Not much made it through the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, but this bar did. There is a great story behind ... More
Not much made it through the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, but this bar did. There is a great story behind that. Reportedly, local firemen (loyal customers) diverted water from other locations in order to save this place. Its customer loyalty is just as strong today. Founded in 1861, it has as much history as it does popularity. Come for live blues and all the charm of a tradition that is over a century old.
My new wife and I were at the tail end of our honeymoon in San Fran and we heard some great music eminating from a somewhat sketchy looking spot. We headed in for a beer. The band (Johnny Nitro and the Doorslammers) was incredible, and we had a great time. This was on Friday night.
On Sunday night, the last night of the trip, we were somewhat up in the air about what to do after dinner. We finally decided to stop in for "a beer" after dinner on our way back to the hotel. The same band was playing and to make a long story short, we ended up staying for hours and having a blast, drinking and dancing. We chatted with some other patrons and found out a little bit about the gistory of the place, of which we had no idea. Huck, the bartender, provided some great service and conversation and if we ever get back to S.F. we'll be definitely!
When I first stumbled upon the Saloon, I didn't know anything about the bar's history. Still, I knew it was special as soon as I opened the door. The place had this aura and antique mistique that automatically hooked me.
The people there were from all ages and backgrounds... and the blues band had a flavor that reminded me of the legendary stories you hear of an avant-gard generation of San Franciscans who've found their way into history books.
The place was so interesting, it basically inspired me to research about it online, and as a consequence leave my 2 cents here for anyone who's planning to visit.
The Saloon is the most authentic blues bar I've ever been in, maybe the most authentic bar...
My lady friend and I stayed around the corner, while visiting Frisco, stumbled into it pretty much by accident when we asked directions to another blues bar that she knew of.
While I didn't hear about the above mentioned rescue from the fire, or the trap door, The atmosphere had an aura of age and mystery... I did hear a wonderful more recent story. A movie crew removed the sign pole out in front, because it didn't look authentic. As it is pretty much down hill, a number of patrons had relied on the pole for balance when leaving the bar; apparently there were quite a few people who didn't notice that it was gone until it was too late, and fell flat on their faces. The pole has been replaced...
As mentioned above, the people were great. One of the regulars gave us some fudge that his daughter had sent him; my ladyfriend had a ball dancing with them (I'm a chair dancer, myself...), the barmaid was very beautiful, and friendly... What more could you ask for? Cheap drinks???
While we didn't eat there, we did drink quite a bit. It's basically pay as you go, no plastic accepted, so I don't know what the total bar tab was, but it was $3.50 for at least a double shot of Jim Beam (and I don't think the bar maid had any reason to treat me special).
The best part was the music. The band was one of the best blues bands I've ever heard. one of the most tasteful guitar players ever, bass, drums, and the lead was a harp playing singer. Due to the double shots, I'm afraid I don't remember any names, but when the band was introduced, they all had incredible resumes, touring and recording with some of the best known names in blues. NO COVER, they passed the hat. Of course we tipped them good...
I rate this a MUST DO for anybody who has patronized a bar, this is the real thing folks. If you're a blues fan, you'll stay all night...
When I first passed by it, I thought "eh.. no." Then we decided to be adventurous and walk in. It was the best bar we had been to all night! The music was amazing! It's so wonderful to experience live music and this bar is one of the greatest places to catch a great live act! If you love the Blues and love live music, YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS PLACE OUT!
My wife and I are from Wales (Cymru) in the UK, and we decided to visit SF for my 40th birthday. By pure accident, we came across the Saloon. It was truely, truely awesome. The best bar in the world (and we've been to many countries). The people were cool, and the music was superb. I especially recall a lady sax player who was a total genius playing on the bar (I think she's called Silvia) - a totally brilliant display. All I can say is that you simply have not lived until you've visited the sublime Saloon.
I can't wait to go again.
IG (the Welshman)
This place reminds me of my home town... Nothing but live music and memories!!!!!! Love The Saloon
By A Yahoo Contributor, 5/21/06
This place The Saloon is the best rock and roll bar I have been to since my childhood. I am from a very small town in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Music was and is a big part of the scene. Long live rock and roll.
This is a neighbourhood pub that swallowed us Canadians up into the friendliness and music....there were no strangers in this intimate club and the Publican/Barmaid was perfect *** Good drink *** great music *** friendly people!
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