3300 Club Badly Damaged, But Owners Vow “We’ll Be Back”


Shukry Lama is a co-owner of the much-loved 3300 Club on the corner of Mission and 29th. The bar was heavily damaged during the June 18 Cole Hardware Fire, even though it managed to avoid the flames.  Inside, the water damage was extensive, but the good news is that the building — which also contains the Graywood Hotel SRO — has been deemed structurally sound, so it won’t require a teardown.

Shukry shared some thoughts with Bernalwood after visiting the 33 to assess the damage:

Going into the bar and seeing how much stuff was damaged, was very depressing

There was a lot of water bubbling all over the ceiling and walls. Cracks in anything plaster, and the drywall is still soaked. ABC says all of our booze is gone; we can’t resell it or return it. We have a lot of pictures from the 30s and 40s that were damaged, mostly of my grandfather who grew up in the neighborhood. We were able to save some of the old paintings we have from an old bartender who passed away a few years ago, but some were damaged. All the original art that we had on the walls from him is damaged and will have to be replaced

My jukebox guy came in, he thinks his jukebox is shot. Hopefully our insurance covers his stuff. Anything electronic is dead.

The building owner has been awesome, he and our building supervisor have been there every day and keep checking up on us. First thing he said, when the fire was still going. was, “tell your grandma not to worry, we can fix it.” He’s been sharing resources, giving advice, and generally helping talk us through the process.

It’s going to take a lot of work to come back, but we’re willing to do it and everyone has been offering their help. It will take a while, but we’ll be back.


PHOTO: Top, 3300 Club interior, photographed by Evan Sernoffsky on June 19. Below, Shukry Lama (right) with his Aunt Chris outside the 3300 Club, shortly after the fire.


Reminder: Kindly Refrain From Setting Bernal Hill on Fire During July Fourth


Bernal Hill on fire, July 4, 2013

It’s the Fourth of July weekend! Hooray! This is an exciting time of year for patriotism, barbecues, and Karl the Fog. Yet seeing as how we’re all feeling a bit pyro-phobic lately, we have a humble request for all Citizens of Bernalwood during this July Fourth holiday: Please do not turn Bernal Hill into a blazing inferno.

Bernal Hill is a popular place to watch the official fireworks pink fog show put on by the City, but it’s a dangerous place for civilians to launch their own fireworks. For example, the photo above shows Bernal Hill on July 4, 2013, after an amateur fireworks show set the hill on fire.

That was bad. Let’s not do that again. Here are some time-tested Fourth of July fire prevention tips for Bernal Hill from Neighbor Sarah:

It’s that time of year again – time for most of us to celebrate freedom, the Declaration of Independence, and the birth of our nation. It’s also time when some damage property and endanger people by setting off illegal fireworks and leaving lots of garbage behind. As we prepare for July 4, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Do not set off fireworks. Definitely don’t set them off on Bernal Hill, which is covered in dry grasses and brush. You may recall that [in 2013], some moron set the Hill on fire. Luckily, no one was hurt, but imagine if this had happened in an area crowded with people watching the downtown fireworks display. If you remember nothing else, remember this: No. Fireworks. On. Bernal. Hill.

2. If you see someone setting off illegal fireworks on Bernal Hill, call the police. Dial 553-0123 if nothing is on fire yet. Dial 911 or 553-8090 if there is an active blaze. Again, call 553-0123 if you see fireworks in progress, and call 911 if it actually sets off a fire.

PHOTO: Fire on Bernal Hill, July 4, 2013, by Neighbor Bernard

Fabulous Crowd Raises Many Thousands of $$$ During Fire Victim Fundraiser at El Rio


Last night’s benefit fundraiser for displaced victims of the June 18 Mission Street Fire was a wonderful thing. About 400 Bernal and Mission neighbors turned out to represent, and while the receipts are still being counted, together the event helped raise more than $10,000 — which will now be matched 1:1 by a generous corporate donor.  Plus, additional donations are still rolling in.

As always, El Rio was fabulous and magical, with an eclectic crowd mingling on the back  patio:


Inside, great bands were playing:


With a DJ spinning in the stylish main bar:

The raffle was a big hit:


This lucky lady won a gen-U-ine painting salvaged from the walls of the fire-damaged 3300 Club, generously donated by the bar’s owners. Quite a souvenir:


Of course, photos don’t give you a full sense of the scene, so here’s a video tour of El Rio filmed live last night from the Bernalwood Mobile Uplink iPhone:

Remember, even if you missed the fun last night, you can still make a tax-deductible contribution to the MEDA Fire Victim’s fund, right here.

It took a lot of work from a lot of people to make this fundraiser happen, so special thanks go out to:

  • Glamorous Bernal Neighbor Sana Saleem who spearheaded the event
  • Zack Mellette & William Fitzgerald, Google employees who helped organize the event and coordinate the raffle
  • The Mission Economic Development Corporation for managing the tax-deductable fund and assisting with raffle sales
  • Edwin Lindo, for organizing a relief fund, helping with raffle ticket sales, and being a lot of fun
  • El Rio’s Staff for being El Rio, and hosting the event, and donating bar proceeds to the cause
  • Virgil’s Sea Room right next door for hosting the overflow and donating proceeds to fire victims
  • All the stone-cold sexxxy musicians and entertainers who performed
  • All the fantastic local merchants  and donors who contributed items for the raffle
  • Ros and her team from the Red Cross, who have been with the survivors at the shelter since the fire
  • Carrie Grimes, site lead for the Google’s San Francisco office, who sponsored a fundraiser at the company which over 230 googlers supported.

