San Francisco landmark. After 157 years Cliff House fades into the Pacific sunset

It’s a genuinely sad day in San Francisco history.  

We live close by the historic Cliff House and walk by it regularly.  We ate dinner there on several occasions. It was always a great experience.

The Cliff House has been a life long presence. Now what the fog, wind and climate could not do has been done by the Federal government. Its unwillingness to sign a lease with the restaurant owners signaled the end of the landmark Cliff House.  

It’s just more collateral damage inflicted on this country by Donald Trump.

NBC Bay Area 12.31.2020

The Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco closed its doors for good Thursday after 157 years, and the iconic sign atop the building was removed, much to the chagrin of dozens of revelers who gathered at the Bay Area landmark.

Cliff House IV 12.31.2020.jpg

Workers removed the sign one letter at a time Thursday, the restaurant’s official last day of operation, though it has been closed for months because of coronavirus restrictions. Proprietors Dan and Mary Hountalas have said the building will no longer be a restaurant but instead a federal office building, according to their sources.

The permanent closure can be attributed in part to the coronavirus pandemic, which has restricted operations for much of the past year to takeout service. But the restaurant also has been mired in a contract dispute with the National Parks Service over concessions.

The owners say a 20-year contract expired in June 2018, and since then, the parks service has issued one 6-month contract and two consecutive one-year contracts.

The last contract expired Thursday.

Cliff House II 12.31.2020

The Cliff House no more. December 31, 2020

The closure put 180 employees out of work, the owners said, adding that they “attempted to institute takeout service in early June but after 10 weeks could not continue to sustain the unbearable losses associated with takeout.”

The historic restaurant has been operating since 1863, and it is one of San Francisco’s legendary landmarks.,_San_Francisco

Photos – Lee Heidhues