Passing the Torch: La Terraza to Become Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant


There’s been lots of transformation on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, along the northern reaches of the La Lengua Autonomous Zone.

Anchoring the party, El Rio has (blessedly) been there since more or less forever, of course. More recently, the arrival of Blue Plate, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, Baby Blues BBQ, Iron and Gold,  The Royal Cuckoo, Virgil’s, ICHI Sushi+Ni Bar, the Pizza Hacker, and a few other 21st century foodie/drinkie institutions have steadily transformed the northern half of Bernal’s stretch of Mission into a destination for folks from all over our City.

Yet so far, this transformation has not extended south beyond 30th Street and our Taoist Safeway. By the time you reach the (Bernalistically symbolic) intersection of Cortland and Mission, for example, you’ll notice that the urban fabric today remains pretty much as it has been since the 1980s. Pretty much.

Now, however, comes news that evolution is coming to our southern part of Mission Street. InsideScoop broke the story yesterday, revealing that at 3472 Mission Street, a new bar/restaurant called Old Devil Moon will soon replace La Terraza.

Google recently captured La Terraza for posterity, in first-rate form, looking awesome and adrift in time:


InsideScoop sez:

Old Devil Moon is in the works at 3472 Mission Street, the location probably best known as La Terraza, which has been owned and operated by brothers Pedro and Isidro Navarette for the last 20 years. La Terraza will remain open for about three to four more months, until the liquor license transfers.

Old Devil Moon will be a craft beer bar, albeit one with a full liquor license and menu of Southern food. The folks behind it are a trio of beer nerds: Chris Cohen (founder-president of the SF Homebrewers Guild), Andrew Kelley and Will Marshall.

That’s Chris, Andrew, and Will in the photo up top (though not necessarily in that order).

At first blush, this probably looks like yet another in a contemporary series of awkward local tales about Old-Timers vs. New People. Gentrification! Hipsters! “Erosion of our San Francisco culture!”

Alas,  this isn’t really one of those kinds of stories. Instead, it’s is a tale of neighborly evolution and passing-of-the-torch.  Old Devil Moon’s Chris Cohen told Bernalwood how the change of ownership went down:

Pedro was my next door neighbor on Tiffany Ave for 5+ years, and I knew he owned la Terraza from talking over the fence over the years.

One day when we were both taking the trash out at the same time I asked him if he knew any bar owners who may want to sell (I’d been looking for a space for months). He said, “I’ve actually been thinking about retiring for a couple years, I’d love to sell you my place.” It took another few months to get the deal done and we finally just posted the ABC notice of license transfer in their window today. Everyone did well and is happy with the results of the deal.

It’s essentially similar to what happened with Emmy’s taking over El Zocalo, and the Nap’s/Virgil’s story. Nap was ready to quit the business, and his bar wasn’t doing as well as it used to because the neighborhood had changed around the business. The process and reason for the changes at our La Terraza location are similar.

Pedro and his brother Isidro have owned La Terraza for about 20 years and are ready to retire. They were happy to sell to a neighbor.

PHOTO: Team Old Devil Moon, via Old Devil Moon

28 thoughts on “Passing the Torch: La Terraza to Become Craft Beer Bar and Restaurant

  1. Thank you Bernalwood for exploring the nuance of torch passing in the neighborhood! And that this transition germinated over trash night, so perfect. Yeah Neighbors!

  2. Best part- There’s still three months to go in for that hamberguesa I think “i need to go try one day” every time my bus passes by!

  3. The outside of that building can sure use some TLC ! I hope they plan on doing some painting and replace windows and the sidewalk can sure use a steam clean

  4. BEER NERDS UNITE!!! I am delighted about this news for the beer, and also for getting a little more love to the south side of the hill. Now the question remains, do they mean ‘Old Devil Moon’ by Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Judy Garland,…..none of the above??

    Best of luck guys, see ya for some suds in Spring 2015

  5. This is great news for our nabe. The craft beer revolution that has extended to every corner of our country has finally found us!. I’ve known Chris and Andrew for several years and have shared many beers with them. They really know a lot about how to enjoy the new and excitingly tasty brews being produced all around the world. Best of all, they love to teach people about them. It will not be a snobby enclave of uber-rare beer seeking geeks. They won’t allow that to happen. It will be a place where neighbors can relax and enjoy tasty beers and food and talk about beer as much or as little as they wish.

    Along with Holy Water and even Lucky Horseshoe, Old Devil Moon will afford the opportunity for us Bernalians (and whoever else wants to visit) to enjoy great beer along with the great food we’ve had for many years. Cheers!


  6. Oh PLEASE, god, PLEASE give that storefront some semblance of intelligent design an sophistication, unlike the Emmy’s Urban Uglification eyesore model. And yes, let’s get the goddamn gum spots off the sidewalk. What is this, the Gum Spot capital of the entire universe? I love Bernal, and have lived here for 30 years, but walking along these few blocks of Mission can be very discouraging.

