The Creamery in San Francisco, a cafe that over the last 12 years entrenched itself as a popular hangout among the city’s tech industry elite, is permanently closing due to the pandemic.
The cafe was still open Friday morning as news of its pending shut down, which was later confirmed by SFGate, started to spread within tech circles on social media. According to reports, the lease for the SoMa neighborhood space where the Creamery is located is coming to an end this year, and due to drops in revenue, owner Ivor Bradley is choosing not to renew it. The Chronicle has reached out to Bradley for further details.
While the closing of the Creamery is tied to the pandemic, its future has been uncertain since 2019, when a massive, mixed-use project with 960 residential units was approved for the neighborhood, also bringing with it new office space.
The project, as of last year, was going to replace multiple businesses in the area, including the Creamery. According to reports, Bradley wrote a letter in support of the project, and had plans to return to the location, in some new capacity, once construction was completed.
Even then, the jeopardized future of the Creamery concerned people in the city’s tech world. In response to news of Friday’s closure, Ryan Lawler, who is head of content at Samsung NEXT, tweeted: “They did it. They finally murdered The Creamery.”
Others tech industry folks shared personal memories of the Creamery on Twitter, including Sheel Mohnot, co-founder of Better Tomorrow Ventures and the general partner of a vertical fund called 500 FinTech. He said the cafe was where he made his first venture capital pitch.
“(I)t was a legendary spot — for a time most startups were in the city but investors still down south,” he wrote. “The Creamery was a great spot to meet VC’s, increasingly less important as VC’s moved offices to SF.”
Bradley opened the Creamery in 2008, during the height of a recession, just a stone’s throw from what was then AT&T Park. The cafe leaned into its proximity to a baseball stadium with omelets named 1st Base and Strikeout, both of which remained popular items until the end.
What first stood out about the Creamery when it opened was its aesthetic dichotomy to the area surrounding it. It opened with a rustic look — weathered wood surfaces everywhere — in a neighborhood filled with glass-windowed tech offices. While software engineers talked about new apps and worked diligently on laptops in the cafe’s dining room, Bradley’s team would write the day’s menu and specials by hand on chalkboards.
Four years after selling its first coffee, the place had quietly become a regular hangout for tech industry elite. One of the more prominent regulars in those days was venture capitalist and former TechChrunch editor Michael Arrington.
But not everything about the Creamery was analog in a digital world. In 2018, the cafe was one of the city’s early adopters of Good2Go, a restroom-on-demand app that helps people find bathrooms across the city.