Bus Stop Friday, Jun 22 2007 

1901 Union ~ WEBSITE ~ (415) 567-6905

8:00pm Friday 25 May 2007

 Prologue: Their website is SUPER ANNOYING. Do not click on the link to it unless you want to be directed to a page that plays music which you cannot turn off and is not very informative, at that. (Oh, well, it’s a Bar in the Marina, so what else can you really expect besides a dose of obnoxiousness?) On the plus side of things, the Bus Stop is the first Bar That Is Also a Cocktail Lounge, which is certainly something worth noting. It is also the last Bar that starts with a “B”.  So really, why would you not check it out with me…? 

You might also consider reading Mark Morford’s reflection on excessive drinking beforehand.  I can’t decide if he is pro or con (or has just given up on deciding) in his conclusion, but I do enjoy his prose. And it’s a nice reminder that maintaining the ability to remain upright is essential to say, any “artistic adventure considerably illuminated by champagne” (which is a phrase that appears on the first page of a book called  “Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis that is otherwise a terrible waste of time so don’t bother reading it because this phrase is the best part of the book, trust me). 

Afterword:  Let me begin this little synopsis by apologizing for taking so long to write it.  I am well aware of the first rule of ridiculous blogging: “update, update, update” — but what can I say?  I wanted to wait until I had time to write something worthy of my Bus Stop experience (and I have been nursing a broken toe — more or less — keep reading).

Paladin and I took the bus to the Bus Stop, because I am nothing if not a propos.  I was excited as I always am on the threshold of “THE NEXT BAR!”, but I do have to admit that my initial impression was somewhat less-than-enthusiastic.  This did not phase me in the least, of course, because I was expecting a pretty stereotypical Marina (and therefore largely unpleasant) hangout, so the fact that the Bus Stop seemed only about 50% stereotypical Marina clientele was actually a plus.  You see, the Bus Stop is actually not a “Marina bar”.  It’s really one of the oldest bars in San Francisco (est. 1900) and what it is is a neighborhood Bar that just happens to be in the neighborhood of the Marina (of course Paladin will debate semantics with you for hours between what is the Marina vs. what constitutes Cow Hollow, but come on, what is the difference, these days, hair-gel-wise?).  What this means is that there are stereotypical Marina-types in there, but at least half the people there are from the neighborhood from well before the designation “Marina” took on its dot-bomb negative connotations, so once you settle in and realize this, you will calm down about the fact that people might be looking at you a little funny, because if you are not from the Marina (or Cow Hollow), they are just wondering what you are doing there, that’s all.

Which is to say that the Bus Stop did not immediately strike me as a destination spot.  What the Bus Stop also happens to be is a sports bar — with 22 tv screens of various sizes all turned to sports and a back room full of pool tables.  So if you want to see sports, I suppose you might head there from elsewhere on purpose, but that’s not why I go to Bars, is it?  So I can’t assess the Bus Stop from the perspective of a sports bar afficinado.

But I can (oh, and I will!)  assess the Bus Stop from a Barfly perspective and as it turns out, the main reason I didn’t like the Bus Stop more immediately is because I allowed myself to be seduced by their window seats, which are bright (being in the windows and all) and do have railings just wide enough to balance a drink on, and even have the same stools as the bar, but I had separation anxiety from the bartender as soon as I had turned my back on him to look out the window and let’s face it, the bar is always the best place to be. 

So when the 25-somethings thronging the bar cleared out to go and peer at the rest of us from their peripheral tables, we moved to the middle of the bar and I instantly felt much more at home.  It is possible this was occasioned, at least in part, to the arrival of the newest Barfly, Scotty, who had ventured blocks (blocks!) outside of his usual drinking zone and obviously needed The Hostess to create the illusion of the familiar if he was going to make it through the requisite Drink.  But meeing Ron, the bartender, was also definitely a factor in the merriment which ensued.  (And I don’t even think I ever got around to telling him the fascinating fact that the Bus Stop is the first Bar In The Book that is also a Cocktail Lounge!)