    • I agree, that emmy’s spaghetti shack building was the ugliest eye sore in the hood. It was as ugly as the servers were crappy. Do you know what’s going in the old shack building?

      • DEAR GOD, Please help us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when you could go to a pupuseria and get a cheese and a pork pupusa and Salvadoran cole slaw, and get change back from your $10 bill, while sitting in plastic chairs with wobbly feet as a novela played in the background. Please comfort us in these days of discomfort by making a restaurant for US, the people who are basic working sitffs, who just want comfort food in a comfortable place and don’t have to worry whether we look chic enough to set foot in the front door.

  7. Thanks for lovely story ! I bought my house 39 years ago from a fellow I knew. He was on a SF Art Commission committee I was also on! He and his lovely Wife and family moved to Santa Rosa! They actually came down to one of my Open Studios and were thrilled to see how I had added on my Studio ! Good vibes alway are wonderful and congrats on the new venture!

  8. Todd – It would be wonderful if it were indeed “Passing the Torch” – implying the preservation of a certain tradition of live Latin music and dancing, and clientele. I went to La Terraza in the early 1970s and heard Jose Santana (Carlos’ Dad) play violin in a Mariachi band. I later booked the band for a festival at Fort Mason.

  9. HIGHER PRICES all around. Yeah, neighborly transitions, yeah, local guys, yeah yeah yeah, but it still means gut-wrenching higher prices and THAT is something that will delineate the locals from the auslanders arriving here from Boston with their super-paying programming jobs.

    THANKFULLY, last night I visited an old-style Italian restaurant and had a great meal. First, it was a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, whole olives, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, cheese, and a peppercorn dressing. That was followed by a multi-layer meaty lasagne and garlic bread. Price? $40 like the place across the street? Nope. $30? Nope. $25? No siree. It was just $11. People’s Prices!

    THERE NEEDS to be places to drink and dine for the working classes, not just for the landed gentry. I don’t see “Old Devil Moon” going in that direction. I see it as a place of $9 “craft” beers and $10 appetizers. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I won’t be.

    PS: I don’t reveal the people’s priced places I visit because I don’t want to see the nouveau riche buy them out and jack up the prices. It happens too often. Meanwhile, I know places I can get well drinks for $4 ($3 happy hour) and full, delicious meals for less than $14.

    • You sound like my grandmother who goes into great detail about what she ate and her subsequent bowel movements. Reach for the stars, David.

    • David, if you’re asking a new independent businesses being built from the ground up in one of the most expenses cities in the US to operate at Olive Garden prices, you certainly don’t think much of new, independent businesses. In the meantime, there’s about 30 other established restaurants within 4 blocks that the average person would find affordable.

      • NEGOTIATION is the key. I draw attention to Herb Coen’s book, “You Can Negotiate Anything”, and Robert Ringer’s “Winning Through Intimidation”. Both books tell us that we DON’T have to accept “market rates” for things. Just because a business is new does NOT mean that they have to charge high prices for their products or services.

        When I moved into my 3-bedroom apartment in 2001 the rent was $2065 a month. Today, 13 years later, it’s $1859. How’d THAT happen? Whenever the lease came up for renewal I negotiated the price downward, showing the management company that I was a GREAT tenant, who was conscientious and always paid on time with checks that were always good, more helpful than a roomful of Boy Scouts, etc. If they weren’t willing to at least talk about a rent reduction or a perq of some kind, I’d get up to leave. You must have NO FEAR about walking away from any deal.

        Regarding the restaurant biz (I was in it for 6 years in Portland), I noticed that my suppliers were screwing me over. Sysco, Rykoff, and Code, the major suppliers at the time, kept jacking up the prices. “Well, that’s what’s in the book”, except that I noticed one day as a salesman was rooting through his trunk that he had MANY “books” and apparently with different prices. I then got the bright idea of scheduling the salesmen within MINUTES of each other so that they saw each other coming and going. Within 2 weeks I’d seen a 20% REDUCTION in the prices for our food.

        MOST new restaurants in SF today charge outrageously high prices for food, but yet there are those that are reasonable. PIZZA HACKER is one of those reasonable places. The food is always high quality, too.

        But most nouveau folks who open new businesses, especially restaurants, pay full retail for everything and then GOUGE their hipster moneyed customers, who (for the first few months anyway) are more than willing to pay the high prices. The rest of us, well…

  10. I’m gonna have a heart attack a few weeks after they open. I love craft beer and Southern food. I’m from The South too. I even live a block away from Mission St on Cortland and i’m never going to leave the hood now. Oh no, I’m not gonna live long very soon.

  11. Pingback: Coming Soon: A New Golden Age for Beer in Bernal Heights | Bernalwood

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