A Toast to the Barbary Coast
This throwback cantina is a tip of the hat to the days when gunslingers took swigs of tarantula juice and dined on hearty pot pies. Comstock retained the century-old single-plank mahogany bar, along with the self-flushing spittoon trough… if only the panhandle had similar plumbing for the Bay to Breakers. Order up a Pisco Punch, San Francisco's Fernet-Branca of the late 1800's, which Rudyard Kipling described as being, “compounded of the shavings of cherubs’ wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset, and the fragments of lost epics by dead masters.” Or, in my words, “Barkeep, another round.”
For a bit more privacy, withdraw to the vintage couches and the gas fireplace in the parlor room. Looking up, you'll wonder how they were able to lift the ragtime piano into the mezzanine. Spoiler alert: Cherubs' wings.
What better time to share a story than over a drink at a saloon? See that bronze statue towering over the bar? Well, long before Frank Chu sashayed the streets, San Francisco was home to another eccentric dude suffering from delusions of grandeur: His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I, the Protector of Mexico. On occasion, Norton would issue his own ten dollar notes which became an accepted local currency. To allay the political partisanship, he abolished both the Republican and Democratic parties. And in 1872 he issued an edict to construct a suspension bridge or tunnel connecting Oakland to San Francisco. Oh, and anoyone who utters “the abominable word 'Frisco,' (which has no linguistic or other warrant) shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor.”
155 Columbus St.
Saloon Hours: Tues through Sunday; 2pm to 2am