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Monday, July 19, 2010

Mission May Get New Orleans-Style Jazz Venue/Restaurant

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 1:12 PM

click to enlarge 777 Valencia from Google Street View
  • 777 Valencia from Google Street View
Sure, Yoshi's in the Fillmore can't turn a profit by booking only jazz. But why should that stop anyone from opening another jazz-focused venue in San Francisco -- this time in, say, the hipster ghetto of the Mission?

Aha, but we dream big in San Francisco; it shouldn't be just any jazz venue -- howabout a West Coast satellite of the New Orleans Preservation Hall?

This, according to the Examiner and the Chronicle, is what Oakland restaurateur Jack Knowles is considering for 777 Valencia, a nifty old building formerly occupied by New College of California. Knowles is in talks with folks from the New Orleans Preservation Hall to open a restaurant/jazz venue in downtown hipsterville. And although no plans have been finalized, the Chron says the offshoot could open as soon as next summer.

The Examiner seems to regard this idea as slightly wacky, given the city's long-term investment in the Fillmore as a jazz/entertainment district (read: giving Financial assistance to Yoshi's at the anchor tenant):

Millions of dollars and years of planning to transform the Lower Fillmore district into a jazz destination might not be enough to stop a famed New Orleans jazz venue from opening in the Mission district.

Yet Yoshi's owner Kaz Kajimura doesn't seem to have a problem with the idea, suggesting to the Ex that the arrival of a new jazz venue in the Mission might "raise the consciousness" of San Francisco as a live music destination.

As happy as we'd be to see another live music venue open up in San Francisco, the idea seems rather brave. If Yoshi's can't survive by booking jazz alone -- with financial help from the city, a gorgeous new building, and a location in a so-called jazz district -- one wonders how a club/restaurant without those advantages could make it. Still, we'd love to see them try.

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Ian S. Port


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