409 Gough ~ (415) 552-3400

7:00pm Thursday 17 May 2007

Prologue: I can’t seem to get a handle on Breezy’s.  There is a disconcerting lack of information about it in cyberspace.  It’s possible that it is a new-ish tapas restaurant in Hayes Valley (as if this town needed another tapas restaurant, but never mind).  But it’s the # 14 Bar in The Book, so I’m going.  And guess what? I’m going on National Ride Your Bike to Work Day.  What does this mean?  Well, it sure as hell doesn’t mean that I’m getting up early enough in the morning in order to have time to ride my bike to work.  But I will jump on the environmentally-correct bandwagon and ride my bike to a Bar.  That actually sounds like fun.  And in an effort to encourage other people to ride their bikes to the Bar, I will buy a drink for anyone who bikes to Breezy’s on Thursday. (Note: this offer applies only to Barflies. That means, unless you see your name — or your Barfly name — over there to the left under “THE BARFLIES”, I don’t care if you ride your bike into the Bar, I’m not buying you a drink. I mean, I can’t be responsible if the Critical Massers get wind of this and converge on Breezy’s expecting me to pay for all of them. But don’t let this dissuade you, if you are not yet a Barfly. Becoming a Barfly between now and then will totally qualify you for this offer. And nothing could be easier than becoming a Barfly. All you need to do is send me an e-mail letting me know you’d like to be one and telling me what you want your Barfly name to be. It’s that simple.  Justin?  Damien?  Wyatt — bring your wife!  Bob?)  After all, if that lame-ass week-long fire-related gathering of people who aren’t smart enough to find somewhere better to get together than a frickin’ desert in Augustcan go “green”, so can Bars By The Book.  So, bike — or muni, or otherwise mosey — over to Hayes Valley on Thursday and find out the answer to the question: “does she wear high heels even when she rides her bike?” (Disclaimer: if it’s raining, I am sooo not riding my bike.  But the drink offer for anyone who does will still apply, don’t worry.)

Afterword:  Oh, as the date of the Official Visit to Breezy’s drew near, I began to fear the worst.  Contingencies were made:

The phone number listed for Breezy’s has been disconnected!!!  What to make of this?  Is it closed?  (Was it ever open?)  Oooh, the suspense is killing me! 

Now, I could go ahead and schedule the next — and last — “B” Bar, the Bus Stop, as a backup plan, but that would mean me having to ride my bike from Hayes Valley to the Marina, and that’s, like uphill.  So no.  Instead, should Breezy’s be closed, I’ll head over to Soluna, which is inexplicably neither a Bar, nor a Cocktail Lounge, according to The Book.  In fact, it’s easily both.  I’ve been there before.  Lots.  It used to be my favorite bar, actually.  Back when Christophe was a bartender there and Dean owned the place.  Then Dean went to Banal-Man and came back totally lame; he sold the business and Christophe left, thereby ruining my established buy-one-get-one-free drinking program, whereupon Soluna sort of understadably fell out of my favor (not to mention this became another strike against Banal-Man in my book, but that’s another story…).

Anyway, Soluna was (and may very well still be) a pleasant spot to have a drink, plus it’s at roughly the same height above sea level as Breezy’s, so that’s where any Barflies should head if 409 Gough is not still operating as a Bar called Breezy’s.  We’ll drink a toast to the dearly departed Bar, wonder what happened to it, and Barfly credit will be awarded (after all, we will have tried to go the # 14 Bar in The Book).  And don’t worry, I’m still buying a drink for any Barfly who bikes there, wherever there ends up being. 

I thought I had thought of everything.  Yes, it would be annoying to come upon a closed Bar so early in the alphabet, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.  In point of fact, it already had happened.  And since the subsequent Valiant Attempt To Re-Visit Arrow was such a smashing success, I wasn’t too terribly distressed at the prospect of finding no such thing as Breezy’s.  But who could have imagined that the Plan B destination would also be closed?!?  Thank Bacchus I had one of my Piscean premonitions and had the presence of mind to phone Soluna to make sure they weren’t going to be inconveniently closed for one of the private parties they are prone to have.  The following urgent annoucnement was made:

Good grief.  I just called Soluna to make sure they weren’t going to be closed for some private party (as has historically been the case with them) and found out that they have no private party — THEY ARE JUST CLOSING AT 6:30!!!  For no reason, whatsoever.  “It’s slow, so the owner says to close early,” said the lunkhead who answered the phone.  Really?  With the symphony and the theater and the opera and town filling up for Bay-to-Breakers and Soluna is slow on a Thursday?!?  The place has obviously gone waaaaay downhill since I took my leave of it … Fearing Breezy’s is just a figment of The Book’s imagination, I am forced to come up with an alternate plan to my back up plan.  This is so totally annoying that I think I deserve to go someplace nice, reflective biking vest notwithstanding.  So I’m going to Absinthe if there’s no such thing as Breezy’s.  Everyone knows where that is, right?  (398 Hayes)  It’s a Cocktail Lounge.  And sort of swanky, too.  Let’s go! 