And lastly, a very, very, very special thanks to…

Everyone who showed up last night! It was a beautiful thing to see so many people from all over the political map coming together for a common cause, at a time when our neighbors needed us most. Our community is our strength.

This Day in Bernal History: Remembering the St. Anthony’s Church Fire of 1975


Speaking of big, sad fires… on this day 41 years ago, a treasured Bernal Heights icon went up in flames. St Anthony’s Church at 3215 Army Street — Cesar Chavez at Folsom, in contemporary parlance — caught fire and burned on June 30, 1975.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle posted a remembrance:

Here’s the story from Chronicle reporter Kevin Wallace:

“Bumbling poor-box robbers may have started it by spilling an altar candle they were using to illuminate their industry.

“In any case, old St. Anthony’s Church, at 3215 Army Street, began burning at 2:50 a.m. yesterday.

“First it was just an eerie glow that attracted the attention of some passing youngsters. They turned up their car radio to deafening volume to rouse the neighborhood with a rock concert alarm, and hollered to the nine priests in the adjacent rectory.

“And right away it was a historic 4-alarm neighborhood event.

“Flames broke into the night sky all down the building’s spine. Above the altar, the blazing transept collapsed. The nave clock stopped at 3:12, a message to posterity.

“The once all-German neighborhood … assembled in hastily selected wardrobes to admire 162 firemen swarming off 47 engines with miles of coiled hoses. The hoses soon flooded Army from Shotwell to Folsom Street and eastward to Harrison, ankle-deep.

Bernalwood has written about the St. Anthony’s fire before, but to reprise; Here’s how St. Anthony’s looked from street level in 1965:


And here’s the real heartbreaker; check out this spectacular view of the church interior, as seen in 1958:


IMAGE: Top, Front Page, via San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday! Big, Special Bonus Fundraiser for Fire Victims at El Rio


There’s a big benefit for the Mission Street fire victims happening tomorrow, Thursday June 30, at the fabulous El Rio, and Bernalwood is a co-sponsor.

This is a great event to shower with copious amounts of your cash, because a generous corporate sponsor has agreed to match all the proceeds collected at the door. That means for every dollar you give, the fire victims will get twice as much of your generosity.  Here are the details:

Fundraiser for Survivors of Mission Fire on Mission St & 29th
Thursday, June 30 at 8 PM – 11:30 PM
El Rio – 3158 Mission (@Precita)

Join us for a fundraiser for survivors of the fire that burned down the homes of 58 people on Mission and 29th.

Door fee will be $10 (but no one turned away). We’ll also do a raffle. El Rio is kindly donating all bar proceeds from 8-12 to the fund.

All proceeds will go directly to the familes and will be matched 1-1 by a corporate sponsor. The Mission Economic Development Agency will process all donations and won’t be charging a fee.

You can also donate online here (with MEDA) and here (with Edwin Lindo).

Virgil’s Sea Room (the bar just next door to El Rio) will also be taking donations at the door. If there’s a long line or you want to wait, sit down and grab a cocktail while still helping our neighbors.

Event line up:

PHOTO: El Rio bowling table, by Telstar Logistics

Today! Shop and Dine on Mission Street to Benefit Fire Victims


The Mission Bernal Merchant’s Association has been working hard for the last week or so as the organization has rallied to provide assistance to residents and businesses displaced by the big five-alarm fire.

Today, Tuesday June 28, MBMA member businesses are offering special deals to help raise funds for the fire victims, so it’s a great day to shop and dine on our stretch of Mission Street:

Help our neighborhood rebuild!
Mission Bernal merchant fire relief June 28

Since the fire on June 18, our neighborhood has really come together as a community. Among other efforts, many of the businesses in Mission Bernal are doing their part to help out the residents and merchants that were victims of the fire.

On Tuesday, June 28, we encourage everyone to visit your favorite Mission Bernal business to show your support. Go to dinner at your favorite restaurant. Grab a drink at a local bar or get your hair cut.

Get some ice cream at Mitchell’s – they are donating 25% of their sales tomorrow. Buy art at Secession and we will donate 20% of the purchase price directly to the displaced merchants. Cafe 78 is donating 15% of sales, and Blue Plate is donating the proceeds of meatloaf and mac and cheese sales.

Multiple fundraisers are happening through the neighborhood in support of both the merchants and businesses Take a moment to appreciate the community and send positive thoughts for the rebuild efforts!

Participating businesses will have information on how they are contributing, and how to donate to the neighborhood businesses displaced by the fire. You can also donate through our web site, www.mbmasf.org.

PHOTO: Top, 3300 block of Mission Street after the fire. Photo by Jonathan Koshi

Aerial Photo Reveals Devastation from Mission Street Fire


From street level, it’s been hard to assess the true scale of last week’s five-alarm fire. In part, that’s because some of the damaged buildings are now boarded up. Yet  even before the plywood went up, the fire zone included a lot of interior spaces that are normally hidden behind the facades of the buildings.

To get a clear perspective on the damage done, you need an aerial photo. And now, courtesy of Neighbor Marni and Alan, we have one.

Marni and Alan live behind the Front Porch, and Alan captured the scene in this video taken from his drone.

The screenshot shows the view looking east toward Bernal Hill, as the drone hovered above just above the Front Porch. Here’s an annotated version, for orientation:


Finally, here’s a sobering view of what this location looked like before the fire, as seen in Apple Maps:


PHOTO: Burned buildings via video screenshot, courtesy of Alan Musselman