Getting the chance to explore a city, and experience places I would not have experienced of my own accord. Being taken out of my comfort zone is a huge pro, and whether I’m in a speakeasy or a ghetto bar, getting the chance to chat with bartenders, regulars, and just plain randomers makes each experience that much more memorable. Not to mention that free drinks and good contacts are aplenty.
When reviewing Comstock Saloon on a Monday night in August, I honestly didn’t expect there to be too much of a scene; however, I didn’t know Comstock. Upon arriving, I was surprised to see hordes of people lining up to be seated or trying to get the bartenders’ attention, so I considered coming back another time. Instead, squeezing through the crowd, I grabbed hold of Ethan Terry, a bartender who was more than happy to talk with me. The following night I went to Tradition, a speakeasy-ish bar, and Ethan happened to be bartending there too. After some friendly chitchat, he ended up letting me in on some little secrets about the best speakeasies and how to get in, as well as some free drinks, of course. “The job has its perks” would be an understatement!
I would say I am most like Jonah, as my ideal night is spent in an underground scene with live music. However, I do see a streak of Emma in me – a good night of karaoke or drinks in an unpretentious bar is right up my alley.
I would start by walking from 24th Street & Mission, along Valencia to Dolores Park, slipping into bookshops and galleries along the way. I’d spend the day on the grass with a book, then grab lunch in a cozy café nearby. In the afternoon I’d hop a bus to Haight, and check out vintage and bric-a-brac stores; then later in the evening, I would have dinner with friends in Beretta. A stop by El Rio or Blind Cat for a few drinks would follow, then on to a lively bar or club with a DJ.