Can you believe it?  I was almost starting to wonder if Bar # 13 hadn’t cursed me after all, and it was all going to be downhill from Brazen Head.  Truly stunned, I tried to fathom: what kind of place takes such a lackadaisical approach to its own advertised business hours?  A lame kind of place, is what.  And that’s why you can say you heard it here first, folks: Soluna’s days are numbered.  Don’t waste your money there (or even bother getting your hopes up that they might deign to be open the night you decide to try to go).  Bars By The Book simply cannot condone patronizing a place that is so flagrantly shirking its responsibility to serve alcohol on a reliably regular basis.  As we know, there are more than 130 other places to get a drink in this town, almost all of which — I am quite sure — are more dedicated to their mission of thirst-slaking than those bozo’s at the surely-closing-for-good-soon Soluna.  (“So-lame-a”?  “So-losers”?  Take your own cheap shot, just drink elsewhere more deserving of your dollars…) 

 Unfortunately, as of 17 May 2007, and for at least the next four weeks (which probably actually means at least six, if not eight), Breezy’s is not one of the places you can quaff the refreshing beverage of your choice.  It is not open for business.  What it is, at present, is under construction.  It is also the former Blue Muse (how’s that for some Bar history, Dr. Scott?), so in case you were wondering what happened to that place, now you know (and I know at least one Orinda resident who might be interested in this tidbit — hey Bean!).  And finally, the name Breezy’s is not an allusion to our usual weather.  It is the name of one of the dogs of one of the owners.

How did I come to find out all this information about a Bar that is not open?  I’m glad you asked … as it happens, the owner strolled up to me with his other dog (not Breezy) as I was affixing a hot pink flyer re-directing Barflies to Absinthe onto the side of his building with packing tape, and he (understandably) inquired what I was doing.  When I explained the predicament that his premature advertising had put me in, he generously invited me in to have a look around the future Breezy’s.  Me and my bike.  Although clearly thinking I was more than a little crazy, Ron was very polite and did not dismiss my suggestion that he make a point of inviting me to any private opening gala he might be having.  So we shall see.  (Don’t let me down again, Ron!)

I headed across the street to Absinthe and Miss Anthrope arrived right after my martini ($8.00) to help me decide what to do about Breezy’s.  Should I put Bars By The Book on hold until Ron finally opens up the joint, and then carry on alphabetically?  Or should I invoke Chapter 1, Part 3, Article 4 of The Rules and declare Breezy’s an unsuitable Setting for this project?  Chapter 1, Part 1 of The Rules  notwithstanding, actually wielding such awesome power is a little intimidating.  At least at first.  (And so soon, too — we are just on Bar # 14, after all!)  But a decision needed to be made, and it is one of my many duties as The Hostess to be make these kinds of decisions so that y’all don’t have to (you’re welcome) and so, on the grounds of Premature Advertisation (which Miss Anthrope and I agreed is pretty much tantamount to cheating), Breezy’s was summarily disqualified as a Bar for the purposes of Bars By The Book.  (No hard feelings, Ron.  That’s just the way the stick swizzles sometimes.  I hope you still invite me to your gala!)

With that, a precedent was set.  And I felt so much better, after being so frazzled from finding closed bars all afternoon.  Plus, there was a certain soothing symmetry in being in the first Cocktail Lounge in The Book on the occasion of the first Bar Disqualification.  I was able to get down to the business of getting to know my new friend, Miss Anthrope, who is the kind of intelligent, sparkling conversationalist I do so enjoy, and who may or may not be the mastermind behind the recent very delightful SwapSF book swap & free vodka event (ask Miss Anthrope yourself if you want to know).

Lastly, in the interest of fair & balanced-ness, I will admit that there was apparently not one thing happening that night at either the symphony, the theater, or the opera.  (But I am sticking by my story of the town filling up for Bay-to-Breakers— those Kenyans have to get here early in order to overcome their jet lag before the race.)  Also, Ron appeared genuinely surprised to learn that Breezy’s is already listed in the yellow pages (although one could argue that this is the sort of thing which a business owner might be expected to be aware of, but whatever;  I’m not going to quibble with the disqualified).  And in case you were wondering, yes, I did ride my bike to the bar(s) I visited that night.  So did the eminent Dr. Black, who joined Paladin and I later at yet another subsequent location.  As to how I got home, let’s just say this:  just because it’s not — as far as I know — against the law to bike ride under the influence of moderate amounts of alcohol, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so, especially after dark — and Paladin does (sort of)  have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, after all…