3192 16th ~ (415) 503-1670

6:00pm Wednesday 27 February 2008

Prologue: As part of my continued (and, it must be said, quite valiant) effort to make Bars By The Book accessible to the greatest number of Barflies in the most geographically desirable fashions, the Official Visit to Double Dutch has been scheduled with the next Bar in mind. Please excuse the short notice, but really, if The Hostess can keep up with herself, how difficult can this actually be? Double Dutch is probably not going to a place for lingering, so get there early if you are planning on dropping by, or you risk missing out on whatever other bar(s) to which I may subsequently abscond. Oh, and please make a note of noting Double Dutch’s smoking refuse receptacle status if you do venture there — I’ve been a bit lax about verifying this vital bit of Bar information lately, and you know how I loathe an incomplete database!

Afterword: Pardon the to wait for the full review, but I had to at least try to do the place justice. Allow me to say, unequivocally and for the record, that Double Dutch may very well be my new favorite Bar. In fact, I am seriously considering spending every Sunday evening there from now on, as soon as I get a chance. (Brian and Darin — see you soon & xo!)

Have you ever walked into a bar and thought to yourself that this was where you were supposed to be all along? Well, this has happened to The Hostess a couple of times, although I’ve always wound up let down in the end — by a change of ownership, a rise in drink prices and infestation of the insufferable, etc. My delight upon walking into Double Dutch, then, can only be characterized as the triumph of hope over experience. Yes, like a third marriage. But I don’t care. The fact that I can still get a thrill like I did when I walked into Double Dutch means I am not as jaded a cynic as I purport to be. That is, apparently, perhaps.

Double Dutch is also the perfect example of what is wrong with that stupid yelp-y website (and no, I am NOT going to link to it, for crissakes!). If you were to waste your time and read the yelping about Double Dutch, you would think that the place is a total dive with a disgusting bathroom. Ergo, you would be tragically misinformed. Double Dutch is, in point of fact, completely darling and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the bathrooms.

There are really only three things wrong with Double Dutch:

  1. Parking is a bi-atch (hardly Double Dutch’s fault).
  2. The Bar is currently one That Promotes Littering (but Brian, the bartender, is commendably irked by this and Darin, the owner, has promised to look into the kinds of retro-tastic smoking refuse receptacles recently seen — and appreciated — at Deco Lounge and Deluxe Club).
  3. While agreeably open seven days a week, the Double Dutch doors are locked until 5:00pm each and every one of those days, which means this Bar is actually only open at night, and completely precludes my whiling away Sunday afternoons here, which should be against the law, if you ask me.

Now, let me tell you about all the things at Double Dutch that are right…to begin with, there are hooks, and they are nicely illuminated. Speaking of lighting, there are divinely funky neon chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. You can also bring a dog with you (at least, you can if you are the owner). There’s a long, inviting bar running down the left of the space, and banquette seating along the right side that is vaguely reminiscent of a bygone era (or two). How else to explain my being struck by the following notion out of nowhere: you know how those crazy kids on “Beverly Hills, 90210” cobbled a bar they called “After Dark” onto their Peach Pit Diner high school hangout when they got to be old enough to drink legally? Well, Double Dutch seems like the sort of bar that Arthur “Herbert” Fonzarelli might have tacked on to Arnold’s Drive-In Restaurant after he got his G.E.D. Or maybe I was just in a giddy mood because I had found a parking space, but I don’t think so…

For one thing, the rumored re-appearance of Marquise Marie on the Barfly radar rapidly proved to have been a ruse. The Hostess, then, was at a Bar by herself, again. Sigerson evinced zero interest in gallantly gallivanting a few blocks to rescue me from sipping solitarily (although, to be fair, he had already done just that a mere six days ago). All other usual suspects had been so put off by the yelp-ing drones that the possibility of their dropping by Double Dutch never even existed. Well, thank goodness for my own resolve to see this quest through — and for the friendly demeanor of a bartender named Brian (hi, Brian!) — or no one would ever know the extent of the simple pleasures to be had at this Bar.

I told Brian what I was up to. I gave him a card. It is a true measure of how much I enjoyed Double Dutch on its own merits that I wasn’t put off when free drinks didn’t ensue. Instead, I learned that their Happy Hour is from 5 – 7 each evening, when beers are $1 cheaper and liquor is doubly discounted. Every night there are dj’s starting at 10:00pm, except on Tuesdays, when there is a painter-in-residence whose paintings you can purchase on the spot — as soon as the paint has dried — if the mood strikes you. As if all this weren’t enough for such a pretty small Bar to have going on, on Sundays, all Hangar One drinks are only $5.00!!! That’s right: Hangar One and anything-you-can-fit-in-a-glass for five bucks! (You can see, now, of course, why I am so dejected that they don’t open until 5:00pm…)

As I was getting the scoop on Double Dutch, Darin (the aforementioned proprietor) sidled over and Brian introduced us. We both wondered out loud why we looked so familiar to each other. Well, it turns out that Darin used to work at Hangar One, of all places, and we deduced that he must have been there the afternoon I spent visiting that delightful distillery in Alameda. This bit of Darin’s resume also explains Double Dutch’s great vodka selection (and its being Hangar One heaven on Sundays). After convincing Darin to seriously consider correcting the Promotion of Littering outside of the premises, I was thoroughly smitten with the place (and that was before I noticed the Lite Brite sign behind the bar — various varieties of vodkas and happy childhood toy memories, too? — straight up Bar bliss!)

I felt so comfortable and relaxed in the friendly environs that I really didn’t want to tear myself away. Alas, the absconding I alluded to above was imminent, and time was of the essence if Brian was going to have any sunlight left to illuminate the Official Photo. The Hostess can’t wait to get back to Double Dutch, with or without you…

Bathroom Biography:
There are two, both unisex, which should cut down nicely on lines for the ladies. The one I used was pristine. The walls are painted black, and then intentionally and artfully completely graffitied with day-glo paint. So much so that if a vandal wanted to add to the melange, it wouldn’t be worth the effort because nothing would stand out on the kaleidoscopic walls. The sink is small, but elegantly situated in the corner, leaving more room to maneuver in the small space. The hand dryer is an absolute modern engineering marvel — it literally blows the water off your hands (hold onto your rings!). Bottom line: go for it & yelp-schmelp.