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Arts & Entertainment

SF Irish bar that axed staff before St. Paddy’s Day closing for good

Google Street View of the Phoenix Irish Pub at 811 Valencia St.

The Phoenix Irish Pub, a longtime Mission bar and hangout for Pittsburgh Steelers fans, announced it will close on Sunday. That’s a prime day for boozing, as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles go head-to-head in Super Bowl LVII.

Eater SF first reported the news Friday morning. The timing of the closure, only a month before St. Patrick’s Day, seems odd for an Irish bar, but plans have been in the works for years to demolish the 63-year-old building that houses the 22-year-old Phoenix and replace it with a six-story mid-rise. It was originally intended to be a single-room occupancy (SRO) building, but plans were modified to become 18 “European-style” units instead.

Since the pandemic, the pub has only operated on nights and weekends, signaling its eventual demise in spite of Valencia Street’s revival. Its website is also defunct. Through social media, The Standard has reached out to the Phoenix for comment.

Owner Eugene Power, who owns the building, confirmed the bar’s closure to Eater. He noted that when the future building is completed, it will contain a ground-floor commercial space with a parklet permit, although he will not be involved with any future bar or restaurant endeavor. 

The Phoenix has long had a mercurial history with its employees. In 2018, Broke-Ass Stuart noted that workers were sometimes fired en masse, including one incident where the entire staff was let go mere weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, one of the busiest days of the year.