1787 Union ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 673-1565

7:00pm Monday 19 March 2007

Prologue: Well, it’s a sports bar.  It’s a sports bar in the Marina.  And — despite Chica Cherry’s sage suggestion that I get this one out of the way before March Madness — I am apparently going to this sports bar in the Marina in the midst of the Madness that is the college basketball championships.  <Sigh.>  You can understand why I have been reluctant to schedule this visit…

But a charming companion has agreed to accompany me on a first foray into Bars By The Book foolishness, so there will be a fresh face to focus on.  And maybe a new Barfly added to the ranks more or less forthwith (depending on my powers of persuasion). 

As if this mysterious new drinking buddy isn’t enough to tempt you to a sports bar in the Marina during March Madness (and I can certainly see why it would take more than a mysterious stranger to entice you under such circumstances), I have decided to have a little contest at Bayside.  A little extra sport at the old sports bar, you see?  So, being as we are venturing into the otherwise-largely-and purposefully-avoided Marina (which is pretty droll, given the gusto with which I galavanted to the wilds of Daly City), I am encouraging any Barflies who appear to come dressed in your finest Marina-esque attire.  For the boys, this pretty much means an untucked dress shirt and hair spiked into unnatural formations with visible globs of hair product.  Girls have a lot of room for interpretation, but I should think that wedge sandals will be involved.  And the most Marina-esque costume wins…a Drink, Purchased By The Hostess, which is a rare enough (although not unheard of) occurence that it should spark some speck of interest.

First Draft:  The evening began a bit inauspiciously, with TallDark&Handsome texting me (yes, in that most barbaric mode of modern communication) that he was running at least a full  hour behind schedule.  I headed to Union Street as planned, thinking perhaps that finding a parking space would eat up some time, but no; I somehow found one a mere two blocks away without even trying.  To my continued chagrin, all the precious shoppe-shops on Union Street seem to close at 7:00pm, so I only got to enjoy the delay of that diversion for a nano-second or two (Note to anyone who knows me and is reading this: the boutique called “Jest Jewels” sells a hand-mirror for a mere $55.00 that is engraved with the words “You Are So Too Good For Him”; why don’t I have this, WHY?!?).

Inadvertingly (which may not actually be a word, but you take my meaning) adding to my misfortune, I had decided against bringing A Book (or even the Pink Section), figuring that going all Jane Goodall on the Marina natives would be distracting enough for the duration it took TallDark&Handsome to arrive (or not).  So, when I finally sauntered into the place, you can imagine my distress when I found the entire Bar, for all intents and purposes, empty.

Well, there was the bartender (Ryan).  And there was a young lady at the end of the bar (who may or may not be employed there, but is, in either case, Ryan’s fiancee).  And there was one other guy (who turned out to be, not “the owner”, but who did self-identify as “the boss”, and who was definitely the person who makes “the schedule”; his name was Dave).  But that was IT. 

 OK, so it was Monday.  It was Monday after St. Patrick’s Day / March Madness Sweet Sixteen weekend.  So, a certain Missing-In-Action of some usual suspects could be expected.  But I tell you, it was downright eerie.  Especially considering how nice the Bayside Sports Bar & Grill actually is.

 It may be the largest Bar yet, in terms of sqare footage.  Tons of seats — barstools and tables — and three skylights which I am certain make daytime drinking at Bayside a particularly pleasant prospect.  There is one pool table in the back, and a curtained-off room (I totally peeked) where there are poker club games (inquire to sign up) on Tuesdays.  Of course, the Bar is more or less dominated by the impressive flickering of 41 television screens, of varying sizes, hung about the spaces where the walls and ceiling meet.  (And thank goodness that enough people apparently ask, “How many tv’s do y’all have in here, anyway?” that all the employees know the answer — it is printed on the menu also, should you be too shy to inquire — or I should have actually had to go around and count them all, certain to have missed more than one…)

As TallDark&Handsome’s text messages indicated it was increasingly unlikely that he was ever going to be able to join me during the time I could maintain the Illusion of Nursing a Drink, I had the chance to chat up Dave a bit.  (Look, I have a long-standing weakness for Dave’s, and a newfound infatuation with Bar Managers — good thing this Dave didn’t have grey hair, too, or who knows what would have happened.)  He told me about Poker Club Night (Tuesdays) and Dart Night (Wednesdays), and assured me that the breakfast burritos served at brunch (on Saturdays and Sundays) beat the Hangover Scramble, which I have to say intrigued me, as I had assumed that anything called “the Hangover Scramble” would be the best thing EVER.

 And it was in the course of our disjointed (I think he thought I was a little “off”) conversation, that Dave said something to me which prompted a bit of a Paradigm Shift in this pointless peramubulation I have set out on.  I can’t recall exactly what it was, but it was some half-question along the lines of: do I only go to Bars when they are not likely to be busy.  Point taken.  To heart, Dave. 

I almost responded, as I usually do, that, after all, I don’t actually like People (in the general sense).  But I knew that Dave would not appreciate the irony in this disclaimer, so I just quietly pondered his query, and made up my mind to re-visit Bayside Sports Bar & Grill on an occasion more likely to be bustling with Marina natives.  The better to “see it in action” —  you know? — and to form a more accurate impression.

Much as the illusion of having a Bar to myself is basically my idea of Heaven, I know that, in Real Life (ugh), a Bar cannot be said to have Been Experienced in the total absence of other paying customers (OK, one lady did come in and order a chicken Ceasar salad to go, and a “glass of Chardonnay” {unspecified, shudder} while she waited).  Therefore, I am going to reserve my final thoughts on Bayside Sports Bar & Grill until such time as I can be there with a Regular, or two.   And I’m definitely thinking brunch, when I can see those skylights in their full effect…

But I did get The Official Picture (in case you were wondering) of me in front of the Bayside sign.  And in the short two-block walk back to my car, I was reminded how side-show / Milan-runway-wannabe attractive the Marina natives are, by and large.  I almost can’t wait to go back to Bayside and rub elbows with them, untucked shirts and hair gel notwithstanding.  Call me Jane Goodall.