Ace’s Friday, Jun 22 2007 

998 Sutter (415) 673-0644

Prologue: Open “every day from 6am ’til 2am” –so they say — what’s not to like?

Afterword: What a cheerful place to start this admitedly somewhat daunting adventure; Ace’s set the bar perhaps a bit high for “All 4 A’s in One Day Day”. Per force, the visit was ameliorated auspiciously by the appearance of three Barflies, bearing birthday gifts for the Hostess, no less!

Ace’s makes the most of its corner location with walls of windows, which allow one to enjoy the sunshine, should one find oneself there on such a lovely sunny afternoon as we did (who knows what it looks like at night?). It’s obviously a bar with a local clientele, but I certainly felt very welcome, despite never having been there before, and notwithstanding the fact that we were taking so many pictures that we could have been mistaken for <shudder> tourists. There are many large-flat-screen tv’s mounted about for sports viewing, but there is also a jukebox stocked with everything from the Ramones to Willie Nelson. There is some original art on the walls, as well as an apparently compelling mug shot of a very young Frank Sinatra.

Eric was our bartender of record, and Paladin and I were delighted that he already knew that Bloody Marys taste better with lemons than limes. All the mixed drinks he made for the Barflies were tasty and filled to the brim. Four dollar beers and five dollar cocktails confirmed my original suspicion that Ace’s was going to prove to be a stellar start to this sojourn.

Bathroom Biography:
One, unisex, MUCH cleaner than you would think; huge, nice pink lighting (so you will think you look pretty), overwhelming scent of air-freshining product (but in an inarguably good way); plenty of supplies; Bottom line: Do It.


Chieftain Irish Pub, The Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

198 5th ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 615-0916

2:00pm Sunday 12 August 2007

Prologue: OK, it’s an Irish pub. Got it. Now, for something really thought-provoking, did you know that ladies’ nights at bars are technically illegal in California?!?!?! It is apparently true. Which does not, by any stretch of the imagination, make it proper. We need to get this ruling overturned and pronto! Thank goodness Bars By The Book has the brilliant legal cousel on retainer (Dewars, rocks) that we do. We’re taking this one to the Supreme Court, if necessary! Women couldn’t vote for centuries in this country, and now we can’t get cheap drinks purely on account of being female? That’s just plain wrong.

Come out and sip away this Sunday afternoon with me, won’t you? This Bars By The Book outing is going to be a celebration of being unmarried, as a couple of Barflies recently became legally un-hitched, so I am in even better company in my singleness than ever before. I further propose that any married people there buy the drinks for those who aren’t!  An unwedded bliss-fest — I like it!

Afterword:  The Official Visit to The Chieftan Irish Pub certainly called into question the wisdom of that “sipping away a Sunday afternoon” business.  Don’t get me wrong — I still consider that a pleasant enough prospect, and have actually pulled it off in practice more than once elsewhere.  The Chieftan Irish Pub experience, however, left a lot to be remembered…

The bargain-priced $3.00 Bloody Mary’s have something to do with this.  But really, The Hostess might as well  “blame it on Rio”  for all the good it would do to obscure the fact that any particular one of the various combinations of assorted alcohols she consumed that day was any more responsible than the others for the drunken state she wound up in.  The bottom line is that afternoon drinking should be structured around a little thing known as lunch.

The funny thing is, The Chieftan Irish Pub serves food.  Delicious food, from the look and smell of it.  They make something called “Cottage Pie” that is more or less the Irish spin on Shepard’s Pie which I do believe I shall go back to The Chieftan Irish Pub specifically to sample someday.  Nora Charles had a hamburger (how she stays so svelte is beyond me).  I can’t say for sure that other dishes weren’t ordered and shared by the Barflies.   I can say for sure that by the time any ‘Flies buzzed in, it was probably too late for The Hostess to be saved by a meal, no matter how tasty.

This is not to imply that I minded sitting at the bar by myself, waiting for familar faces to walk in the door.  Even though the afternoon was ridiculously gloriously sunny and downright hot and The Chieftan Irish Pub is noticeably devoid of windows, I was perfectly happy to sit and drink $3.00 Bloody Mary’s.  There were about as many customers as employees, for a grand total of either six or seven of us not enjoying the sunshine.  So at least I had company.  When I commented on the wonderful aroma of the Cottage Pie the guy on my right was served, the bartender (hi, Leslie!) explained to me what it was and offered me a menu.  Instead, I had another of her Bloody Mary’s and the guy on my left, who was also having a liquid lunch from the looks of things, introduced himself (hi, Jim!).   In other words, The Chieftan Irish Pub is a friendly sort of place.

At least, The Chieftan Irish Pub is a friendly sort of place when the owners have to go out of town for an emergency and a couple of the Pub’s regulars step up and volunteer to tend bar and keep the doors open.  Which is what turned out to be the case that afternoon.  And if Leslie and Dave (hi, Dave!) are typical of The Chieftan Irish Pub’s regulars, then it ought to be a friendly festival when it’s busy. 

I originally mistook Dave for the owner.  Or at least the manager.  It was probably his accent.  It turns out that he does electrical work for the owner, and is Leslie’s boyfriend, and the two of them spend lots of quality time at The Chieftan Irish Pub.  They introduced me to Tina — who is an actual employee (hi, Tina!) — and I decided it was time to tell my new acquaintences why I was there that day.  A round on the house (the first of many, I might add) ensued.

As did a long conversation about everything from the uinque merits of prior Bars to golf and how old The Hostess’ favorite professional golfer, John “The Lion” Daly,  is (Dave was right, I was wrong; more about the greatness of Mr. Daly later…).   I believe shots of Fernet were done.   One of the lovely female Barflies arrived, but I can’t even remember which one got there first.  Things were already devolving into a sun-drenched (the doors were wide open), strong-drink-soaked blur…

A word to the wise about the two doors at The Chieftan Irish Pub: if you think you might need to hightail it out of one of them, you better be sitting right next to it and the subject of your potential avoidance better come in the other one, have bad eyesight, and be very slow to realize you are there.  Granted, one door opens onto the corner and the other one leads to the street, but they are very close to each other and if you make it out of one, you’re not going to have much of a head start if your pursuer(s) sees you flee.  Also, if you take the precaution of carefully remembering how to get back to your car based one of these particular doors, you should probably make sure, if you storm out of the Bar blindly drunk, that you exit via the same particular door, or else you will most likely not find your car, even if you are, in fact, walking the correct number of blocks up and over, etc. 

To be clear: any storming out of The Chieftan Irish Pub, blindly drunk or otherwise, was not on account of anyone connected to the Bar.  It’s a great place, even without windows.  Leslie and Dave and Tina are fine folks, and I’m sure the other regular clientele are just as friendly.  They serve good food and the drinks are priced properly.   In fact, The Chieftan Irish Pub experience had me in such a fine mood that I beleived inviting Paladin to join our merry party was a good idea.  And let’s face it: Paladin is pretty lousy company in August.  Let’s just say his mind is elsewhere, and it is really probably better to avoid him altogether for the duration of the month.  It is definitely a bad idea to attempt to enjoy his company along with that of anyone else who has been similarly brainwashed to think that sleeping in a tent in a desert during dust storms and using Port-a-Potties for a week is “fun”. 

This all goes to show how alcohol does cloud one’s judgement, in addition to sometimes contributing to one’s wandering around quite lost in search of one’s car.  Of course, in the tradition of the “Happy Ending”, The Hostess was rescued from the streets of SOMA and did not drive herself anywhere that day.  In fact, records show she actually made it to work the following day, which is nothing short of amazing.   The photographic record suggests that I made it behind the Bar (which I always love, even if I sustain a toe injury) for a great shot with Leslie and Dave and Tina, and Dave took some pretty adorable Offical Photos before any storming happened, so ultimately the Offical Visit was a success and one more “C” was crossed off The List.

Bathroom Biography:
I don’t recall anything egregious about it, so it’s probably fine.  If I am mis-remembering something, please let me know and I’ll duly note it here.


Danny Coyle’s Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

668 Haight ~ (415) 558-8375

5:30pm Thursday 27 December 2007

Prologue:  I have this crazy theory that if I can get out of the “C” Bars before this crappy year ends, then 2008 will be a better set of 12 months for me.  Perhaps it’ll be downright dandy.  So Nora Charles and I are going to Danny Coyle’s to have our welcome home party from our Oliver’s Twisted Christmas (provided we survive that extravaganza).  I have my doubts that we’ll be up for too much more than propping up the bar by then, but Thursday is the only night Danny Coyle’s doesn’t have some wacky theme night.  Plus, it’s a “college bar” and school’s out, so mabye some grown-ups will venture in from the neighborhood and buy us drinks.  That’s the plan, at least.  We’ll see how it goes…

Dave’s Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

29 3rd St. ~ (415) 495-6726

5:30pm Friday 4 January 2008

Prologue:  Miraculously, The Hostess survived staying up for 27 hours straight over the course of saying good riddance to 2007 and enthusiastically ringing in 2008.  My New Year’s resolution is to be more spontaneous.  I even have a motto: “Don’t hesitate in 2008!” (thanks, Chica Cherry).  Come join me at Dave’s after work on Friday and suggest something spontaneous for me to do next.

I also think the New Year could use some new Barflies.  While the current crew has been fantastic company, the competition for the Fabulous Prize at the end of this journey is not as fierce as it could be.  The algorithm to ensure new Barflies have an equal chance is in development — I have enlisted the aid of a new Technical Project Manager to speed this up — so don’t worry if you have missed out on the first year of this quest.  The algorithm will ensure that you can make up for lost time. 

Yes, I know, it will be raining.  Potentially torrentially.  Wear a hat and/or bring an umbrella.  Sport some galoshes.  It’s just rain.  Only on the West Coast does rain make the news.  You will not melt if you get wet (unless you are a green witch).  As an added incentive to lure new Barflies out into the — gasp! — weather, The Hostess will buy any new recruits a Happy New Year drink.  And who knows, she had a pretty inexpensive extravagantly debauched New Year’s Eve, so she might buy long-standing ‘flies a round, too!

UPDATE 10:14am – Well, it seems as though some scaffolding has collapsed right at Third & Market, perhaps closing the environs for a bit.  The Hostess cannot express how tiresome she finds this, but it appears that this “storm” was quite determined to get her attention one way or another.  This situation will be monitored and updates will be provided here, but in the event that Dave’s is inaccessible at 5:30, please refer to Chapter 1, Part 3, Article 4 of The Rules  for details on how to implement Permanent Plan B

UPDATE 1:38pm – I just called and a woman assured me that Dave’s will, in fact, be open tonight.  So come on down and let’s see if she was telling the truth!  Storm-schmorm. 

Dirty Martini, The Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

2801 Leavenworth ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 775-5110

(time TBA) Thursday 21 February 2008

Prologue: It says right on Chica Cherry’s list of the 40 things she is doing in 40 days before she turns 40: “Feb. 21 – Not My Birthday Celebration”, so it’s not her birthday. Nora Charles had her birthday in December, so it isn’t her birthday either. I have reason to believe they’ll both be there, though, since they are picking me up and we are going somewhere swanky for dinner…but it’s definitely not my birthday!

I mean, who would have her birthday drink at such a lame Bar as The Dirty Martini is surely going to be? Certainly not The Hostess. There will be no presents, cards, cake, candles, or other birthday paraphernalia there, so it’s not likely that it’s anyone’s birthday, much less mine. Besides, I’ve decided not to have any more birthdays until I can have what I want for a present, and that’s not going to ever happen, therefore this February 21st is absolutely, positively, categorically NOT my birthday.

Of course, if you’d like to swing by and buy me a drink for some other reason, I won’t stop you…(that is, unless you have been Banned until March for inappropriate commentary — in which case you know who you are, so don’t even think about adding any more egregiousness to my brief time at this tourist trap!)

Afterword: I had said…

Next up: The Dirty Martini — Thursday 21 February 2008 … the later, the better. The Hostess is pretty sure this place is going to be as heinous as Cigar Bar & Grill was; this Official Visit also to be saved only by the company — which is taken care of (minus the thrilling motorcycle ride Mother Nature is conspiring to deny me, but whatever) — so no one else needs to brave the elements. Really, I mean it.