While Scotty was being miffed by the presense of the creepy guy at the end of the bar with the terrible pick-up lines (he actually asked me if I was his new belly dance instructor, if you can even believe it!) — who has already been 86-ed from where you can otherwise find Scotty enjoying a vodka concoction — and Paladin disappeared outside on the premise of taking a suspiciously long phone call (that could have easily been four cigarettes in a row), I remained calm by focusing on the example Ron set by his sublime equanimity when I explained Bars By The Book to him.  He didn’t bat an eye.  He didn’t seem to care.  He served a bunch of other people their drinks and then, without seeming to have paid any mind whatsoever to what I had told him about the Bus Stop being the # 15 Bar in The Book, served me a complimentary (my favorite kind!) cocktail and started putting the venerable history of the Bus Stop into proper perspective for a new-comer like me.

Well, you know how I feel about charming gentlemen (love them!).  Ron had that one-two punch of charming gentleman plus credit-to-his-profession-of-bar-tender thing going on and I was just smitten.  I could have sat there for (even more) hours, listening to him tell me all about the long (and fajita-checkered) past of his place of employment for the last 20 (right Ron?) years … but there was an old-timey two-person table-top version of Ms Pacman I simply had to check out before I lost any semblance of reflexes, so Scotty and I went over to ask the motor cycle boys to move their helmets off the game (which they seemed happy to do, when asked politely) and I proceeded to kick some serious vintage video game ass (if I do say so myself).

It’s hard to say what happened next.  Jason (we’re giving him 12-year status) started his shift behind the bar and Ron introduced us, and the only thing better than one great bartender is a pair of them, so that was like putting frosting on ice cream.  Scotty seemed to have gotten over the fact that the Bus Stop martinis are Barbie-doll sized (although only $5.50 and made with Belevedere, to be fair), and then the Zombies showed up.  It was frankly a lot to keep track of (and the 25-somethings in the corners seemed utterly unsure of what to make of the Zombies, which was priceless, thank you, Zombies!).  And I wish I could explain the Zombies to you, but those darn Zombies don’t seem to have a permanent website I can link to, and they are beyond even my powers of description (which should tell you a lot, actually).  Suffice to say that there were Zombies.  (And really, need I say more?)

While I can’t explain the Zombies, I did get pictures with them.  Which was when Ron offered to take some pictures of all the Barflies (yes, the Zombies were ‘flies), which was when I, said what I really wanted was to go Behind the Bar and have my picture taken with him and Jason (which I learned at The Black Horse London Pub, you are supposed to wait to be asked to go Behind the Bar, well … who knew?)  My self-invitation was accepted (to my delight — it’s the best vantage point in a bar, you know…) and in the midst of a photo op. that resulted in two adorable photos, I have to admit that I did some damage to the middle toe on my right foot.  (Attention!  All my fault and damage not permanent, I promise!) 

There is a reason that one shouldn’t venture Behind the Bar unless given permission.  It can be a dangerous (or at least somewhat tricky) place and is really best left to professionals.  In the case of the Bus Stop, there is an outcropping of something that is very hard and metallic and precisely the right location to injure any appendages — however small and dainty — that may be peeking out of an open-toed shoe.  Thank Bacchus I had worn my oh-so-trendy-&-Marina-riffic wedge platform sandals that night or things could have been much worse.  I seem to have escaped permanent disfigurement, and the jury (entirely fictional as I assure you it is) is still thinking I won’t even lose the toenail.  Whew!  The toe trauma did sort of bring the evening to an end sooner than it might have otherwise wound up, but that was probably not altogether a terrible thing because the drinks at the Bus Stop are apparently full-strength (despite the size of the glassware), and hey, a mangled toenail is an excuse to take a vicodin, after all (however I think Nora Charles, who arrived — albeit fashionably — late as usual was ticked off at the somewhat sudden-seeming and certianly a bit disorganized departure, and I did spend all weekend — in-between ice-pack applications — hoping I am not on her bad side because that would be a bleak place to be … Nora?).

Alas, in the process of trying very hard to ignore the fact that my toe was probably (and in fact) bleeding rather steadily, I did not make it to the bathroom of the Bus Stop, so I cannot comment on it.  I can tell you that while I was wandering around the pool tables at the beginnng of the evening, admiring the walls of photographs of the Bar and its many years of dedicated patrons, a very nice woman named Rose thought perphaps I was lost and kindly showed me where the ladies room is (it is behind the Ms Pacman game, not in the pool table room where the gents’ lavatory is located).  So, in lieu of a Bathroom Biography, I will tell you three other useful things to know about the Bus Stop: (1) they do take credit cards; (2) they have a sign that says they charge an automatic 15% gratuity on all open tabs; (3) you cannot actually see yourself in the mirrors that are behind all the bottles on the wall Behind the Bar, which is annoying, but the wall opposite the bar is a giant mirror you can see yourself in (if you don’t mind wandering into the midst of the table-hugging 25-somethings who may already be looking askance at you, especially if you are openly consorting with Zombies).

