527 Valencia ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 863-9328

4:15 pm Sunday 24 June 2007

Prologue: I’ve been here before, too. Paladin and I ducked in here after the Official Visit to Bar Tartine, so he could get a real drink (i.e. scotch). But I just noticed that Casanova Lounge is the third Bar in a row That Is Also A Cocktail Lounge. That is somewhat stunning, no? Well, I think it is. And I’ll be bringing my fresh perspective to this typically Mission-y dark (but red!), dive-ish (yet vaguely hipster-leaning) Bar this Saturday (or Sunday, as was the case)! So you know: cash only and no ATM on the premises, which means bring money.

To clarify: you will find me at Casanova Lounge at or around 4:15 pm Sunday 24 June. This way I can take advantage of their happy hour ($1.00 off all drinks) from 4 – 7, and maybe some of my new bartender friends can make it (what do you say, y’all?) While the recent cyber-chaos on this ridiculous blog has left me needing the kind of night on the town that will most definitely require the better part, if not all, of at least an entire Sunday during which to recuperate, I remember what a nice Sunday afternoon some of us whiled away at Ace’s at the beginning of this adventure, and I think that sort of mellow merriment is more what I should aim for. Sorry for the persistent uncertainty, but as Chica Cherry suggested, perhaps choosing a graduate school wiped out my decision-making abilities for the forseeable future.

Afterword: Well, it turns out that Casanova Lounge is more orange than red, which you can tell if you are there on a sunny afternoon like I was. Also, despite their website stating that they do not have an ATM on the premises, there is, in fact, an ATM inside the Bar itself, right next to the door. There’s even a window, where you can enjoy the sunny vista (unless a large biker is already perched at the high table there, waiting for his boyfriend). Casanova Lounge does have the jukebox they tout-muchly on their website (more about that in a bit) and they also have not one — but four — comfy leather sofas past the bar in the back, plus another one on a small stage, so it would be a good place to arrange to meet someone you wanted to cuddle up next to for some alcohol-feuled public displays of affection. Believe you me, as the minutes ticked past and Marquise Marie did not appear, ringing up Jonny-Georgia occurred to me more than once.

Yes, I was there to meet my long-lost friend the Marquise. I was so looking forward to our happy reunion, that I didn’t even mind when my initial survey of Casanova Lounge revealed the somewhat distressing fact that the place has no back exit. By which I mean, if one were there enjoying a Long Island Iced Tea and a police officer or two were to come in looking for someone to wrongly arrest and falsely imprison, one would have to hope that they would choose another patron to harass, because there would be no way to make a run for it, so to speak, without accomplishing the highly unlikely feat of getting past the cops and then out the front door. This purely hypothetical musing has prompted a new category: “The Bars Where One Can Hightail It Out the Back”. This category does not appear at present, because a category must have an applicable post before it shows up, but I will continue to seek such an important feature in subsequent establishments and let you know where I find it. (After all, this is the sort of thing some people might find very useful to know when deciding on a Bar.)

Anyway, I got to Casanova Lounge just after they opened, so the place was pretty empty (aforementioned biker notwithstanding). I sat at the bar, confirmed hooks (and an unpleasant amount of gum), and ordered a Long Island Iced Tea (entirely co-incidental to the previous mention of this drink, I assure you). The bartender mixed me something that was tasty enough, but bore little resemblance to a glass of several different alcohols mixed with just enough Coke to pass as a glass of iced tea — which is the pretty much the point of this particular cocktail — but it was a sunny day, I was meeting Marquise Marie, and I was at a Bar, so I didn’t let this bother me.

What did start to bother me was the funky way the bar area smelled. Now I know Casanova Lounge is basically a dive bar in the Mission, and it was Sunday so the place was bound to be showing some wear and tear from the wild weekend, but an unpleasant odor is not what I want to experience from any barstool. So I was kicking it on one of the couches when Marquise Marie finally arrived.

Truth be told, we were so giddy about catching up with each other, really, we could have been anywhere. Even when a pretty below-average dj unplugged the allegedly legendary jukebox and started playing his uninspired set, we didn’t care too much. Friendship trumps sloppy drinks and crappy music every time. We barely noticed the funky lights and painting of mostly naked women on the walls. I must say, though, Casanova Lounge is really not the best Bar in which to while away an afternoon — Sunday, sunny, or otherwise. Much better spots for that would be Ace’s, Bloom’s Saloon, or of course The Black Horse London Pub. But if you are in the Mission at night, with a thirst for something liquor-ish, the Casanova Lounge will suffice. Especially if you have in tow someone you’d like to canoodle and there’s couch space available when you pop your head in. Unless, of course, you are — or have reason to suspect you might potentially be caused to be — on the lam, given the lack of an exit via which you can hightail it out the back, should this be necessary.

Bathroom Biography:
The bars on the windows pretty much preclude them as emergency exits. Other than that, the adjective that is most fitting is “desultory”. While there are worse bathrooms in other Bars, these just don’t match the aesthetic of the front of the house. An effort at some sort of decoration really should be made.