Early morning fire destroys legendary SF Double Play sports bar, first opened in 1909

The bar was chock full of sports memorabilia and autographed pictures of players. "All the pictures are gone."

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Sunday, September 25, 2022
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The historic Double Play Bar and Grill, which opened around 113 years ago, was heavily damaged by an early morning fire on Saturday in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A legendary San Francisco sports bar was heavily damaged by an early morning fire Saturday. The Double Play Bar and Grill first opened in the outer Mission District more than 100 years ago, a hangout spot for baseball greats and first responders alike.

"I still can't believe it, I see it but cannot believe it," said Rafael Hernandez, owner of Double Play.

Bar and Grill located at 16th and Bryant Streets, where debris littered the sidewalk, charred chairs and barstools. The San Francisco Fire Department says the fire early Saturday destroyed most of the bar. It left Rafael emotional and almost speechless.

"Right now my mind is, I don't know," said Hernandez.

"My dad took over in 2008, he started here as a dishwasher actually in 1988," said his son, Hernan Hernandez-Mendoza.

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Hernan Hernandez-Mendoza says the family-owned business was more than a bar, it was an institution, which first opened in 1909.

The bar was chock full of sports memorabilia and autographed pictures of players. "All the pictures are gone," Hernandez said.

The Double Play was the original hangout of players and fans of the San Francisco Seals Pacific Coast league, the stadium used to be across the street.

Seal Stadium would later become the temporary home of the San Francisco Giants.

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"That's where most of the players came over, relief pitchers. After games they would come in and have a sip," said Hernandez-Mendoza.

Longtime customers are crushed, even former owner James 'Gigi' Fiorucci came to pay respects.

"Ahh, the memorabilia, the memories. This was a lot of fun this place here," Fiorucci said.

The bar was also a meeting spot for off-duty first responders. The San Francisco Firefighters union tweeted, 'A sad day for all those who know.'

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"A lot of firefighters know me, everybody," said Hernandez.

Fire officials say the cause of the fire is under investigation. Rafael is vowing to regroup and rebuild.

"My plan is, we build again," he said.

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