I've been going out to bars in San Francisco for more than 20 years. I used to keep a list of every bar I went to. There were around 150 places on it when I quit keeping it. Of course, back in those days, I was going out 3 or 4 times a week, which I don't even come close to any more, but whatever. The point is, I think I have a pretty good handle on The Bars of San Francisco. If you name a place, I've probably either been there or at least have heard of it.
So I'm always surprised when I come across a place I've never even heard of. Especially in the Inner Richmond. I mean, I'm sure there are places in Portola or Ingleside or whatever that I've never heard of. But the IR is well-traveled ground, and it would be hard to hide a bar there, or so I thought.
I first passed this place on one of my perambulations around the new neighborhood and was immediately struck by the exterior because it looked like it was either time-traveled from 1955 or was built by set designers to look like one of those South Boston bars from "The Departed" or "Gone Baby Gone." Old, apparently hand-painted sign. Only small windows set well above eye level. Beer signs and Irish geegaws in the window. I had walked by it on a Wednesday night and it was definitely closed. I looked through the window and saw a pool table and that was about all I could see.
I was intrigued! What the hell! The place had a few Yelp reviews (mostly positive), but way less than other IR places. I was starting to think it had closed down.
So last Friday, The Wife and I went by there. The door was closed but the sign was lit up so we tried the door and what do you know, it was open. It was pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Smallish, lots of Irish stuff on the walls, that particular Old Bar Smell. The bartender was a matriarchal type from Ireland and as soon as she found out The Wife was from Ireland too we didn't pay for any drinks. I ended up leaving like $15 on the bar. I think she charged us for the first round and that was it.
All regulars, of course, except for a couple of people who straggled in to play pool. Pretty much your classic San Francisco Irish Dive.
If the place has been under the radar this long, far be for me to blow it up. I'm sure we'll be back there.
Have a good weekend, everybody! Look for me at the Cesar Chavez Day Parade tomorrow!