543 Haight

543 Haight is the third business address that is part of the one story structure David Keene purchased in the mid 1990s. The space is occasionally used for a special event and mostly serves as storage space supporting Rosamunde and the Toronado.

While 543 Haight is home to a business today, it does have it’s own varied history.

Referencing Polk’s City Directory, 543 Haight was known as Rock and Roll San Francisco. in 1999. Prior to that, between 1984 and 1998 it was home to Nathan’s Florists. This location was listed as vacant between 1975 and 1983 then shows up as The Red Door Restaurant in 1974 and Original New Orleans Creole Kitchen in 1973. Between 1969 and 1972 Tille’s Cafe was here.

Jumping back to the early 1950s, Myrtle Bakery operated out of 543 Haight between 1953 and 1960. It shows as vacant in 1961 then listed as Akbar Donut & Coffee and then as Myrtle Bakery (again) from 1964-1965, and as Rolfe’s Steak House in 1966.

Remember any of these spots? Let me know, I’ll update this timeline with whatever I dig up as I keep looking for more details on the Lower Haight’s history.

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500 Haight

500 Haight Street on the Northeast corner of Haight and Fillmore has had an interesting and checkered history.

The 500 spot on Haight had an infamous history during it’s bar life. Most infamously as the Giant Glass Tavern, a spot known for bar fights and drug deals on any given night. The space operated as the Glass Tavern from 1959 – 1971. Prior to that it was known as Haight Village Liquors in the early 1950s. Between 1972 and 1975 this location was known as Hank’s 500 Club.

Per the Polk’s San Francisco City Directory there’s a gap through the 1970s until 1980, when business activity shows up again under as Fillmore’s Café Bar until 1983. Locals grabbed at bite when it operated as Marcello’s Pizza between 1984 – 1986 and as Joseph’s Pizza Restaurant between 1987 – 1988. It was listed as Manoras Café between 1989 and 1990 and as Veecha Thai Cuisine between 1991 and 2000. There’s no clear business history for 2001 but between 2002 and 2009, 500 Haight Street listed as Raja Cuisine of India then as Clay Oven between 2010 and 2011. Since 2012, 500 Haight operates as Wonderland and is thriving.

Locals were pretty puzzled while 500 Haight operated as Clay Oven. It was always empty and when a few us tried the food on the menu it was pretty good. Now that Wonderland is here, we’re finally seeing a thriving business operating at this corner.  The new owners did make a good effort to give the place a fresh look, with an exterior paint job and interior renovation. Add some amazing noodles and soups and we expect this place to be here for awhile.

Talk to locals and you start hearing  some colorful stories about the 500 location when it operated as the Glass Tavern. What memories do you have? We’ll update this post with more information as we continue to dig into the business history of this location.

547 Haight, from Barber Shop to Beer Bar

547 Haight is home to the Toronado, one of the best places anyone can go, local or visitor, for beer in San Francisco. Toronado has been operating at this location since 1987. This location is cash only and doesn’t take kindly to folks asking for a cocktail. This is a beer bar for people who like real beer. So don’t ask for a Budweiser or a Heineken. You can go to O’Looney’s Market for that and go home.

Referencing the Polk Street Directory, 547 Haight was known as Fred’s Midtown Barbershop from 1953 – 1956. After Mercury Upholstering Company operated at that location until 1968. That transitioned into a Social Club from 1969 – 1970 and then into Brown’s Ice Cream Parlor from 1971 – 1972. It shows as vacant from 1973 – 1976 and between 1977 – 1978 opened as Peterson Stanze Dance Theatre. There’s a gap between 1979  and 1983, and picks up again as Miss Jennie Beauty Supplies until 1986. Then the property was purchased by David Keene, who opened the Toronado. There are two other business addresses associated with the building Keene purchased,, 545 Haight, the home of Rosamunde Sausage and 533 Haight which is not open to the public. When you’re in the Lower Haight and headed to the Toronado, take a few minutes to cross the street and face the blue storefront that is home to the Toronado and Rosamunde. You’ll notice it’s the only single story structure in the Lower Haight.

