Likely to start throwing chairs if he hears the words ‘Virgin Pina Colada’, Barrespondent Drew continues his quest to find a bar so seedy and unscrupulous that they’d spike your kid’s Shirley Temple given half a chance.
Whether it’s because of a deep seeded and constantly flip-flopping jealousy or our subconscious desire to pigeonhole every person in the city into predefined little categories, we continue to hold on to the belief that San Francisco is a city divided between two major factions. Hipsters and Preppies, Artsy types and Opera types, Bikes and BMWs, Falafel and French Laundry. Like the Jets and the Sharks, these two groups wage a constant (and well choreographed) war for control.
Opinions vary on where the front line of this war is. Some think it’s the top of Twin Peaks, others the border of Chinatown and North Beach. A few believe that any inter-city bickering is pointless and that the true battle is between the entire city and the marauding hordes of effete snobbery directly north in Marin and south in San Mateo.
But since trenches haven’t been dug yet and businesses continue to operate right along each and every conflicted border in the city, there must be a bar that straddles both of these worlds, a place whose front entrance opens up on hipster slackerness while the rear deposits you in overpriced opulence. We believe we found such a place. Details after the jump.
The Nob Hill Tavern (formerly Rich's Sports Bar) on California and Hyde exists on the outer edges of The Tenderloin’s dingy credibility while at the same time butting up against Snob Hill, the Top of the Mark and a number of the city’s other shrines to the upper class. Perhaps more so than almost anywhere else in the city, here you will find both extremes of people in the Bay area, traveling as far as they’re willing to go into enemy territory.
The funny thing is, ask just about anyone inside The Nob Hill Tavern, and depending on who you’re talking to, it’s gone too far in one direction or the other. Either they’re not doing a good enough job keeping the riff-raff out or it’s just another sickening collection of backwards baseball hats and little black dresses that belongs on Union Street.
As a bar goes, The Nob isn’t that great. It’s not quite blanketed in enough televisions to be a top notch sports bar and is just a little too jock-infested to be a good place to hang out for any other reason. Service and selection are average at best, and unless you’re desperate for foosball or a crowded game of pool, there’s not a whole lot of reason to make a special trip here.
So if you want to see what a cultural no man’s land looks like, wedged in between the war of the classes, then by all means check out the Nob Hill Tavern. Just be careful of spies and turncoats who’ll try to pull you to the other side.