Our Building has quite the eclectic past: Here is the History of 528 Green Street, according to a mix of stories we have heard, read and discovered.
Right before we took over, the store front was used in the show Love Bites… I have yet to see it, but from what I understand, it was decorated to look like an Italian restaurant and was used in the shows opener.
When we moved in, the awning still had the previous business name printed on it: Globalanguages. It was language center in San Francisco that offered many language classes for children and adults. We still get their mail, and our first year open we occasionally had people from other countries trying to complete scavenger hunts in the shop, which left both the hunters and us completely confused.
Before that, it was The Martini Lounge, which contrary to the name was not a Martini Lounge at all, but rather a retro clothing store. According to the neighbors, we carry a similar vibe to the Martini Lounge.
According to an old infoUSA image, it was apparently at one point a printing place, although no one has ever really talked about that.
In 1974 the building was a gallery owned by Franco Pontito Magnani and his wife Ruth. He was known as “The Memory Artist.” and could paint scenes from his home town from memory. Under the rug in the front, you can still his name that he made with a wooden mosaic. A neighborhood friend recently told us that his wife fell sick and the the gallery closed shortly after her death. Some have speculated that her spirit still lives in the building. You can still see his work here: http://www.francopontitomagnani.com/category/119744
We have also heard that it was once a restaurant. We do not know much about it, but when we were remodeling we did find a few ancient cloves of garlic.
And some of the richest history, 528 Green Street was the Anxious Asp. Here is it’s description according to: The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour. This offbeat bar was very beat. It was run by New Orleans Creole, Bunny Simon. Kerouac read poetry here, Janis Joplin drank here, and the bathroom walls were covered with pages from the Kinsey Report. Interracial couples felt at home and so did every sort of free spirit. The place resonated with existential anxiety.
A few neighborhood insiders tell us that Jimmy Hendrix used to also hang out at the Anxious Asp, and that Janis Joplin would get drunk and break into song on a regular basis, which the regulars began to find annoying and would always yell at her to stop.
I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a bit of fun history none the less.