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Popular Lower Nob Hill nightspot wins round in liquor-license fight

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Café Royale has won the battle over its liquor licence despite the SFPD’s recommendation to reject its application. - MIKE KOOZMIN/2013 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/2013 S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Café Royale has won the battle over its liquor licence despite the SFPD’s recommendation to reject its application.

An outpouring of community support for a bar described as a gathering place for artists, musicians and Lower Nob Hill residents succeeded in overturning the Police Department’s recommendation to reject its liquor license application.

Café Royale, located at 800 Post St., opened its doors 14 years ago. Though it’s been through about three changes in ownership over the years, the location has sprouted a community atmosphere with monthly local artist installments on the walls and live entertainment like jazz, comedy and opera.

The business currently has a liquor license to sell beer and wine on the condition that it also serves food. The new license would allow for the sale of beer, wine and hard liquor — a permit for the traditional bar or nightclub.

Police Inspector Joseph Fong recommended that the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee reject the application based on the more than 100 opponents in the high-crime area.

But on Thursday, supporters far exceeded opponents during a public comment period, hailing the business as the ideal San Francisco community hangout spot.

Robert Garcia, president of the Save Our Streets tenants and merchants group, said the business initially began as a cafe but has moved away from serving food, and he fears it will become a rowdy full-fledged bar.

“This is the last quiet corner in our neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t need another bar in that area.”

Supervisors Norman Yee and David Campos sided with the bar owners, but said concerns from opponents can be addressed with conditions attached to the permit.

The bar owners intend to work with board President David Chiu, whose district includes the establishment, on those conditions in time for the full board vote June 4.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com