Oh, and lest you think this toe thing was trivial, it actually trumped the Offical Photo outside the Bar.  This has led to a new Policy: the Official Photo will henceforth be taken at the beginning of the Offical Visit.  Missing 2 shots out of 15 is enough already!  This also pushes back our visit to the # 16 Bar, because I need to convalesce a bit until I am in shape to salsa with Jonny-Georgia.  In the meantime, why don’t you go to the Bus Stop and tell me what their bathrooms are like…?

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.

 

Cybar Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

2407 Judah ~ (415) 681-1988

5:00pm Wednesday 12 December 2007

Prologue:  Nora Charles is miffed that she missed The Holiday Lark III (on account of being in Hawaii, poor thing), and she should be, because there were some seriously good times had (most of which The Hostess actually remembers).  So as not to lose the momentum the Official Visits gained over the course of the ‘Lark, Cybar has been scheduled to coincide with Nora Charles’ return to the mainland.  Do come by and welcome her home.  I’ll be there — envying her perfect tan, no doubt — with a now nearly ubiquitous Candy Cane Martini in hand. 

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. 

Delaney’s Bar Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

2241 Chestnut ~ (415) 931-8529

4:30pm Saturday 26 January 2008

Prologue: ‘Aye, another Irish pub. This town is riddled with them, apparently. Hell, I just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. day in one (not on our list) with Nora Charles (the pre-cocktail hour cocktails actually being her idea — brilliant Irish lass that she is). Well, let’s see how this one compares, shall we? Come and weigh in on whether or not “The Bars That Are Irish Pubs” ought to be a feature The Hostess tracks for you. Just please try not to fall off your bar stool in shock: I’ve switched to Manhattans for duration of this frosty cold spell … (at least until I can find a bartender who knows how to make a Sazerac without asking me what is in one, although it suddenly occurs to me that Michael might be just such a bartender — and he works not that far from Delaney’s — should their own bartenders fail to satisfy this Sazerac Attack by which I have been quite, if inexplicably, seized recently). And speaking of brown-hued drinks, The Hostess has finally come across a “w—pedia” version she can actually endorse. I’m reserving the right to be skeptical as to the site’s authoritativeness, but I applaud their concept. Enjoy!

Ms Olive Says:
January 25, 2008 at 3:31 am edit

  1. Ugh! I am going to Blackwells to taste wines from the Rhone! Can’t we make it Sunday? Sorry i don’t mean to winnnne but somebody has got to leave some comments.

Unfortunately, no, Ms Olive. The Hostess has to go investigate a new San Francisco live music venue on Sunday with her tragically un-hip, smooth-jazz friends. (Someone has to go along to add some semblance of classiness to this jaunt!) Enjoy your wine-tasting, though, dear. I’ll make sure the Barflies intrepid enough to brave the downpour (& the Marina zip code) on Saturday drink a toast to you…

Afterword:  Wow.  As a fine fellow named Dave who spends a lot of time at Delaney’s Bar pointed out, it’s a very un-Marina Bar that just happens to be located smack dab in the middle of the Marina.  We got ourselves a new Barfly (hi, Malvolio!).  There was much merriment and copious drinking.  There was free popcorn.  And then The Hostess noticed the brass pole inexplicably extending from the floor to the ceiling at a corner opposite the bar.  If you weren’t there, you’ll just have to wait to hear exactly what happened next, but if you are among those who have heard the rumor about The Hostess’ days as a certain kind of dancer in Tucson, you can probably guess what ensued …

Deluxe Club Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

1511 Haight ~ (415) 552-6949

4:59pm Monday 18 February 2008

drinks_music.png

Thank you, Webweaver for the free festive art!

