Iconic San Francisco Legacy Business Peña Pachamama Faces Closure as It Battles Realty Company’s Exploitation 


DATE: April 18, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT: Raya Steier, rsteier@lccrsf.org, C:530-723-2426

Iconic San Francisco Legacy Business Peña Pachamama Faces Closure as It Battles Realty Company’s Exploitation  


San Francisco, Calif.- Peña Pachamama, an iconic family-run peña, a folk music venue and restaurant, nestled in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, is facing an existential threat. The new owners of the realty company Hogan and Vest, overseeing the venue’s tenancy, have jeopardized the future of this beloved organic restaurant and performance venue by denying it a fair and long-term lease, effectively setting the stage for its eviction and closure.

For decades, Peña Pachamama has served as a gathering place for traditional world music and dance, fostering a vibrant community of artists, performers and local customers. Actor Robin Williams famously dubbed this venue, “the kind of place even the Amish would dance.” Frequented by Mayor Willie Brown and Governor Gavin Newsom, this iconic establishment now faces displacement under the new ownership of for-profit realty company Hogan and Vest.

Despite pleas from the restaurant’s owners, two-time Latin Grammy nominee Eddy Navia and Quentin Navia, the realty company has only offered two impossible choices; a month-to-month tenancy, or a long-term lease laden with exorbitant commission fees, unexplained property taxes, and increased rent despite Hogan and Vest’s ability to receive a $17,000 grant from the city for specifically leasing to Pena Pachamama.

Under Hogan and Vest’s proposed month-to-month lease, Peña Pachamama would face a staggering 150% rent increase before each lease renewal, with no end in sight to the inflated rates if the company refuses to renew the lease. Additionally, the restaurant would be burdened with paying 75% of the property taxes. Hogan and Vest, hired by and working for the property owner, is also demanding the tenant pay an unheard of and hefty 1.5% leasing commission fee amounting to thousands of dollars, placing an unbearable financial strain on the restaurant.

Compounding the crisis, Hogan and Vest’s month-to-month lease offer would jeopardize the property owner’s eligibility for a vital Legacy Business grant from the City that prerequisites a 10 year-lease for legacy businesses to qualify, costing the property owner $17,000 in crucial financial support. The realty company’s practices are exploiting the tenant for thousands of dollars while wasting the City’s efforts to protect Legacy Businesses.

Peña Pachamama is not just a restaurant and music venue; it is the beating heart of San Francisco’s cultural landscape, with local musicians, performers, and service workers relying on the venue for their livelihoods, especially in the wake of the economic devastation wrought by the Covid pandemic. As the venue fights for its survival, we demand that Hogan and Vest come to the table and negotiate a fair and long-term commercial lease that upholds Peña Pachamama’s status as a Legacy Business, ensuring its continued presence as a cornerstone of North Beach’s identity.

Quote from District 3 Supervisor and Board President: 

“I co-created our city’s Legacy Business program to safeguard small businesses that represent the soul of our neighborhoods like Peña Pachamama. Hogan and Vest must guarantee its survival with a long-term lease under fair terms. Realty companies must respect our city’s commitment to honor our legacy businesses.”- Aaron Peskin, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Client Quote:

“We ask for your support to Save Peña Pachamama! Our Legacy Business, a unique intimate performance space, is facing displacement. It’s a beloved home of culture and community for generations, a unique space where people are truly transformed by the spirit of the music and dance that takes them in. As local businesses struggle to survive in the wake of the pandemic, we hope that San Francisco’s legacy establishments like ours are protected from corporate exploitation. Please stand with us and help us spread the word by sharing this story on our GoFundMe campaign here.”– Quentin Navia, Small Business Owner, Pena Pachamama

Attorney Quote:

“Pena Pachamama is a small business that upholds the cultural charm of San Francisco as evidenced by their Legacy Business status. A Legacy Business serves not only its customers and the city, but also the property owner through the Rent Stabilization Grant. Here, without a fair long-term lease, Pena Pachamama is at risk of displacement and the property owner is at risk of losing thousands of dollars annually. The realty company’s practices are harming business owners, property owners, and our city.”- Bismah Jaffer, Staff Attorney, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF)