Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk

As was rather prematurely reported on SF Eater, neighborhood favorite hangout spot, Koko Cocktails is indeed facing a demise at some point in the near future, possibly by the end of the year. This is all part of the plans to raze most of their block on Geary to make room for administrative buildings of the yet-to-be-approved California Pacific Medical Center that will be built across the street. The only building staying on the block will be the Next Door Shelter.

Since they started the business a few years ago, the owners of Koko have been and continue to be great to this neighborhood, hosting all sorts of cultural events such as the Tenderloin Reading Series, a steady supply of trivia nights, as well as our recent TenderNights. They’re locals and while they’re going to be losing the space that they’re in, they don’t want to lose the community rapport they’ve built up and so they’re working to move the enterprise to a nearby new location on Polk between Pine & California. Since they don’t want to be just one more bar on Polk, the new location will serve as a dual space open during the day to just serve coffee from a streetside window (really good coffee, we hear, btw). It will be called the “HI LO” and we’re sure it will continue to be as great as Koko has been, and equally as committed to their neighbors and street.

Unfortunately, with how things go in this city, there are already the usual forces working to oppose the transfer to the new space despite it still remaining in the Lower Polk neighborhood. The reasons for the opposition are simply based on the general premise that “bars are bad, period” so “they need to go away”, when the fact is that anyone who’s been to Koko and has seen what a positive force they’ve been to the area, knows that they work to be a base for the community that is owned and operated by those with a vested stake in the neighborhood.

So, for everyone who has enjoyed Koko over the years and wants it to stay around in its new incarnation, we can’t urge you enough to go to the public hearing at City Hall on Thursday, May 5th in the afternoon and speak in favor of the move. We’ll post the exact details on the day of the hearing, but if you want further details before then, we encourage you to write to We hope to see all of you there, especially those living near the new location, because while it means taking up a small part of your afternoon, it also means keeping a local business in our neighborhood open, which is what we need more than anything else.

>Update 5/5/11

Here‘s the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting, in which Koko’s is the 16th item. This means the case will probably be heard some time between 2 and 4pm. If you can’t attend but would like to express your support, you can send letters directly to the commissioners via email. Their contacts are listed here.