Prologue: It’s time for Bars By The Book’s one year anniversary! As if that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, it’s also Presidents’ Day, which means a lot of us who would otherwise have to work, don’t — yay! As an added festive element, Mercury is also coming out of retrograde (finally!) so the malaise that so many of the the attuned among us have been feeling will finally dissipate — whew! Last, but certainly not least, this otherwise entirely momentous date happens to dovetail with Day No. 14 of Chica Cherry’s 40-Days-of-Fun 40th Birthday Extravaganza, and she has most graciously decided that celebrating Bars By The Book’s one year anniversary is the Fun Thing she wants to Officially Do that day. (What an amazing Barfly that Chica Cherry has turned out to be!)

After all, she was there when this madness started. The question is, where were you? If you were there, too, then surely you want to come and commemorate the auspicious occasion. If you weren’t there, but have been along on other Official Visits, then this is the perfect time for you to check back in (and get another notch on your Barfly belt…Batman? Wanda? Miss Anthrope?)

And if you have (unfortunately for you) never experienced a Bars By The Book outing, what could be a more perfect introduction to this Tome of Taverns (so to speak) than the one year anniversary party? I don’t want to oversell the evening, but a brilliant neurochemist re-booked his flight to the International Stroke Conference in New Orleans (!) just to be sure he could make it. And another Barfly scheduled the end of her recent bereavement to coincide with having a stiff drink at Deluxe Club with The Hostess on this special night. There are rumors that certain largely anti-social Barflies will make appearances. And Nora Charles is threatening to bring a cake, of all things!

You should come. It’s going to be one for the books, I can feel it. Even if they don’t have a stripper pole, there’s allegedly a dance floor of sorts. If you buy me a drink, maybe I’ll dance with you…

Afterword: What can I say? If you were there, then being there was more fun than reading my description of it can ever be, and if you weren’t there, you won’t believe me when I tell you how much fun you missed. But everyone there deserves to read about themselves, so here goes…

Although the opening time of Deluxe Club was confirmed by Nora Charles and myself on no less than three separate, and independent, occasions, 5:oopm came and went and the Bar remained quite firmly closed. I paced, and waited, and peered in the window, and tried the door; I inhaled the cigarette smoke of dozens of Haight Street denizens, I fretted: repeat (repeatedly). I placed a frantic call or two to Nora Charles. When I was nearing my wits’ end, Ritchie showed up. He’s a Haight Street handyman of sorts (hi, Ritchie!) who spends a lot of quality time at Deluxe Club, and who assured me that the place would open sooner than later. As Ritchie was rolling his second cigarette (the first of which he properly disposed of in the vintage smoking refuse box mounted just outside the door where we were, for all anyone could tell, loitering) who should appear but Chica Cherry, with Scotty just behind her, lending credibility to the whole Bars By The Book (abridged version) I had tried to explain to Ritchie (who seemed to think I was more or less deranged until they showed up).

Handy man, or no, Ritchie did not have the keys to the joint on him, but the pizza guy did! Giovanni was my new favorite person while he unlocked the door, invited us in, and offered to make us drinks (as long as they were uncomplicated). Ritchie split, but Giovanni (hi, Giovanni!) seemed genuinely interested in what we were, in fact, doing at Deluxe Club that night, and he told us all kinds of interesting things about the Bar’s history. (To be fair, Ritchie’s the one who started us down memory lane.) You see, Deluxe Club used to be the Gold Cane, but that place moved down the street, and the former Gold Cane became Deluxe Club, which used to be a gay bar, but became de-gayified when the current owner, Jay, purchased the establishment. Now, don’t ask me how one de-gayifies a Bar, but some of us did wonder. However, before we could delve too deeply into the pondering, Nora Charles showed up with The Cake.

And she didn’t just go to the grocery and purchase a cake. She baked one. (Actually, she baked two, but that’s another story…) Scotty took one look at that confection (The Cake — not Nora Charles — although maybe both, now that I think about it) and ordered one of Giovanni’s pizzas to start. Then Ms Olive strolled in, and it was time for some photos…

To his credit: Giovanni not only got us all drinks, but he managed to bring us a pizza, AND take some fantastic photos of us. For a guy who technically just leases the kitchen space (and has grand plans to restore the menu to its former oyster bar glory) Giovanni went above and beyond the call of duty during the Official Visit, and The Hostess sincerely thanks him for his efforts., wishes him the best of luck in all his culinary endeavors, and hopes he will surprise us with his presence at a future Bar (pizza or no).

