hours of operation for The Detour on the permit application as being 4 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays. Saturday hours will be noon to 2 a.m. and Sunday hours will be noon to midnight. The entertainment commission is expected to approve the permit request at its meeting Tuesday, July 16.

Because the bar owners relinquished their Type 42 liquor license due to purchasing the former restaurant's Type 47 license, they are no longer restricted to only serving people 21 years of age or older. They will also now have a full bar, which prompted their decision to no longer use "brew" in the name of the business.

"The acquisition of the restaurant will enable us to offer food and more variety of games to further enhance the concept. In addition to this, we would be able to service all ages where fun, family-friendly destinations in the neighborhood are lacking," Vergara Chung noted in the application the business submitted earlier this year to the planning department in seeking approval for the expansion.

The greatly expanded business will help in the activation of a major intersection along the upper Market Street corridor that has struggled for years because of retail vacancies in the trio of new mixed-use developments that opened on prominent corner lots where Market crosses Sanchez and 15th streets. It follows the opening last month of Willkommen, a new beer hall from San Francisco-based Black Hammer Brewing, in the intersection-fronting retail space on the ground floor of 2198 Market Street.

Across the street at 2175 Market Street sits a vacant retail space that has long been advertised as a potential restaurant location. In a portion of the building's ground floor storefront space that had housed the Myriad food hall, health provider One Medical is set to soon open its doors to its second location in the Castro.

Also helping to activate that section of upper Market Street will be a new 44-unit condo project with several retail spaces fronting the sidewalk at 2240 Market Street, a few parcels south from The Detour. Construction on the mixed-use development began Friday (July 12) and is expected to take upward of 18 months.

In the meantime, zoning changes being pushed by gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would make it easier for eateries serving only wine and beer to open in the various vacant storefronts along upper Market Street. The Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt the proposal later this month.