1318 18th St. ~ (415) 552-6707

Sunset (-ish), Saturday 14 April 2007

Prologue: Blooms Saloon is supposed to have a great view of the city. So I thought I’d get there while it’s still light out, and stay to see the sun go down as the city lights come up. Then I found out that it’s probably going to rain on Saturday, screwing my plans to see a sensational sunset. But since I’m spending the afternoon at the Tea Garden Springs Zen spa in Mill Valley that afternoon, I’m not likely to mind if the view from Blooms is less than stunning. So Saturday evening, right around the time the sun is setting (behind the clouds or no) I’ll be at Blooms, rain or shine. (Somebody stop me before I say something about April showers and frickin’ flowers, will you?)

Afterword: The evening began auspiciously with my being able to find Blooms Saloon by my directionally-challenged self AND a parking space with zero fuss. Then, when I sat down and ordered a vodka martini, up with a lime twist, the bartender decided that a martini made that way ought to be called something, and asked me my name, and promptly proclaimed that the drink was henceforth to be called a [Gre]nadine. Well, you can see why I decided I liked Blooms Saloon at once, can’t you?

Lindy was the bartender’s name. And I don’t know if she has named any drinks for herself, but I do know what her name means in Hindi, which I would tell you, but then you would not have the pleasure of having Lindy tell you the amusing anecdote of how she came to find out this pretty esoteric tidbit of information. Lindy introduced me to her friend Mitch, and they proceeded to question me about who I was and where I came from and why I was at their bar, and what had taken me 7 years to get there. On learning about Bars By The Book, Mitch was, well not exactly unimpressed, but definitely not interested in becoming a Barfly since, he explained, he only goes to two bars (Blooms Saloon and one other one which now I cannot remember for the life of me, but I hope it’s a Bar and that he’s there when I go). Lindy, on the other hand, was totally down with the program, and even miffed that so many Bars had gone by already that she couldn’t possibly win the Fabulous Prize at the end (Batman is working on a mathematical way to even out your chances, Lindy, don’t worry).

Then a bunch of us at the bar all had something called a Hot Shot which is not a shot at all, but a combination of Baileys, coffee, Irish Whiskey, and Kahluha, and was on the house, so was even more enjoyable than you can imagine it would have been with all those yummy ingredients. (Warning!!! Do not try this at home until you read Lindy’s comment below which tells you what ingredient I missed! Thank you, Lindy!) It’s apparently some deconstruction of something else that Michael J. Fox (not the actor/Parkinson’s Poster Boy, but a regular at Blooms Saloon) decided needed tinkering with.

That’s when Batman tapped me on the shoulder (hi Batman!). And as much as I love making new friends (my longstanding dislike of people notwithstanding), it is always nice to see a familiar face in the mirror behind the bar, too. In all the excitement of Batman’s arrival, there was a shift change and Lindy joined us on our side of the bar while Gene took over behind it. Gene and Lindy both tried to get me to read a framed article on the wall about the regular Blooms Saloon bartender, who is apparently famous and has won a “best bartender” award, but really, I like to focus on the bartender(s) in front of me and how much better could this guy be than Lindy and Gene, who have both mastered the art of pouring martini’s right to the rim of the glass?

Anyway, Mitch finally called it a night, and we were both pretty surprised he hadn’t drowned in my dimples, but that was probably for the best, because what, after all, would I do with a decent man? Lindy and Batman smoked way too many cigarettes between them and we all bemoaned the lack of access to the tantalizing back patio, home of the indeed “great view” which can now only be enjoyed on a limited basis from inside thanks to a crabby neighbor who is not content to have caused the patio to be closed (except for the 4th of July and October 26th, or the closest Sunday thereto), but is also letting her trees obscure most of the otherwise yes, “great view” (bitch).

Batman took the Official Picture(s), and even snapped some of the gentlemen’s bathroom on his new camera phone (which I am now going to start calling “phameras”, and I think you should, too), so when I get around to doing something with all these pictures (I am starting to wonder about the wisdom of putting them online…), we’ll all finally get a look at the parts of the Bar I ususally don’t get to pass judgement on (thanks, Batman). I even got to go behind the bar (my favorite!) and Lindy took pictures of Gene and I and the “No Sniveling” sign.

Amenities at Blooms Saloon include an old-timey phone booth, pinball machines, and plenty of seating. No hooks (just gum), and no dogs, except for some that get special passes, but if you have to ask, then your dog doesn’t have one. A receptacle for cigarette refuse it thoughtfully provided just outside the door, which is something the losers at Maggie McGarry’s in North Beach could take a lesson from (fear me, Maggie’s…UPDATE: Maggie finally got an ashtray so consider that lesson learned; well done, Maggie!). But the best thing about Blooms Saloon is that even if you don’t know anyone when you walk in the door, the people who are there will make sure that doesn’t last long.

As to the tragically tantalizing view, well, Batman and I did make a point of checking it out after the sun had set and you know, it’s still a pretty nice vantage point from which to take in the Bay Bridge, which at night and from a distance is quite lovely. We are lucky folks, indeed, to live in such a beautiful city with so many Bars to visit and so many bartenders (and their friends!) to meet. If only there were as many parking spaces everywhere else in San Francisco as in Potrero Hill, then the word perfect might could (as they say in Texas) be applied.

Bathroom Biography:
One for each. The ladies room is single use only, and otherwise unremarkable except for the hilarious advertisement for something called dumpcupid.com. “Why trust your love life to a fat guy in a diaper?” it says. Why indeed! Bottom line: go for it and ponder the cupid question for yourself.