I do so love it when I’m right! Although I am right so much of the majority of the time, you might think I would have gotten over it by now. But no, I still get a kick of having one of my hypotheses turn out to be completely the case.

OK, so I was wrong about the rain, which meant I missed out on the motorcycle ride unnecessarily. But I could tell from a block away, by the neon blue signs that The Dirty Martini was going to be just as awful as I had imagined. Walking in the door, I could barely keep the smug smirk off my face. What’s wrong with The Dirty Martini, exactly, you ask? Ah, where to begin…

For starters, the bar is in the center of the room, and it is a rectangularly-oval affair, which means there is no mirror behind the bar in which to check (and/or admire) one’s hair. One can, however, order food from the Hooter’s menu (oooh, goody…NOT!) and have it delivered to the Bar, “but it takes forever”, or so the pretty unimpressive bartender admitted. That was actually an amusing thing for him to say, given the time it took him to get around to meandering over to new arrivals to find out what they wanted to drink. And after the wait, cocktail napkins had to be specifically requested. It was thoroughly unsatisfactory barstooling, and that was before the obnoxious conventioneer crowd showed up, which certainly didn’t help matters any.

The Dirty Martini has a golf video game and two pool tables. There’s a small stage, with some dj paraphernalia, and a dance floor. They sell a variety of t-shirts, but who would want one? When Sigerson appeared, neither one of us could figure out why anyone would actually go to The Dirty Martini. A mere one block away is The Buena Vista Cafe, which attracts its share of tourists but still manages to be a delightful spot to drink. When my fizzy water was served in a plastic cup, we just shook our heads.

I will say this about The Dirty Martini: there seems to be a very favorable male-to-female ratio, that is, if you are a female, and you are actually looking for an obnoxious tourist for some incomprehensible reason. And I suppose it does function as a place to contain the tourists, where they won’t get in our way, sort of like Fisherman’s Wharf in general. It also has the distinction of being a Bar Where One Can Hightail It Out the Back, if necessary. (There are three front doors and two emergency exits behind either side of the stage — neither of which has a sign warning that an “alarm will sound” — of course one never knows, but depending on the circumstances, one might not care about an alarm sounding.)

Anyway, as predicted, Sigerson’s charming company saved the Official Visit from being too desultory for words. He bought me a drink (after pointing out a typo on his Bars By The Book free drink coupon — a party favor from at the one-year anniversary Deluxe gala event, which he wisely decided to save for a swankier occasion — not resisting the urge to say “Spell-check doesn’t know what you mean, but I do.”) and he politely inquired about what I would want for a present, if it were my birthday (which it obviously was not). When I said I preferred not to jinx my wish by telling it, he sagely reminded me that those who do not speak about what they want rarely actually get their wishes to come true. Given the very inauspicious location where Sigerson was dispensing his inarguably correct wisdom, I chose to remain coy for the time being. I mean, no sense having to look back on The Dirty Martini as an important venue in my perennially checkered past — or in spoiling my record of being on tropical beaches when I am persuaded to reveal my fondest wishes…

While some of the above description may suggest that the Official Visit to The Dirty Martini even verged on heady, let me assure you that any hint of giddy exhilaration was categorically (heroically, even) in spite of our surroundings. Chica Cherry and Nora Charles were visibly relieved to arrive too late to have time for a qualifying drink there, which should speak volumes. As a final warning, be advised that The Dirty Martini is sure to be even worse when it is packed with the sort of people showcased on its website. </shudder>

Bathroom Biography:
If the best thing about a Bar is its bathroom, well, what more really needs to be said? In the interest of due diligence, however, I will report that the ladies’ restroom is spacious enough to accommodate the hordes of clueless folk who apparently descend upon this place and think this Bar is a good one. There is also enough square footage of mirror for one and all to do the sort of adjustments these types are likely to need to make. (The Hostess does not mean to seem snobbish, but really, I defy anyone astute enough to be reading this to find one redeeming quality in The Dirty Martini, save for the aforementioned corralling of tourists.)

