Bar group Bourbon & Branch opens another Speakeasy nightclub on Market Street, The Dawn Club

This winter we’ll see the opening of another new jazz bar and venue from Future Bars, the group behind Bourbon & Branch, Rickhouse, Pagan Idol and other cocktail venues. And it’s a revival of a legendary speakeasy-turned-legit nightclub of the 1930s and 40s, in the same location where this venue used to reside.

It’s called The Dawn Club, and it previously lived and will still live in the basement of the Monadnock building at 685 Market Street, with an entrance off the driveway known as Annie Street – a driveway shared with the side southwest of the Palace Hotel, where the hotel’s service entrance is. It opened sometime before the end of Prohibition – say around 1930, as these records tend to be obscure – and later became known as the epicenter of American jazz’s Great Revival.

As this historic Stanford site explains, The Great Revival was a time when young jazz musicians from San Francisco and New Orleans, just before World War II, became interested in the music of two decades earlier. early. Unlike the Swing era and other popular music of their time, they began jamming and improvising in what music historians say is an understanding of older New Orleans jazz gleaned from old discs.

Lu Watters led the Yerba Buena Jazz Band, which performed regularly at the Dawn Club in the late 1930s and early 1940s – and a 1941 tabloid incident in which Watters was shot in the hand by his girlfriend’s father led to an increase in the club’s popularity. And the club was also known for inviting black jazzmen from New Orleans to perform, despite the segregationist rules in place of the local SF musicians union.

Ultimately, the club ran into financial difficulties after the war and it was closed in early 1947.

Historical image of the Yerba Buena Jazz Band at Dawn Club via Turk Murphy’s album, courtesy of the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection at Stanford.

The SF Business Times broke the news of the return of the Dawn Club, under Future Bars partner Brian Sheehy, via applications that had been filed with the city for a new canopy at 10 Annie Street. Sheehy tells the newspaper that they are considering recreating the Dawn Club’s historic awning and signage on the driveway — and that they are going through the Historic Preservation Commission, which could slow down the opening process. In August, Sheehy said they hoped to open the venue by the end of the year.

A historical snapshot, source unknown, of the driveway entrance to the Dawn Club, ca. 1941

The 4,000 square foot nightclub will once again host jazz music – some of which, presumably, will be in that New Orleans style via San Francisco from the Yerba Buena Jazz Band. And longtime Future Bars bartender Jayson Wilde will oversee the bar program at Dawn Club.

This will bring a second underground bar and live music venue owned by Future Bars, the decade-old local edition still residing under the Hearst building next door.

As the SF Business Times reports, Future Bars will also bring its two other businesses to the Third Street side of the Hearst Building, The Lark Bar (formerly dive Dave’s) and upscale liquor store Cask, around the corner from the Monadnock. . as well, and they will soon have storefronts on Market Street.

Sheehy tells the Business Times that he hopes the revived Dawn Club will fit right in with the neighborhood filled with hotels and conventions, and be a go-to recommendation for nearby concierges.

We’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the reopening of the Dawn Club.

About James K. Bonnette

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