Old Bus Tavern Getting a Neighborhood-Focused Makeover


It’s been 2+ years since Old Bus Tavern opened at 3193 Mission (near Valencia) in the heart of La Lengua’s fashionably low-key restaurant and entertainment district.  Along  the way, Old Bus has garnered a lot of enthusiastic notice and acclaim. Now it’s time to change things up a bit, as Old Bus plans to give itself a more casual makeover, in a way that’ll probably please many hungry and drinky  Bernalese.

Old Bus brewmaster and co-owner Ben Buchanan tells Bernalwood:

Wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes at Old Bus Tavern.

As owners, Jimmy, John and I have decided to take our food program in a more casual direction — a decision that reflects our original vision of building a neighborhood brewpub that offers an easygoing vibe and a comfortable menu of craft beer, cocktails, and food that locals can enjoy often.

The primary driver behind the shift is the rapid growth of our beer program. We recently started distributing OBT beer to a solid list of SF beer bars and restaurants, including Old Devil Moon, Alamo Drafthouse/Bear Vs Bull bar, Wesburger, and Liquid Gold. A more casual approach to our food frees up resources for our beer program, which is the heart of the operation and the original reason we created OBT.

In addition to creating more time for beer-related pursuits, we were motivated by neighborhood feedback, which has been a unanimous vote for more accessible brewpub fare. Although we are dialing down the fine dining factor, the new food program won’t compromise integrity.

We are currently working on the new menu with a longtime friend, culinary consultant Blair Warsham (Adriano Paganini’s The Bird, Christopher Kostow’s American Express Centurion Lounge), who is crafting dishes that are comforting, delicious, and beer-friendly. The menu is still in the works, but we’re keeping favorites like the burger, chili, and cornbread, and introducing new craveable items like Frito Pie with housemade Fritos.

This Saturday, February 25th will be the last day we’re serving our current dinner menu. The brewpub will be closed for two weeks to allow us to make interior updates, train, and transition to the new menu. When we reopen on Sunday, March 12th, OBT will operate seven days a week (up from five), serve an all-day menu on weekends starting at 11 a.m., and offer free live music every Sunday.

We’re really excited about these changes, and we hope the neighborhood will be as well. Basically, the goal is more beer, more accessible and delicious food, and more FUN.


PHOTO: Old Bus Tavern facade, via InsideScoop

14 thoughts on “Old Bus Tavern Getting a Neighborhood-Focused Makeover

  1. I live a block away and have never been. Another San Francisco restaurant without a single vegetarian main course. Looks like a fun place but I’m not going to go out and spend a ton of money feeling left out or make an embarrassing meal of “sides”

    • When they opened it was pretty much all small plates (with the exception of the burger), many of which were vegetarian, and since their first menu update (when they changed to a more traditional menu format) have had a vegetarian entree.

  2. Great idea! I applaud this. I went a couple of times when they opened but avoided it after because the menu was to spend-y, sit-down-y and small-plate-y.

    Since Bernal is becoming a beer-centric area, this will lend itself well to beer-browsing opportunities.

  3. Well, we don’t eat out often but ended up there after aplay. Very gracious service, great beer and I did not thing it was a fussy menu.

  4. Nice news! But…sure hope they also get a new barmaid with a less prickly vibe. Even her sweet cocktails left a bitter aftertaste.

  5. I’m not usually phased by restaurant pricing. We eat out a fair amount and I expect tabs to be pricey in this super expensive town. Their menu though, between the portions and the prices, seemed abnormally spendy. I’m glad they listened to the neighborhood folks on this one. Because unlike I guess some others I have found everybody I’ve talked to who works there super nice.

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