518 Haight Street, a Market, Bookstore and Restaurant Spot

518 Haight Street has seen quite a bit of change as a business location. It currently operates as Nara, a Korean fusion restaurant that opened in 2015. In 2012 the location was known as Greenburger and closed in 2015. Prior to that Bistro St. Germain operated it’s restaurant. In the “Plywood Report” published by Eater SF:

Lower Haight: A rather quick transformation has gone down on Haight, where the oddly-ornate Visit Thai restaurant has shuttered to make way for something called Bistro St. Germain. The interior remains mostly the same, aside from a mural of the Paris skyline on the east wall. From the looks of the decor—not to mention the onion soup and moules frites teases on the storefront—we’re thinking it’s a traditional French bistro (from the same owners Laurent Legendre of Le P’tit Laurent, learns Ms. Tablehopper). Looks ready to roll out any day now too. [POST-PLYWOOD]

Visit Thai operated at 518 Haight Street between 2007 and 2008. Per the Polk City Directory for San Francisco, no business is listed between 1999 and 2006. Between 1996 and 1998 Affordable Essentials operated out of 518 Haight. It shows as vacant in 1995. Between 1990 and 1994 Diluvian Book Shop sold beautiful first edition books in its collection and operated as Bibliomancy Books between 1981 and 1989. No business is listed between 1977 and 1980.

In the early 1950s through 1965, 518 Haight Street operated as Midtown Food Market. Between 1956 and 1970 Polk’s Directory shows Buy and Save Meat market as the business listing, then between 1971 and 1974, the business listed as Soul Brother’s Liquor and Grocery . The last time it this location was listed as a liquor store shows as Bryant’s Liquors between 1975 and 1976.

Nara’s doing well and has become a popular spot for sake and sushi.

Do you have memories of the 518 Haight location? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear more. I’ll update this post as I come across more history for this spot near the corner of Haight and Fillmore.

545 Haight-Use this version

Berliner Berliner opened up in October 2019, taking over the well-known spot Rosamunde which operated at 545 Haight Street since 1999. Rosamunde was a destination spot for some of the best sausages in the city, next door to one of the best beer bars in San Francisco.

Rosamunde fans know Christine Blunck is the heart and magic that makes Rosamunde so good. She took over Rosamunde, making the place her own. She now offers delicious authentic German cooking, keeping the famous sausages and burgers Rosamunde has been know for. Now, the sausages and burgers have her take, with sauces and toppings with her special touch.

What kind of business operated at 545 Haight before sausages came into the picture you ask? You wouldn’t guess it easily because it wasn’t a food spot.

Rosamunde has been operating at 545 Haight Street since 1999. Rosamunde is a destination spot for some of the best sausages in the city that happens to be next door to one of the best beer bars in San Francisco. Rosamunde nnow have a second location in the Mission.

What kind of business operated at 545 Haight before sausages came into the picture you ask? You wouldn’t guess it easily because it wasn’t a food spot. Referencing the Polk Street City Directory for San Francisco it was listed as Balloon Brigade from 1987 – 1998.

Between 1984 – 1986 it was listed as Bay City Mail and Synergic Theater in  1980. We need to find out why but 545 Haight is listed as vacant between 1975 and 1983. From the early 1950s – 1974 545 Haight is listed as a laundromat, specifically as Wong’s Laundry Aide between 1964 and 1974.

Referencing the Polk Street City Directory for San Francisco 545 Haight was home to Balloon Brigade from 1987 – 1998.

Between 1984 – 1986 it was listed as Bay City Mail and Synergic Theater in  1980.

We need to find out why but 545 Haight is listed as vacant between 1975 and 1983.

From the early 1950s – 1974 545 Haight is listed as a laundromat, specifically as Wong’s Laundry Aide between 1964 and 1974.