July 18, 2018

San Francisco’s Aardvark Books will probably close, maybe


Owen, Aardvark’s mascot, continues to have a place to nap, for now.

Way back in September we wrote about what looked like the end of the line for San Francisco’s beloved Aardvark Books. To quote myself, the situation was this:

As a result of Big Tech’s ongoing takeover of San Francisco, another bookstore, Aardvark Books, is likely closing. As John McMurtrie reports for the San Francisco Chronicle, the store, which has sold new and used books since 1978, will close at year’s end if its owner, John Hadreas, succeeds in selling the building it inhabits.

Then in January, we happily ate crow, at which point no less a genius than yours truly wrote:

But as McMurtrie has reported in a follow-up for the Chronicle, Aardvark will remain open indefinitely. What god from what machine has saved our heroes? Something like a bubble in the market, it seems. The building that houses the store—227 Church Street in the Mission District, for sale by its owner for a whopping $2.8 million—has proven difficult to sell.

So it’s a very lucky thing that I so enjoy the taste of crow, and love a good will-they-won’t-they story, because today I am here to report the impending closure of Aardvark Books.

As Adam Brinklow writes for Curbed San Francisco, 227 Church Street is back on the market, carrying a $2,450,000 price tag ($400,000 less than the original asking price, and the price it had dropped to before being taken off the market the first time).

The listing talks of the building’s rich history, and the neighborhood’s significance, but this feels quickly undercut by the qualifier that “the property will be delivered vacant.” In short, Aardvark Books won’t occupy the bottom floor when the keys are handed over to the new owner.

I will be happy to retract this story in another few months.



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.