Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,812 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, August 25, 2013

#2064 - Tommy's Joynt, San Francisco - 2/25/2013

Walking down Geary at night and coming unexpectedly upon the psycho circus exterior of Tommy's Joynt felt like stepping into the pages of "Something Wicked This Way Comes."  But that feeling changed dramatically the instant I stepped into the comfortably cluttered interior. Tommy's is the first of the "hofbraus" -- the San Francisco area cafeteria style restaurants including Lefty O'Douls, the Chick-N-Coop, and Brennan's. During the day people line up to get hand-sliced meat dishes and sandwiches from no-nonsense workers who all give the impression of having worked here since it was founded in 1947. Opposite the meat counter there is an old bar that serves what is said to be San Francisco's largest selection of inexpensive beers (over 100 choices from 30 countries, mostly in bottles), as well as dive-style cocktails.

Tommy's was established here in the Fillmore neighborhood by local crooner Tommy Harris, and is still run by his relatives. The collection of oddball items and historical photos that cram the walls appear to mostly date back to the early days of the place. The food and drinks are both pretty basic, but this is one of my favorite places I visited on this bar-crammed tour of San Francisco.

1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109 - (415) 775-4216
Est. 1947
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: divefood - sfgate - hanging with harris (video) - food network (video) - sfweekly - yelp - citysearch

Sunday, August 18, 2013

#2063 - Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco - 2/25/2013

Few people interested in cocktail bars would need a description of Smuggler's Cove -- Martin Cate's celebration of rum and tiki bars past has been cited in various publications as the best bar in San Francisco and one of the best in the world. Stepping past the nondescript exterior into the dark, Disneyesque, tri-level, pirate cave inside instantly provides the kind of escape to another world that characterizes the best tiki bars.

You must try some of the house classics, but in addition to tiki originals, classic cocktails from famous old tiki bars, Caribbean Island drinks, and prohibition-era Cuban drinks, if you would like a break from the sweetness of tiki drinks, the bartenders know their stuff and can create something delicious with a few indications of your tastes (I had a tikified Sazerac with Falernum). If you are ambitious you can join the "Rumbustion Society" and drink your way through the huge list of fine rums. The "Tiki Central" crowd meets there on Tuesdays.

Smuggler's Cove is one of my favorite 2 or 3 tiki bars in the country.

650 Gough St  San Francisco, CA 94102 -  (415) 869-1900               
Est. Dec 8, 2009
Previous bars in this location: Jade Bar
Web site: - facebook
Best Reviews: critiki - foodography (video) - rumdood - alcademics - eater - thetikichick - sfweekly - tikiroom - sfexaminer - sfweekly - sfist - yahglobal - thrillist - esquire - yelp

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#2062 - The Avenue, Oakland - 2/24/2013

A nice, divey joint with touches of punk and skeleton themes, The Avenue sits nicely amidst cafes and art galleries that helped convert the grimey Temescal neighborhood in Oakland into "Oakland's answer to San Francisco's Mission District." (wsj)

4822 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 - (510) 654-1423
Est. 2007
Previous bars in this location: Connolly’s, The Bird Kage
Web site: facebook
Reviews: - insidebayarea - eastbayexpress - dailysecret - yelp

Sunday, August 04, 2013

#2061 - Trader Vic's, Emeryville, CA - 2/24/2013

The Emeryville Trader Vic's is considered the flagship of the chain, even though it moved here from its original location in 1972. After establishing Hinky Dink's, the "home of Frankenstein," with menus printed on cigar boxes, Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. visited Hollywood, took in the island flotsam themes of Don the Beachcombers and the Seven Seas, and along with Don, invented the tiki bar, converting his Oakland place to "Trader Vic's" in 1937. He began his expansion in the 40s, starting with The Outrigger in Seattle.

In '72, the original location moved a few miles north to the current location on the San Francisco Bay waterfront in Emeryville. It is large, seating nearly 400, with various dining rooms, and a patio bar area. Trader Vic's tends to get the most credit, among various disputants, for inventing the Mai Tai, and after a five-month remodel and menu revamp in 2010, the menu now includes their made-from-scratch 1944 version. I had never been to the pre-remodel version, but apparently it includes a few more tikis now (Bergeron is credited with introducing actual tikis to the common decor of polynesian restaurants).

The food and drinks are fairly good, but of course the reason to eat at Trader Vic's is to be at Trader Vic's. This one lives up to the expectations.

9 Anchor Dr, Emeryville, CA 94608 - (510) 653-3400         
Est. 1972
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: critiki - alcademics - ronniedelcarman - sfgate - coastalliving - eastbayexpress - mercurynews - yelp

Friday, August 02, 2013

#2060 - Heinold's First and Last Chance, Oakland - 2/24/2013

"All nations welcome except Carrie," reads a sign behind the bar. It's not common for the witticisms that pepper the walls of bars to include puns at the expense of people who died over a century ago, but Heinold's has been here since 1883. That's when Johnny Heinold purchased the building of old whaling ship timbers that had provided bunks for men working the oyster beds, and turned it into the J.M. Heinold Saloon. It survived both prohibition and the great earthquake of 1906, though the latter left damage to the pilings below that give the mahogany bar and wood floor a sharp tilt, and to a clock famously stopped at 5:18am, ever since that April morning.

The surname was eventually appended with "First and Last Chance" based not only on the navy men and other seafarers catching a last drink before going to sea, but also for the workers riding the old ferry between Oakland and the dry city of Alameda. The bar has hosted President Taft, Ambrose Bierce, Erskine Caldwell, and, most famously, Jack London, who once sat reading the dictionary at the table by the door, before featuring the bar in his novel John Barleycorn, and compiling notes used for The Sea Wolf and Call of the Wild. Now London's Klondike cabin sits nearby the old wood bar, both surrounded by the bright, neat, and touristy Jack London Square, like two neanderthal scenes in a modern museum.

Despite the preciousness of the setting, Heinold's feels reasonably intimate and relaxed inside on this day, aware of its history certainly, but feeling enough like a neighborhood bar that one doesn't feel like you're taking your turn in a Disney exhibit. The drinks are limited to a small but reasonable selection of beers and standard spirits -- you wouldn't want anything more at a classic like this. The limited ceiling and wall spaces are crammed with memorabilia, along with the stove-blackened dollar bills and business cards of various generations of men heading off to sea and/or to military service. The original potbellied stove remains the only source of heat, and it is the last commercial building in California retaining original gas lighting. It would, of course, be a grave sin to move the bar from its historic location and cherished uneven pilings, but it is pleasing for me to imagine trundling into this place some dark evening through several inches of snow.

Jack London Square, 48 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607 - (510) 839-6761
Est. 1883 - Building constructed: 1880
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: - facebook
Best articles: johnny heinhold - wikipedia - atlasobscura - thepioneeronline - beeradvocate - palladiumboots - cocktailia - yelp

Thursday, August 01, 2013

#2059 - The Pub, Albany, CA - 2/24/2013

Formerly Schmidt's Pub, now just "The Pub," this place is both super quiet and conducive to discussion. It can be like that thanks to the various rooms and outdoor spaces, as there appears to have been minimal remodeling from when this was someone's home. They have a few nice beers but the vibe is much more that of a coffee house than a bar, with customers buried in books, laptops, and chess games.

1492 Solano Ave Albany, CA 94706 - (510) 525-1900
Est. 1980 (as Schmidt's)
Previous bars in this location: Schmidt's Pub
Web site: schmidtspub.comfacebook
Reviews: patch - janabouc - yelp