Julius' Castle circa 1940

Having operated as a restaurant since 1922 but shuttered in 2007 amid allegations of landlord fraud and un-permitted renovations, San Francisco’s landmark Julius’ Castle at 302 Greenwich Street hit the market in 2010 listed for $4,950,000.

Having failed to find a buyer and saddled with debt, the owner filed for bankruptcy in 2011.  And in early 2012, the property was liquidated to a buyer with plans to re-open the landmark restaurant.

The building is legally a residence, however, and situated within an area which no longer allows for restaurants.  And while the former restaurant use was grandfathered as a legal “nonconforming use,” San Francisco’s Planning Code states, “whenever a nonconforming use has been…discontinued to a period of three years…such use shall not be reestablished and the use of the property thereafter shall be in conformity with the limitations of the Planning Code.”

And having not served a meal since 2007, San Francisco’s Zoning Administration has just determined that the building’s nonconforming restaurant use has, in fact, expired.

That being said, while a nonconforming use will no longer be allowed, there is an exception to the Planning Code for commercial uses within landmark buildings when such uses are deemed essential to the feasibility of retaining and preserving the landmark, but a special Conditional Use Authorization would need to be sought and approved, an authorization which could be fought by the neighborhood.

In other words, it could be curtains for Julius’ Castle, quite literally.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Anon

    Idioms are not literal. Literally curtains would be if the property were to begin being used as a curtains manufacturing site.

    [Editor’s Note: Sorry fluj, we’ll try to keep things simpler for you in the future, but “It Could Be Idiomatically Curtains For Julius’ Castle As A Restaurant, Building Might Have To Become A Residence, Perhaps With Literal Curtains In The Windows” really didn’t have the same ring to it.]

    • Posted by Joel

      I was wondering about that too.

    • Posted by Stew

      From the headline I was expecting it to be reborn as a theater.

    • Posted by Anon

      right. keep it simpler in the future. that was it. like a laser.

    • Posted by Ryan

      Also, as much as I hate it – it might be worth noting that the Oxford Dictionary added a definition to “literally” to mean basically to put emphasis on something that isn’t literally true…check out definition 1.1…

    • Posted by unwarrantedinlaw

      That’s what I was thinking too, Julius Castle is going to be turned into a curtains store. I am pleased to see comments from the wise fluj. That fellow knows his words. I remember his lonely voice calling the SFH market bottom in spring 2009.

      • Posted by unlivable city

        Its certainly the dawning of the yawning of the awnings.

    • Posted by Tim Bracken

      I’m all for pedantic linguistic corrections, but this usage worked for me. It was a restaurant (restaurants usually don’t block their windows with curtains) and will be a home (home owners often draw curtains to protect their privacy). So it’s literally and figuratively “curtains” for this former restaurant.

    • Posted by P&M

      So much humor and wit in an otherwise bland, but useful, website.

  2. Posted by Grammar King

    They meant that curtains will literally be required for the property because it will become a house, not a restaurant. Even though it’s a lame use, it is in fact “literal”

    • Posted by Anon

      So the restaurant didn’t have any curtains? So the house can’t opt for blinds? ha. No, literally curtains it is not.

  3. Posted by toady

    What will THD do? The conundrum of ossifying its neighborhood…

  4. Posted by woods_kw

    Anon…get a life

  5. Posted by anon94123

    Maybe it is because I have cars on the brain as I am down in Carmel for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, as well as the Concourse at Pebble Beach on Sunday, but the cars parked out front of Julius’s Castle in this picture are FANTASTIC! This historic photo makes me want to watch DARK PASSAGE which was filmed only a couple of blocks away in the early 40’s with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. I am really appreciating the editor’s increasing use of historic images to expand background information on the history of various properties throughout the city.

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      There’s nothing special about these cars apart from the fact that they were commonplace at the time of the picture. A bit like a picture with mid-sized SUVs and compact cars taken today. It’s exotic to our eyes but no reason to uppercase “fantastic”. If they were right now on this dead end street, in the same shape they are in, I would say it’s quite remarkable, but a period picture is nothing special if it had nothing special in context.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Good grief, do you ever just relax and let things be?

        • Posted by Anon94123

          I understand they were typical cars for their time, and that’s why I like them. As I mentioned earlier, it reminded me of my favorite San Francisco Film Noir movie…DARK PASSAGE. Every decade has it’s style and I was just appreciating the early 40s photograph . Futurist, as a fellow architect, I appreciate the support .

          • Posted by Futurist

            Love the film Dark Passage.

          • Posted by redseca2

            Dark Passage, House on Telegraph Hill, those old noir films set on Telegraphic Hill immediately came to mind when the editor used “It could be curtains…”

            They were consciously or unconsciously remembering lines from those old films. It was always curtains for somebody. Sometimes they got out of that jamb, then it was curtains for somebody else.

  6. Posted by don

    I am quite literally annoyed at your idiotic repeated use of “quite literally…curtains.” No, “idiomatically curtains” doesn’t have the same ring to it, which means find another tagline, or just leave out the literally, since it’s literally unnecessary to make your point. English is a rich language. Use it.

    • Posted by John

      This comment sums up my views with respect to the cloyingly-trite-cutesy-wrong headlines that SocketSite has always used.

  7. Posted by soccermom

    When I write, “No one cares about all the grammar douchery,” it’s wrong on so many levels. First, apparently some people do care about the grammar douchery, because they keep participating in the grammar douchery. Secondly, “douchery” most probabilistically is not a real word, at least in the sense that grammar douches would choose to define ‘a real word.’. Also probabilistically is mos def not a word or at least used extremely incorrectly. Same with mos’ def’. <- That's a sentence fragment. And I'm a Leo.

    Let's see you all write clever blog post headlines 40hrs a week.

    • Posted by Invented

      Touché! (From another Leo.)

    • Posted by Lewis Carroll

      ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
      Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
      ‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
      ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
      ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
      ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

  8. Posted by Rangermom

    I got it. Curtains, as in living room curtains and as in The End, the curtain comes down. It was a fun, funky, out-of-the-way place to dine.It’s too bad, in my opinion, to lose this as a special restaurant and I miss it. My husband and I used to have dinner there on Christmas Eve. First, we’d have a cocktail in the supposed wine cellar bar, then hope for the best view table. The food was richer and heavier than current SF fare, but it did make for a special evening. I can imagine it will make a spectacular private home.

  9. Posted by SFJohn

    Good lord you people are dense

  10. Posted by Sierrajeff

    The comments on this post, and on the recent SoMa car wash redevelopment story, evidence that readers of SocketSite are OCD and have zero sense of humor.

    • Posted by frog

      Suddenly I like you a whole lot more. Good comment.

    • Posted by civ-e@live.com

      i dont know if is some kind of irony or just me, but i found the posts purportedly lacking in sense of humor to be quite funny.

    • Posted by John

      No, it means that the publishers of SocketSite have no sense of humor or originality

  11. Posted by david m

    I’d love it of this restaurant reopened. such a shame it closed in 2007 instead of any other year sooner or later. 2008-2010 were likely the worst three years of the last half century to have to reopen. :(

  12. Posted by P&M

    Curtains are really passe – it harbors a lot of dust, mites, and allergens. Look into plantation shutters. They may be the next big thing until aluminum mini-blinds come back into fashion.

  13. Posted by P&M

    All of this banter about literally, figuratively, and metaphorically has me questioning my own belief system. Thrown into the mix about irony. Did you know Alanis Morrisette’s song “Ironic” perpetuated the misuse of the word irony. The lyrics of the song describes a series of coincidental, not ironic, events. Blame it on pop culture.

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