Popular SF jazz bar hit by thieves – before and after police respond to break-in

The Tenderloin-based Black Cat bar and supper club was robbed and vandalized on Monday night, according to the nightclub owner.

Someone with a skateboard smashed the bar’s front window around 1:15 a.m., according to owner Fritz Quattlebaum. After the burglary, bystanders came and went from the restaurant, taking what they could with them, Quattlebaum said.

Police arrived at the scene around 2:25 a.m., according to Quattlebaum who reviewed security camera footage. He said that by then, six or seven people had already passed through the bar. According to Quattlebaum and operations manager Adam Chapman, police were unable to contact management and left the facility after covering the window with tape and plastic.

But that didn’t deter others from illegally entering the bar.

“It was just an every man for himself after that,” Chapman said. He said security video showed individuals entering the restaurant to grab what they wanted after police left. Some even created piles of champagne bottles and music equipment before heading back into the restaurant to pick up more items. According to Quattlebaum and Chapman, a variety of alcohol, food, sound equipment and musical instruments were stolen from the jazz club.

“It was like Black Friday or something,” Quattlebaum said.

The San Francisco Police Department could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening.

Restaurant management were not informed of the break-in until staff arrived in the morning, Quattlebaum said.

Despite the burglary, Black Cat will be open on Wednesday evening. The bar will host musician and composer Damani Rhodes, with special guests Tongo Eisen-Martin and VADIA.

“We are a company that has been hit hard by COVID,” Quattlebaum added. “I think live music is a very important part of the culture of the city, of the social fabric of the city. And the city needs to do everything it can to protect that.

Emma Talley is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: emma.talley@sfchronicle.com

Ada J. Kenney