Dubliner Lincoln Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

1849 Lincoln Wy ~ (415) 242-9930

5:00pm Thursday 28 February 2008

Prologue: It has recently — somewhat surprisingly — happened that the number of male Barflies has surpassed the number of female ones. Now, The Hostess is not complaining about this demographic dynamic. In fact, in order to demonstrate that there is always room at the Bar for another gentleman, we are adding one more hot man to the mix tonight at Dubliner Lincoln. What’s more, he’s flying halfway across the Pacific Ocean just to join us! (Well, OK, he might have another reason for coming to town, but he’s the reason for the date and time of this Official Visit, so I’m sticking with my version of events.) I don’t know anything about Dubliner Lincoln, except that it’s small, and it’s where I and at least two three (Chica Cherry has apparently just added this to her Bent Deluge Birthday Extravaganza— yay!) other Barflies will be on Thursday evening. So, come by and check it out with us, or wait for the review, but either way, stay tuned!

Afterword: Scotty really summed this one up nicely when he said that this Bar is in transition from its former Irish pub incarnation to a sports bar catering to the fraternity set.  While San Francisco can afford to lose an Irish pub here and there — the city being so riddled with them — there is a real question as to whether we need another sports bar vying for the allowances of college kids.  But The Hostess realizes that a person who buys a Bar purchases the right to do whatever he wants with it, this being America and all.

So, once upon a time, or four months before the Official Visit to Dubliner Lincoln, a nice boy named Tim (hi, Tim!) bought the business and promptly changed the name to Lincoln Tavern, basically completely offending The Hostess’ alphabetical sensibilities, but whatever.  It’s all still By The Book, so no problem.  Apparently, Tim has plans to change the name even more drastically, to — of all things — The Chug Pub.  (I know!)  He even showed me the logo he is contemplating: a mug of spilled beer — just as charming as you’d imagine.  I gently suggested something more genteel, in keeping with the original name, such as “The Publiner”, but to no avail, I’m quite certain.  Scotty is right: whatever this Bar is called, it is/was in flux, and will likely be a whole different sort of spot as soon as I am done telling you what it was like when I was there, so you’ll have to just go and check it out for yourselves.  Feel free to let me know how it has continued to change…

Say hi to Terrance for me if he’s bar-tending when (if) you go (hi, Terrance!).  He’s a very friendly lad who told me the whole Dubliner Lincoln/Lincoln Tavern/Chug Pub saga while I instructed him on the finer points of laying down some smoke in a Smoky Mirror.  You see, there are (were) actually four various incarnations of Dubliners scattered around San Francisco (obviously somewhat differently named, or otherwise not in The Book under “Bars”) owned by one person who decided to sell the one on Lincoln Way and another one on (in?) West Portal.  The name change frenzy is an attempt to differentiate Tim’s place from the others.  However, judging from the long faces on some of the regulars who wandered in during the Official Visit and hunkered down — visibly casting aspersions down the length of the premises — I don’t think that the transformation is going to be as heralded as Tim hopes.  Dubliner Lincoln has obviously been around long enough to attract a clientele, and they seem to like the place the way it is.

And I don’t blame them.  The place has a number of fine features going for it.  Open at 4:00pm during the week (and at noon on the weekends!), the west wall is mostly large windows, so it’s cheerfully bright on sunny afternoons.  There’s the obligatory pool table (pool is/was free on Sundays) and dart board, and even a collection of board games (including Battleship, Jenga, and Connect 4) for those who prefer to play games sitting down.  There are two ceiling fans and one disco ball, and…free wi-fi!!! 

<digression> (The Hostess would like — love! —  to see more Bars offering wireless internet.  All this ridiculous blogging would be ever so much fun if it were done in an actual Bar.  And just think, I could recount Official Visits in real time!) </digression>

There’s also a kitchen which serves a menu of typical bar fare, including very delicious french fries which I’m sure are just as tasty if you have to pay for them (thanks, Terrance!).  Finally, there is the delightfully ingenious smoking parlor, which almost made me want to have a cigarette.  It’s an actual room, completely separate from the rest of the Bar, with stools and a big window that can be opened, weather permitting.  Ergo, smokers can order drinks, go into the parlor, and hang out with their beverages.  They don’t have to cluster around the door, furiously smoking in such a hurry to get back inside to their drinks that they are prone to toss their butts on the sidewalk — it’s fantastic! 

