Illustration by Molly Oleson

Revolution Cafe, at the corner of 22nd and Bartlett streets and long a well-known and popular venue for live music, has closed after 15 years of business. 

The cafe, which opened in 2006, currently has a realty sign attached to the front window. 

It is the second recent closure of a beloved venue. On Feb. 22, Virgil’s Sea Room announced on its Facebook page that it would close. “We are another victim of the times. After a year of constant loss, not enough help from the feds, and a mental fatigue that can’t quite be described.”

The owners of the Revolution Cafe created a GoFundMe campaign for the cafe and the Alamo Square Seafood Grill, which is apparently under the same ownership, one week after the city’s first shelter-in-place order last March. 

“We have 12 incredibly loyal, generous and talented employees,” said campaign organizer Jennifer Larzul on the fundraising page. “Our goal is to be able to give them each a $1,000 check in two weeks to help replace their missing paycheck. 100% of Funds raised will go directly to our staff.”  

The campaign has raised a total of $6,390 since then. Through two updates, Larzul shared that she and restaurant owner Andre Larzul gave each employee $729 between late March and mid-May. 

“My fiance and I had our first kiss at revolution,” wrote Mallory Wilkerson when she donated to the campaign. “We’ve had so many beautiful memories there, thanks to everyone who makes that place great.” 

In the second update, on May 13, 2020, Larzul said the company had received a Paycheck Protection Program loan to put some employees back to work doing to-go orders. Alamo Square also reopened on that day.

But by November, Revolution, at 3248 22nd St., was shuttered once again, and updates stopped coming. The posted realty sign is the final confirmation of the closure after months of foreboding.

Revolution Cafe owners Andre and Jennifer Larzul could not be reached for comment. 

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

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  1. I was a great fan of Rev cafe for all of the above reasons. I used to fly from NYC and practically lived at the cafe .. Met so many interesting creative friends, and enjoyed the best selection of music too. If there is a chance the Cafe reopens i might move to Sf ha ha

  2. OMG… *sigh* I have been coming out to SF for work several times a year, for several years now. I too “stumbled” upon this beautiful little place on a Monday evening walk. There was the MOST amazing music coming out of there. Over the years, I made it a staple of my SF stays. The level of musicianship was unrivaled, and FREE (always bought a drink, and tipped well though ;-). The wood floors were key to the experience too. My feet were planted firmly, as tears often flowed down my face, being so moved by the beauty of the people and place. Sheeesh, I’ll stop now, as my eyes again are blurred with tears… What a loss!!!!

  3. After folks get vaccinated and things open up, presumably the demand – and cash to spend there – should come roaring back. Hopefully this would be reason enough to work with the landlord (and mayor breed?) and re-open. The music, the warm atmosphere, the spontaneity is worth the effort. If anything does happen, let us know so we can show up and show our $upport…please!

  4. I am seriously saddened; this place had an amazing vibe, with the coolest people, and amazing music. Wondering if there’s a way to lease this space out and re-start the Revolution.

  5. As a musician who has performed dozens of times over the last 12 years I’m devastated but not surprised… This did not have to happen… It was virtually the only venue in San Francisco of its kind… hip ask him P yet with a San Francisco bohemian/hippie hipster ness. Tell it that was unique and unmatched….. The fact that the politicians would let this happen just shows you how much more they care about money and tack than they do about the true artsy spirit San Francisco used to have….Unbelievable

  6. This is heartbreaking. I made so many of my best friends at the Rev, and I’m forever grateful. In many ways, I grew up there. Thank you Revolution Cafe and all who made it the most special place — I’ve always described it as “like Paris in the 20s”.

  7. No one has mentioned that one of the main draws – maybe THE main draw – was that people smoked weed, with impunity, while seated in the outdoor section. And this was well before the 2016 across the board legalization.

  8. The revolution will not be right back
    after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
    You will not have to worry about a dove in your
    bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
    The revolution will not go better with Coke.
    The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
    The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
    will not be televised, will not be televised.
    The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
    The revolution will be live.

    This is freaking devastating! I have so many beautiful memories there. I once saw a couple dancing tango in the street on a Tuesday night back when that was a thing. They seemed like professional dancers, dancing in the alley, basked in moonlight.
    I danced to so much klezmer and Serbian music there on Sundays. I met so many amazing people. The bartender was hilariously peeved all the time. It was my fucking favorite place in the whole city! I was looking forward to more nights there once gatherings were allowed. I am sooooo SAD.

  10. I was hired in January 2020 and fired four weeks later by Liliana. I communicated to Andre about this, and I never got a reply, or paid paid for the hours I worked there. If you ask me, karma it works it’s way!!!

  11. I am crushed. This is the worst closure of the pandemic. I loved this place so so much. Just a beautiful space with beautiful people. Thank you Andre and Jennifer!

  12. It’s sad to see Revolution cafe closing especially under those circumstances.
    I made so many friends there, happy, good vibes, amazing and diverse artists and music, I have many memories and there is no place like it in the city!
    I’m truly sad!🥺

  13. One of my favorite places in SF. It was going to be the first place I went as soon as it was safe again. What a heartbreak.

  14. This is really a shame. So many times I’d be walking home and stumble across some amazing performance. Thank you for the 15 years.

  15. The Rev has been around since at least 2003. It was originally called Papa Toby’s Revolution Cafe. The current owner took over the business in 2006, but it didn’t change much from what it had been at the time.

    Now, who remembers the booths??

  16. a great loss for the Mission and the city at large – one of the few places to feature live music almost every night – it was like the Mission’s living room. Salsa dancers would gather there every Monday afternoon and dance on the sidewalks –

  17. Thank you for creating a much- needed space for arts, culture and connection. Viva la Revolucion!

  18. This is so sad. The Rev was a mainstay of jazz, classical, latin, and various other endangered music genres. A bastion in an increasingly bleak cultural landscape. 🙁

  19. Noooooo, so many beautiful memories there. I met my wife there now we have a beautiful boy… that place was unique!