The Third Cliff House
Dr. Emma Merritt, daughter of Adolph Sutro, along with John Tait and his group of investors rebuilt the Cliff House on behalf of the Sutro estate at a cost of $75,000. It was neoclassical in design and carried on the tradition of sumptuous dining and great entertainment. Built with steel reinforcing bar and poured concrete, this Cliff House was certain to still be standing 100 years later. Tait reopened the third version of the Cliff House on July 1, 1909; although more modest in design, it still provided a ballroom for dancing as well as fine dining rooms and its breathtaking views.
In 1918 the Cliff House was shut down due to military orders signed by the President of the United States, “all establishments within a half mile of military installations are to halt the sale of liquor.” John Tait and his group of investors did not believe the Cliff House could continue to operate without liquore and decided to close it. In December of 1920 Shorty Roberts leased the Cliff House from Charles Sutro. During prohibition a dry Cliff House lacked its previous draw, so Roberts shut down all operations in 1925. Roberts was famous for Roberts-at-the-Beach restaurant located at Great Highway and Rivera Street and later opened Roberts-at-the-Beach motel, which continued to operate until 2008.
Purchased by George and Leo Whitney, the owners of Playland, in December 1937, the Cliff House was extensively remodeled and reopened in August of 1938. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area acquired the Cliff House in 1977.