Elbo Room to Reopen as New Bar and Venue This Month

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Dimly lit dive the Elbo Room closed at the end of 2018. (KQED)

With condo plans dashed, the longtime site of Mission District haunt the Elbo Room will reopen this month as the Valencia Room, a bar and venue geared toward electronic music, Eater reports.

The Elbo Room, a dimly lit dive with an upstairs venue that opened in 1991 at 647 Valencia Street, was mourned for years before its doors closed at the end of 2018, with many lamenting the property owners’ ongoing plans to raze the historic two-story building in favor of new housing.

But city officials ultimately denied the landlords’ development plans. So while Elbo Room operators Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu launched Elbo Room Jack London in Oakland, Susan and Dennis Ring sold the building to Steve Schefsky, owner of Playland and Topsy’s Fun House.

Schefsky in turn partnered with Sylvia Holden and David Che, who’d been running a bar in Brooklyn called Mary’s, to create and operate the Valencia Room. Che told Eater that changes to the bar, which started in January, stress “restoration over renovation.” There will be newspaper and magazine collages on the walls as well as a new bathroom upstairs.

Music fans will note several more speakers downstairs and a new Void Acoustics sound-system in the upstairs venue, a setup reflecting the Valencia Room operators’ stated plans to prioritize DJs and electronic music over the rock fare associated with the Elbo Room.


The Valencia St. address previously housed lesbian bar Amelia’s and, before that, cowboy-themed watering hole Luke & Larry’s.