I’m pretty sure Jay, the owner (hi, Jay!) arrived next. He plugged in his impressively-loaded i-pod, turned down the lights, and helped Giovanni attend to what was obviously going to be a bigger crowd than they expected so early on a Presidents’ Day Monday (go figure!). I was busy trying to explain The Cake to Jay when Malvolio walked in. And Art (sans Barfly name, which we were hastily able to correct due to some quick and creative thinking) was suddenly strolling in the door. I have to admit, it was getting a bit much to introduce everyone by this time (maybe Scotty was right and we should have had name tags — then again, some of us did have identifying necklaces….)

Chica Cherry started having to take phone calls outside (hey, she has a lot going on right now), and Nora Charles decided it was time to serve The Cake (before the regulars who were wandering in tried to eat it, perhaps). Just as Chica Cherry bid The Hostess adieu, Nora Charles ran out of forks, and Sigerson snuck in. While Sigerson was sorry to have missed Chica Cherry, he and I could always share a fork, so we allowed the scrumptiousness of The Cake (which was shared, of course, with Jay an Giovanni) to console us about Chica Cherry’s early departure (which was really understandable — as she is less than halfway through her 40 Fun Things before she turns 40, and may need to be carried over the finish line, if she doesn’t schedule herself a bunch of spa days in between now and D-day…) Anyway, as we were all enjoying The Cake, and Ms Olive was demonstrating how she got her name by stuffing olives into her bottles of beer, and Sigerson was trying to explain his rather obscure (yet appropriately literary) Barfly name, and Malvolio was trying (not too hard, mind you) not to seem too smug that he actually knew where the name “Sigerson” came from, and Scotty was being apprised of Sigerson’s real name, and Giovanni was bringing out more pizzas, and I was buying Art another drink, and Jay was just trying to keep up with our drink orders without alienating his regulars, I’ll be damned if Batman himself didn’t show up — with another new Barfly, no less (hi, Ben For Now!).

It was like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo and Columbus Day all rolled into one for The Hostess. One year, 33 Bars, 9 Barflies — lots of whom had never met before — and me. Plus, there was The Cake. And I definitely danced with Art (in the absence of a pole) and maybe even had a spin or two with Sigerson (can’t say for sure as I was dazzled by his snazzy shirt as soon as he took off his jacket). We were having so much fun, no wonder the people in charge of the show (comedy?) that was fixin’ to start came over and informed us we would either have to stop telling jokes (that demonstrated the fact that only Batman and I have a truly sublime sense of humor) or take our party elsewhere…

Thank goodness Nora Charles didn’t invite us all over to her place, or I’m quite sure that’s where we’d all still be! Instead, we took what is destined to be the best Official Photo of all time, and went on our (mostly) separate ways. But that was for the best, because now The Hostess — at least — can’t wait to go back to Deluxe Club again. As I like to say, these days, “one has to leave before one can come back” (or something to that effect…)

Alright already, if you have read this far, either you are reeealllly interested in finding out what Deluxe Club is actually like, or you were there, and you wanted to read about how much fun I had with you. What follows is a description of Deluxe Club as it will most likely be when not more or less over taken by Barflies:

Deluxe Club is rather snazzy. Remember in the 1990’s, when there was that weird swing-dancing revival? Ritchie says that actually started at Deluxe Club. The place actually seems a little small for that sort of tossing dance-partners about, but who knows? Anyway, it’s got the ambiance of the sort of place where that could have happened. It’s certainly retro-tastic.

But I must confess, I think one of the best things about Deluxe Club is that it is clean enough — with enough of a respectable, if somewhat genteel and faded, veneer of respectability — that the procession of Haight Streeters marching past outside never even looks in door. Which means you can enjoy some drinks, some music, and maybe some pizza, without getting cancer from second-hand smoke, being hassled for change from fake hippies, or succumbing to the smell of patchouli-scented dreadlocks. In short: Deluxe Club is a haven in the Haight, and I hope to return to it soon. It was also a spectacular venue for Bars By The Book’s one year anniversary party, and may give Ace’s a run for it’s money in the end…(Jay? You need to have start selling t-shirts — I need something to wear next year!))

 

 

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.

 

The Barfly Forum Wednesday, Dec 27 2006 

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