Oakland bar and music venue Elbo Room Jack London to close

Elbo Room Jack London, the Oakland outpost of the decades-old San Francisco music venue that closed in early 2019, will soon also close.

On Thursday, co-owners Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu made the announcement on Instagram that they were putting the bar up for sale.

“It’s been a long journey for me and Erik,” Shapiro told SFGATE. “… We both love Elbo Room; it’s shaped us, and it’s a big part of our lives. We’ve met so many people and done so many great things there, and on the other hand, it’s time to do something else .”

Shapiro and Cantu both started working at the San Francisco Elbo Room on Valencia Street in the early 2000s and took over ownership in 2010. For years, rumors swirled that the San Francisco music venue would be razed to build condos, but that housing project never materialized . Ultimately, though, it did still close in early 2019 after the landlord sold the building — but drama ensued when the former landlord announced the closure weeks before the bar owners actually closed it. Today, the former Elbo Room in San Francisco is now a music venue called the Valencia Room.



To keep the Elbo Room alive, Shapiro and Cantu opened the Oakland location in 2018. Now, they’re closing it — but not because of property ownership drama this time. One factor in the decision is that Shapiro is moving to Germany to be with his wife, whom he married during the pandemic.

“We were forced to close in San Francisco,” Shapiro said. “We didn’t know when we were closing, and it got announced before it was true, so this time … it was nice to be able to make a plan, be able to discuss with everyone and go out on our terms. “

The Oakland venue almost had to close during the pandemic, but a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant kept it afloat. When the Elbo Room Jack London reopened last September, it saw a huge rebound in interest in live music.

“The shows went off like gangbusters,” Shapiro said. “That was great. It was really great to see a lot of people who said during lockdown that they missed live music, really did miss live music.”

Elbo Room Jack London, located at 311 Broadway, Oakland, is closing.

Courtesy of Elbo Room

Some of his favorite shows at Jack London over the years include classic punk bands like Bush Tetras and Swingin’ Utters, as well as up-and-coming darkwave acts like Boan.

Since the closure announcement, fans of the Elbo Room have been “extremely supportive but very sad,” Shapiro said.

Fortunately for them, the actual closure of the venue is still a few months away. The sale of the bar is a process that will take time, so Shapiro said he’s still booking shows into February 2023. He’s also holding out hope that the buyer will be someone who keeps the Elbo Room spirit alive and maintains the space as a music venue .

“It’s bittersweet,” Shapiro said. “It’s really sad. We just decided it was time. We had to decide it was time at some point, and I feel good about moving on.”

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