A weekly jaunt from soberville to drunktown, checking out the bars of San Francisco along the way. As usual, it's barrespondent Drew comin' at ya with booze, beer and fun, and if you're not careful, you may learn something before it's done. Hey, hey, hey!!
How can you not love strolling through Chinatown every once in awhile? The crowds, the smells, the 'no one really eats that, do they?' items in the local groceries. It's truly great to have an immigrant district that not only captures the happy, touristy aspects of a foriegn culture, but also the frighteningly massive and alienating feeling of being lost and out of your element that you just can't get in Vegas or Epcot Center.
A lot of people wouldn't even think of Chinatown when it comes to finding a good bar, but ignore this neighborhood at your own 'waii m ho' (excuse the awful Cantonese). Sure, some places around here are pretty scary and you may want to think twice about going down any stairs until you're pretty sure what lies at the bottom,. But no risk, no reward as they say, so let's check out one place that's been a classic Chinatown dive for years.
The Buddha Bar, right in the thick of the whole mess on Grant and Washington is always a good time. A tiny little space with about enough room for 2 or 3 groups of people makes this place perfect for meeting up to begin a crawl around the rest of Chinatown or North Beach. Not that you're going to want to leave right away. The combination of the intimate space, the awesome bartenders and cheap drinks will have you questioning the need to roam around the outside world at all.
Just a few steps away from the Chinatown night market (think Blade Runner meets Embarcadero Station at rush hour), the Buddha is ideally located as a spot for a quick stop and rest as well as a place to get stuck into all night. The vaguely South Pacific decor of the place makes it feel more like a cool uncle's rec room than a dive bar, but make no mistake, after a few cheap bottles or generous shots, you won't mistake this place for anything but a classic San Francisco dive bar for long.
So every once in awhile, go down to Chinatown when you 'don't' have tourists in town. Just make sure to include a stop at the Buddha for luck.