New Ownership, Renovations Coming to Cafe Du Nord -- Future of Live Music Unclear [UPDATED]

Categories: Clubs

cafe-du-nord-changes-550.jpg
Update, 5:31 p.m.: MacNiven writes in a follow-up email: "I am intending for live music to stay [at Cafe Du Nord]... Once the hall re-opens, my ultimate goal would be to have a better live music experience than exists now."

Original post: Rumors have been circulating for months about the possible sale and/or closure of Cafe Du Nord and the Swedish American Hall, two beloved live music spaces that share an old, beautiful building with bar and restaurant at 2170 Market. The club is in the process of being sold. While the full picture of what's happening to it isn't clear yet, here's what we know based on email conversations with Dylan MacNiven, the man behind restaurants Woodhouse Fish Co. and West of Pecos, who is managing the revamping of the building and is slated to take over its liquor license:

- The whole of 2170 Market, including Cafe Du Nord and the Swedish American Hall, will close for an undetermined period next year for major renovations. "The Swedish Hall has been waiting for an elevator for 107 years, it was even built with a shaft," MacNiven writes. "The renovation is to add an elevator and ADA bathrooms throughout the building to bring it into modern compliance so that we can ensure the hall is accessible for its next 100 years." We asked him if the renovations will keep the existing performance stages and got no answer.

- Therefore, whether the new/revamped business will include live music is also unclear. [See update above.] We put that question straight to MacNiven. His response:

We are currently soliciting feedback from the community and have noted the overwhelming support for the Cafe Du Nord name and musical program. We also heard the desire for more controls of noise and crowds and can only surmise it will grow with the three adjacent residential developments. I can give you a small hint that I am a huge live music fan and that's why you see my name on the license.

Keen eyes will note that at least one local concert promoter, Shelby Ash, has scheduled a "Goodbye Cafe Du Nord" concert for the end of this month. "Please come out and show your support for local live music and say goodbye to one of the best live music venues in San Francisco," reads the Facebook invite. It's possible he knows something we don't, since all the parties involved in the sale of Du Nord have been wary of talking to us. However, Cafe Du Nord's concert calendar is full through the end of January and includes one event each in February and March. MacNiven, in his emails, said there were no concerts scheduled for the proposed renovation period, although he didn't specify what that period was.

Still, it doesn't look good for live music fans: So, Cafe Du Nord is changing owners, will be renovated, and may or may not continue to host shows as it has. If the club as we know it does come to an end, it would be a major blow to the city's live music scene. But we'll wax poetic on that in a future post. We're still seeking more information on changes to Du Nord and will update here as we get it.

-- @iPORT



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26 comments
Brendan Foley
Brendan Foley

I would like to see the Daniel Francis Band!

SeanD
SeanD

A great venue - I'd keep the programming more or less as it is - there are always at least half a dozen shows there I go to every year.

nonny
nonny

We were supposed to have our wedding there next year and were completely blindsided by this news a few weeks ago.  Still pretty bitter about how it all went down...

anon
anon

So a bunch of luxury condos get built on Market for the tech millionaires and all of a sudden there needs to be more crowd and noise controls at Cafe Du Nord??

JesusAngelGarcia
JesusAngelGarcia

We (Three Times Bad) played a legit EPIC Shelby Ash "Urban Hillbilly" show there once with Possum & Lester, Midtown Dickens, and the Human Condition. The lights went out -- on the whole block! -- but the bands continued to play acoustically on the floor under cellphone spotlights of audience members. Intimate and epic. That's what the du Nord's capable of. Great place for the current Dirty Roots Renaissance. Hope the venue carries on.

Mel Greene
Mel Greene

I LOVE this place. Keep it as it is.

joyce_bd
joyce_bd

Please keep live music at Cafe Du Nord. It is a great venue for one of the country's most vibrant Americana, country and bluegrass scenes (second only to perhaps Austin). It also has been a great place to see some of the best indie folk and singer/songwriters. Its great location near many MUNI stops and right in the middle of the Haight and the Mission only adds to what has been one of the two or three best live music venues in the City.

icehawkey
icehawkey

Bring back the rockabilly and swing. Guy was starting to book more of that. Country/ Honky Tonk/ Americana like Shelby Ash does. The indie is great but mire punk would be sweet! A Town Agency bands and Handsome Hawk Valentine presents please! Hoping the Swedish Hsll upstairs has sctually smplified music ss opposed to the mostly acoustic performances of the past. Hoping for much success!

rchrdgrace
rchrdgrace

Let's not assume the worst. Count me strongly in as a supporter of live music at Cafe du Nord, however.

April Marie
April Marie

Glad to see they are trying to keep the live music theme. Saw Lavay Smith there about 11 years ago and just loved the place.

Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson

Congrats , I love that place , saw frank black there , let me know if I can help with renovations

Lynette Stone
Lynette Stone

Keep the Twang scene & and bring back some Ska-Punk

Megan White
Megan White

SUPERMULE, Rubblebucket, Nicki Blum, Mother Hips, iLa Manwana, Model Airplane... Just to name a few would be AWESOME!

Dylan MacNiven
Dylan MacNiven

What bands would you like to see in 2014? Let me know!

Jackie Woods
Jackie Woods

Sad to see it closing, hope they keep a music venue in one of the spaces at least!

sebastien.richard
sebastien.richard

As a small note: the business is being sold not the building.

Jon Wollenhaupt
Jon Wollenhaupt

Hopefully the new owners will buy some air freshers for the place.

Jamie Guzzi
Jamie Guzzi

Hopefully sanity will prevail. Sounds like this guy gets it.

PJ Lugo
PJ Lugo

Hopefully the new owners book better bands. Love the venue but never the shows.

Joan Douglas-Fry
Joan Douglas-Fry

This is one of the most perfect venues for live music, and it's so accessible.

NorCal Crowe
NorCal Crowe

I hope it stays open as a music venue. I've seen so many good shows here!!!!!

wushuwrior
wushuwrior

@Dylan MacNiven Lee Presson and the Nails, Blacktop Tragedy, The Bastard Makers, Thee Merry Widows, Tony T and the Pendletons, Slim Jenkins, Red Meat, 

bassjeff
bassjeff

@Dylan MacNiven Hey Dylan-- we've sold out both Du Nord AND the Music Hall 2-3 times a year for the last three years running.  I've played that stage almost 50 times.  It's our home away from home-- keep it going, sir!  Jeff, bassist for the Megan Slankard Band and several others

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