History of bars in SF

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Does anyone have any good historical resources on the history of alcoholic drinking establishments in SF? It has always been viewed as a very....liquid City. Am curious to find facts and figures that either support or disprove that notion.

-- Bart Noir (bartnoir@yahoo.com), September 08, 2001


I do know that the present day "The Pub" at Masonic and Geary and "Cafe Du Nord" on Market off Castro were both speakeasies during the Prohibition.

-- Sue Trow (sf@seriouslysubrosa.com), September 29, 2001.

I share your interest in this subject, but, I have yet to find very many sources. Herbert Asbury's "Barbary Coast" is worth reading as is Clarence Edwords' "Bohemian San Francisco" and "The Annals of San Francisco" by Soule, et al. for the gold rush period. My own gut feeling is that San Franciscans have been heavier than average drinkers until recently. And there was a time when I helped contribute to that reputation. Drop me a line if you if you want to discuss the subject further and let us know if you find any good sources.

-- Don Martinich (dutchm@dcn.davis.ca.us), October 01, 2001.

Actually there is a book which I have read by John Henry Brown who was one of the first bartenders in San Francisco who then went on to set up his own establishment. There's also a book called "Men and Memories of San Francisco in 1850" which names a lot of the bars and their owners and that's about all it does.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy@my-deja.com*), October 28, 2001.

"The Saloon" on Grant and Colombus is the oldest bar in SF. All of the nearby Barbary Coast bars were destroyed in '06 and that particular stretch of Pacific (near Kearney) is full of upscale bars--all quite empty nowadays, I might add.

-- cdcummings (cdcummings@hotmail.com), December 12, 2001.

Doesn't seem to be. Following up an another's comment the "Gold Spike" in north beach was a speakeasy that was hidden as a candy shop. it's an Italian restaurant now. I looked into the kitchen area about 12 years ago and was able to find the speakeasy area.

The only Barbary Coast bar that looks the same as it was in the 1880s is the Hippodrome which is now in perfect condition on the 500 block of pacific avenue.

It is an architects office building or some such now.

-- Bill Williams (oceans1129@yahoo.com), January 04, 2003.

Dear Bart........I chanced upon your query when I was searching for an answer to my nine year old son's query that "Why a bar is called a bar, dad? what is the history behind bars?!" Though I haven't a clue about your question, could you help find an answer to my son's quiz? Thanks............Raju

-- Rajasekharan (raju_padmanabhan@yahoo.com), October 17, 2003.

Hi! I'm working on a project about the history of bars. First bars, interior design of bars,ect. Please send me material! Thanks!

-- filippa (tiwii@gmx.de), November 14, 2003.

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