1. How did you come up with this crazy scheme?
I try not to question genius, but if you must know, I think divine inspiration was probably involved.

2. Can I get e-mails about the next Bar date & time, etc.?
That depends on whether or not you can pal up to Paladin. He has a list of The Peripherally Interested to whom he e-mails “The Next Bar” details as they emerge. If you are nice to him (I suggest Dewar’s rocks), he will probably add you to this list. (Caveat: Paladin can really only be counted on to be disappointing these days, so rely on him for anything else at your own risk.)  I will send new Barflies a one-time-only courtesy welcome e-mail with the latest pending plans, but I can’t continue this level of individual inviting indefinitely. That is why I have this ridiculous blog in the first place. Blogs TELL YOU when there is something afoot. I am sparing you the egregious e-vite; I am politely refraining from junking-up your in-box with annoying mass-addressed messages. Furthermore, I am trying to teach you about the future of the Internet in the process, so you should be thanking me instead of bemoaning my bristling at the very suggestion that Bars By The Book be e-mail based.

If you really want to monitor Bars By The Book goings-on, the RSS option was designed for you. I know, it might seem scary, but I will walk you through it and hold your hand the whole time. I will come to your house and show you how it works, if necessary (just make sure you have vodka, in case convincing you that RSS is the future makes me thirsty). I will do whatever it takes. But if, when all is said and done (or you prefer not to begin at all with RSS) in the end, you decide to remain in the Dark Ages of e-mail notification, Paladin is your only recourse (Dewar’s, rocks — and a second round won’t hurt your case).

By the way, no matter how you are coming to read this, if you click on where it says “BARS BY THE BOOK” in the grey area at the right side of the top of this page, that takes you to the “home page” of this ridiculous blog. If you want to bookmark something (instead of embracing the wondrous world of RSS), that’s what you should save as a old-timey internet 1.0 “favorite”.

3. Why limit yourself to only those bars that are in the yellow pages under “Bars”?
While I realize that there are many fine establishments in our fair city that do have long counters where one can belly up and imbibe alcoholic beverages to one’s heart’s content, if these places do not consider themselves “bars”, I’m not inclined to quibble with them. Plus, a project of this scale needs parameters — a framework, if you will, like any good genre fiction.

4. Well, what about taverns, pubs, nightclubs, and cocktail lounges?
It’s called “Bars By The Book”. It’s not called “Tales of Taverns”, or “Pubs off the Page”. (Besides, if you look up “Taverns”, the Book says “See Bars” and there isn’t even a listing for “Pubs”, so those quests wouldn’t be very interesting, now would they?) And some of those Night Clubby places let teenagers in and don’t even serve drinks, so why on earth would I go there? As for Cocktail Lounges, well, that is actually interesting. There are 200 of them in The Book. Of those 200, only nine of them are also listed among the 130 Bars. (Feel free to tally this all up yourself, but that would be silly because I have done all the necessary research to spare you — you’re welcome.) Now, in the course of my extensive examination of the Book, it struck me that I would be missing out on quite a number of lovely libation locales, vodka venues, sazerac spots, etc. if I confined myself to the strangely noninclusive “Bars” heading in The Book. So, in the interests of completeness, I am pleased to announce that “Bars by the Book” will be followed immediately by the “Cocktail Lounge Codicil”, which — provided you keep in mind that “C” follows “B” after all — makes perfect sense given the particular parameters of this project. There is also an entire page, called Various Marginalia, where my exploits in establishments that are neither Bars nor Cocktail Lounges will be duly chronicled.

5. Why are you insisting on going to the bars in alphabetical order?
Well, why not? It’s called “Bars By The Book”, after all. You wouldn’t pick up a book and start reading it at some random point, would you?

6. Wouldn’t it be easier to go to a bunch of bars that are all near each other?
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. By which I mean that this is not a race. It’s an endurance challenge. Sure, we could go to ten Bars in a night and congratulate ourselves for making such a dent in the list, but would that really be as much fun? Not to mention the tremendous hangovers we would be sure to have if we were striving for quantity over quality. You really have to trust me that the alphabetical order thing is going to give this undertaking the veneer of orderliness it probably needs. Librarians have known this trick for centuries.

7. What if one of the bars is in <gasp!> Hunter’s Point?
What do you mean? I personally think that if a Bar lists itself in the yellow pages as such, that it is open for business to all the general public, my prissy Pac-Heights living self included. So, if it’s in The Book, I’m going. You are free to pick and choose only the tony taverns, but I’m going to have more fun.

8. You aren’t going to go to <yikes!> gay bars, are you?
What is the matter with you? Are you serious? You are aware that this is San Francisco, right? I recently spent a perfectly enjoyable evening in a gay bar called Cinch on Polk Street (see the “Various Marginalia” for a fuller description ). Sadly, this bar is not in The Book, so we will not be visiting it in an official capacity during the course of this adventure, but I recommend you check it out. And get over your homophobia — it’s really unbecoming.

9. Hey, why isn’t my favorite bar on the list?
See #2 and #3, above.

10. I went to one of the bars, on the appointed date, but you weren’t there anymore. How can I get Barfly credit for being there?
If you can prove to me that you were there, I’ll give you credit. Proof is something like a digital picture of you, identifiably in the Bar, holding up that day’s newspaper, for example. Or a dated receipt, signed by the bartender. It would be easier if you tried to come earlier next time.

11. Are you buying the drinks?
Are you crazy?