Unfortunately, the ambiance of the premises is being altered with such nonsense as something called the “Stop Light Party” (on Thursdays, starting at 9:00pm, consider yourself warned).  The idea being that one wears clothing color-coded to indicate one’s desire to be hit on (yes, you read that correctly):  red = in a relationship, don’t bother; yellow = possibly interested, approach with caution; green = single and ready to mingle!  And, in case your wardrobe doesn’t reflect your actual situation (which it probably doesn’t, since you are probably wearing jeans and a black shirt, admit it), the establishment thoughtfully provides (allegedly washable) spray paint with which you can adorn your hair.  It should come as no surprise that the Barflies and I politely excused ourselves before any of this occurred.  I was too disturbed to even inquire what sorts of events are in the works for the other six nights of the week. 

Happily, I was distracted from contemplating the imminent demise of Dubliner Lincoln by Lotus Position’s arrival.  The addition of a new ‘Fly always does my  heart good.  It was lovely of Nora Charles to share him with us, and I do hope that the  airline apocalypse affairs  don’t interfere with our seeing him more often…

This Official Visit confirmed once again the value of gracious, gregarious and genial drinking companions (the previous evening’s enjoyment of Double Dutch notwithstanding, of course).  What could have been a vaguely unsettling experience, somewhat adversely affected by the transitory nature of the establishment, turned out to be a fine evening with friends (and french fries).  It was also a much-needed mellow way to bring two weeks of basically uninterrupted bar-hopping (Officially, and otherwise) to a close.  The Hostess was showing signs of wear and tear, apparently (Lotus Position was briefly concerned about my health, dear consummate doctor that he is!).  I was still in the throes of whatever mysterious illness I had been suffering for a fortnight, and my social calender was crammed with Chica Cherry’s birthday festivities! 

I needed a rest.  So Bars By The Book went on hiatus.  It was a bit abrupt, and left some folks bewildered and bereft, but it needed to be done.  And judging from the fine form in which I found myself at Bar # 38 a month later, that brief respite was most restorative!

Bathroom Biography:
The ladies’ room is certianly large enough to accommodate the hordes Tim is hoping for.  Though he might want to do something about the smell of dirty mop water, as long as he is changing things up.  Bottom line: it’ll do in a pinch as somewhere to duck for a minute if the “Stop Light Party” et all get to be a bit much.


Durty Nelly’s Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

2328 Irving ~ (415) 664-2555

5:00pm Tuesday 1 April 2008

Prologue: What better day to resume this fools’ errand?  And Nora Charles’ fondness for the place means it must be a quality establishment.  I’m going there straight after work, nabbing the fireside seating, and even having some dinner (since the food is allegedly good, and apparently vodka does not count as a meal in the nutritional sense, go figure).  The repast, however — in the spirit of the day, perhaps — will begin with the dessert that Nora Charles has graciously offered to bake.  This is no April Fools joke, so be sure to save the date!

UPDATE: Despite assurances to the contrary, Nora Charles is not going to be joining The Hostess at the Official Visit to Durty Nelly’s.  Bars By The Book cannot compete with visiting Lotus Position on Kuai, apparently.  Well, whatever.  She has promised to bestow brownies upon me before then so it’ll be almost like having her around, as far as baked goods go.

Afterword:  (rough draft) OK, so there were no brownies.  But the search for the most Irish Bar in San Francisco is definitely over.  And Chica Cherry’s dearth of chaperonage duty continues.  Of course, this is certainly not a bad thing, niether historically nor in the case at Durty Nelly’s.  Details will follow, but for now, Vivan — thanks for dinner (& I can’t wait to meet your mother!); Big John — thanks for escorting me to my car; and Odhran — thanks for inviting me behind the bar and showing me how to properly pull a pint.  The short version to tide you over for the full one is that Durty Nelly’s is as great as it is Irish, and I’m glad it’s (more or less) on my way home from work so that I can stop in again.