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Great American Music Hall is Up For Sale

The owners of the Great American Music Hall, the ornate venue on O’Farrell Street in San Francisco, have hired a real estate agent to try to find buyers.

`’We’d like to see who’s out there,” said Music Hall President Claire Brouwer. She and her husband, Kurt, are majority owners.

Brouwer would not reveal the asking price but acknowledged that she and her husband have discussed deals with Bill Graham Presents, local nightclub front man Harry Denton and others. Now they have begun working with a real estate agent.

“It’s rather unique that something like this is nonconfidential. It’s the seller’s choice,” said Steven Zimmerman, who specializes in bar and restaurant properties and found buyers for New George’s in San Rafael and Julie Ring’s Heart and Soul on Polk Street. “My sense is it’s a very desirable property.”

The venue, opened in 1907, has been host — to an impressive list of performers, among them Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash and Robin Williams. It operated at various times as a bordello, a jazz club, a French restaurant and a Moose lodge.
by James Sullivan

In the 1960s the club fell into disrepair and was nearly condemned. In 1972, then-owner Tom Bradshaw restored the club and began booking live music.

In recent years the club has become best known for booking roots music, independent rock acts and benefit shows. The Brouwers and their partners bought the club in 1992.

Zimmerman said he believed that the Brouwers “just don’t have their hearts in it anymore.” Last year was a difficult year for the club, with the departure of longtime talent buyer Annie O’Toole and other changes.

Claire Brouwer, a former site manager for the Plant recording studio in Sausalito, said she and her husband wanted to find a buyer willing to uphold the club’s “legacy.”

“That’s critical to me. We put a lot of time, energy and love into this place. I think we’re going to consider the (potential) buyers very carefully.”