Transcribing drunken gibberish into drunken bar review column for nearly ten months now, barrespondent Drew sets you up with another dank booze-hole to kill some time and/or brain cells within.
As rich as the drinking history is here in San Francisco, you just can't mess with the thousands of years of inhebriated past and vomit-stained tapestry that is British Isles bar history. From the Isle of Wight to Kirkwall, Scotland, many areas of the U.K. don't really have a 'pub culture' because that would be redundant. The Pub 'is' the culture and is far more efficient than any newspaper or town crier at filling people in on what's going on around town.
Unfortunately for us, here we have to make do with re-creations of Britian pub life. Most of these places are akin to their inspirations in name and decor only. Just another gimmick to get people in the door so they can order a Coors Light, play some Springsteen on the jukebox and get out. Lucky for us, however, there are quite a few places here that get it right and can give you that authentic foggy pub feel without the $600 plane ticket..
Edinburgh Castle on Geary in the Tenderloin represents Scotland quite well, thank you. Dark, woody and multi-leveled, it's got the feel of authenticity coursing through each and every square inch of it. Lots of dartboards and ample places to sit down with your mates may make this place somewhat depressing to come to by yourself, but a fantastic place to bring a group.
Filled to the ceiling with dusty bottles of scotch and sherry, The Castle's liquor and beer selections are top notch. You'll find all the standards here like John Courage and Newcastle, plus a few you might not have heard of. We've never had anything but a friendly bartender here, no matter how busy the place was.
Bands play the Castle on weekends, so take that into account or make sure it's someone you won't mind listening to. It's usually of the 'indie-rock' variety, but they occasionally throw on some more traditional Irish or Scottish acts as well. If you arrive later, the cover is almost always $6 or under, so don't worry about any sort of 'velvet rope' situation.
So if you're pining for a bit of Aberdeen in the middle of the 'Loin', get stuck into Edinburgh Castle. It's the cheapest and quickest way we know of to 'hop the pond' for the night.