Party Earth Review Frozen in a state of perpetual disorder, Specs’ 12 Adler Museum Café is a chaotically-themed little dive where North Beach’s historic Beat vibe lives on. With its ramshackle furniture and disorganized collection of city... ... read full review
12 William Saroyan Place
San Francisco, CA 94133
MUNI F Line: The Embarcadero & Broadway
M–F 4:30pm–2am, Sa–Su 5pm–2am
North Beach / Telegraph Hill, San Francisco –
Frozen in a state of perpetual disorder, Specs’ 12 Adler Museum Café is a chaotically-themed little dive where North Beach’s historic Beat vibe lives on.
With its ramshackle furniture and disorganized collection of city history, Specs’ is a bohemian paradise that’s worlds away from the porn peddlers and strip joints just up the street. A cigar-store Indian statue, an Egyptian mummy wearing glasses, and hundreds of newspaper clippings are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of décor, which also includes a collection of nautical memorabilia and animal bones in glass cases.
Even the regulars – comprised mostly of aging intellectuals and the old guard who make up the neighborhood’s hefty Italian population – probably discover something new each time they walk in, whether it’s the flags draped from the ceiling or the dried walrus testicles above the bar.
North Beach is a major weekend party scene, so come Friday the joint is always packed with a younger mob of hipsters, wannabe poets, and “hippies” born long after the 60s, but bartenders are known for swiftly booting anybody who gets too rowdy, and the boisterous conversation is more often centered around art or politics than pop culture.
A cross between a museum and a schizophrenic’s shopping spree, Specs’ 12 Adler Museum Café gives its creative patrons plenty to talk about.
Literary types, intellectual college kids, hipsters, former and current hippies, old North Beach Italians, and still-cool executive types up from the Financial District, early 20s to late 60s+.
A gruff older gentleman plunks down classic saloon tunes on the thrashed piano on many random nights, as well as most weekends. Playlist of mostly classic rock, folk, and tons of Billy Joel and Elton John.
Baskets of cheese and crackers. Cash only.
Cheese and crackers $5. Beer $3–$5, wine $5, shots and cocktails $5–$8.
Anything goes: black berets and turtlenecks to plaid lumberjack shirts and faded jeans.
Anytime to check out the ambiance, or late Fridays and Saturdays when Spec’s stays pretty chill as the rest of North Beach goes into full rager overdrive.
City Lights Bookstore (261 Columbus Avenue) is the epicenter of North Beach’s beat culture, and a must to round out any trip to the neighborhood.