Cable Car Clothiers, named after the Cable Car line on Powell and O’Farrell Streets, was founded in 1946 in San Francisco by Charlie Pivnick as a war surplus store called Vet's Mercantile. In 1954, as military surplus sources dried up and the store began to focus more on traditional, British-style clothing, it was renamed Cable Car Clothiers. From 1970, it became known for its quarterly mail-order catalog, which eventually reached a circulation of 2 million and which helped to make the store a tourist destination. In 1972, Pivnick purchased and incorporated Robert Kirk, a San Francisco retailer founded in 1939 and also known for a focus on traditional, British-style clothing, thus allowing itself the motto "San Francisco's British Goods Store Since 1939."
The flagship store was established at 150 Post Street and thrived in conjunction with a booming catalog and mail order business. In the early 1980s Cable Car Clothiers was located mid-block on Sutter Street, in the Union Square area. Looking to expand its men and women’s’ department, the company moved to what is presently the Emporio Armani building, a wonderful Greek Revival banking temple, located at One Grant Avenue. After two smaller shops in the Financial District, the company moved to their location at 200 Bush Street, on the prominent corner of Sansome. Finally, in late 2012, the new Cable Car Clothiers moved back to its roots on Sutter Street and opened a 1930s Barber Shop and shoe shine to complement its fine selection of clothing and hats and caps
When you visit San Francisco, you will find us in a charming, historical building at 110 Sutter Street, conveniently located in the heart of the Financial District.
Cable Car Clothiers is the oldest men’s retailer in the city, but its classic style and determination to help gentlemen stay fashionable has allowed it to remain a San Francisco institution for generations.
Our store is filled with many more items than we can picture on this website. We hope you will stop in and browse our collection.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to our new website, our store, and our 75th year of offering our customers the finest in timeless menswear!
Alan Flusser had these things to say about Cable Car Clothiers in his 1996 book Style and the Man..."Much like its namesake, this is the type of store that gives San Francisco an irresistible allure. Step through its doors and you step back in time—way back. Cable Car Clothiers is an anomaly in an age where museums or old photo albums are often the only medium able to connect one with his roots.” Further from Flusser“Charles (Pivnick) is the Sir Lancelot of the herringbone grail."