Back when I was a kid, Blogs were called 'imaginary friends' and were only slightly more pathetic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I Quit... But Not Really

Threatening to stop doing a blog is a lot like threatening suicide. No one ever does it just to let you know, but only does it to see what kind of response it generates.

So let's just make one thing perfectly clear, I'm not threatening to stop blogging forever. My ego is far too large to permit me to give up the only chance outside of paying homeless guys to punch themselves in the face to have a platform for speaking to people I don't know.

But then again, I've always liked to pretend that I don't write anything for 'other people', only for myself. Like most pretentious shit-heads, I like to live under the ludicrous belief that I write everything for 'me' and that if anyone else reads it, so what. That kind of thinking, of course, is what gets you in trouble, especially if anyone actually reads the stank-ass bile that you wind up writing.

Such is the case with a Mr. Peter Coyote, husband of an unqualified, tactless, jealous skeeze (Good lord, I just don't know when to quit, do I?). Anyway, according to believable sources, Mr. Coyote is now on record saying he wants to kick my ass for what I wrote in this blog that, before it started making the rounds at the San Francisco Film Commission, was read by an average of 25 people per day.

Great, so for the mouth-watering reward of being heard by as many people a day as your average Modesto homeless person, I've now got a 'mortal enemy', just dying to accidentally run into me at party so he can sucker-punch me in the face (I'm sure this will only enrage Mr. Coyote further as he probably thinks he's famous, but honestly I've blocked most of Bitter Moon out of my memory).

So, rest assured, if you run into me and I've claimed to have 'given up blogging', it's just a bluff. I just want you to offer me bribes and shit to keep writing.

Here's hoping I get a car out of it.


Monday, December 19, 2005

In 2030 This Blog Will Mostly Discuss Liver Failure

Walking the fine line between Jimmy Carter sober and Billy Carter drunk, Barrespondent Drew keeps on keepin’ on, puts the hammer down and gets this convoy truckin’. After that, he asks himself why he felt the need to watch all of Smokey and The Bandit when it was on AMC the other day.

In the case of most businesses, the outside appearance can greatly assist you in figuring out what it’s like inside. For instance, if there’s blood smeared on the windows and green smoke coming out of the chimney, this might not be the best Chinese restaurant to take your parents to when they visit from out of town.

The same thing can certainly NOT be said about bars, however. We can think of at least a dozen places that look great from the outside but are awful inside, and there are just as many places that look miserable driving by and turn out to be one of our favorites once we darken their doorway.

Treat Street Cocktails on 24th and Treat never looked dangerous or anything the hundred and twenty times we walked or drove by it before finally going in. And it certainly didn’t look too snobby or anything. We always just assumed that it was one of those slightly unfriendly local dives with no real character and appealing only to people living within 2 blocks of it.

Boy were we wrong. Invitingly warm and hospitable, the bartenders and clientele here are some of the friendliest ever encountered. A couple of innocent comments on travel immediately got a fascinating conversation going between us and two regulars who were trading stories back and forth for the next hour. Far from being a depressing black hole for nearby residents, Treat Street Cocktails is the kind of place where you’re just as likely to run into someone who just hitch-hiked to Panama and back as you are someone who hasn’t left their usual stool in several years.

Booze selection here is admittedly on the average side, a few decent beer selections and the usual suspects of hard alcohol. There wasn’t anything playing on the jukebox when we were there, but a quick glance revealed some pretty decent selections.

So quit judging books by their covers and check out Treat Street. Your courage will most certainly be rewarded.

Liver… Out!!


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Responding To A Meme Only Two Months Late

Good lord I'm such a douche. The single worst thing you can do when the Gauntlet is dropped at your feet is to not even notice it.

Here's a challenge that was recently (November 1st) laid before my feet that I completely spaced on in true California style.

So as a matter of trying to make all things right with the universe by making the proper amends, here I go;

My 23rd post, from July 19th, 2004, just happens to be one of the most humiliating posts I've ever done. In this post, I make the very convincing argument that the Seattle Supersonics are the worst team in the NBA, just mere moments before they go on to have their best season in years.

The 5th sentence? "I'm sure the franchise does Ok, sells some tickets and makes a profit, but eventually they're going to run it right back into the ground it had to crawl itself out of in the early 90s."

At this point, I may 'suggest' several friends to continue this tag match, but it almost seems like finding a chain letter in the trash and keeping it going.

At the very least, I hope this protects me from horrible luck.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Time To Open The Floodgates On Year End Lists!!!

It’s about that time again (for the first time). Time to heap a whole year’s worth of praise on to several lucky and talented establishments that did us the kind service of getting us drunk. Yes indeed, ‘tis the season for recognizing the best of the best, the places that don’t settle for second place, that realize life is a marathon not a sprint, and any other clichéd ‘successories’ slogans you can think of. Crack-a-lack-a!! Barrespondent Drew here to give out some FISTies!!

Like the Grammys, we’ll start off with the ‘dud’ awards like ‘Best Polka Recording’ and charge ahead to the big award of the night, the ‘Best Tejano recording’ award, if you will. But enough jibber-jabber, Let’s Do Dis!!

Best After Work Burger and Smoke: Zeitgeist. You would think a jam-packed gravel lot under a freeway filled with tattooed bikers would make for a slightly horrifying dining experience. Amazingly, this place not only serves one hell of a burger, but is an extremely friendly environment. It may be a little chilly at the moment, but as soon as spring rolls around, look for this place to start filling up in the early evenings with hungry Hell’s Angels looking for good grub.

Best Neighborhood Bar: The 3300 Club. The Outer Mission, a seemingly ‘forgotten’ neighborhood when compared to the crazy bridge-and-tunnel weekend cram fest that is the Inner Mission and SOMA, is a really convenient little getaway for anyone who doesn’t equate a good time with how hard it is to get the bartender’s attention. The 3300 is a nice, friendly, comfortable and easy place to hang out in all night.

Best Place To Watch Sports: The Kilowatt. A good rule of thumb when looking for a good sports bar is to avoid any place that calls itself a sports bar. Generally speaking, it’s usually a last ditch attempt by a desperate owner to fool tourists into thinking that they’re the only place in town where someone might be showing the ‘Cincinnati-Pittsburgh’ game. Truth is, there are a lot of ‘hipster’ bars all over the city that have satellite dishes and throngs of cheering drunks. At the Kilowatt, Lions and Jets games seem to get priority on the HD flatscreen, but there’s more than enough other TVs in the place to catch whatever game you’re interested in.

Best Dive Bar: The Uptown. As other bars trend up and down all around it, this place remains one of the best seedy little joints on earth. Disgustingly dirty but surprisingly comfortable couches await in the corner, one of the city’s best jukeboxes pumps out the tunes, and a good game of pool can be had with just about anyone there most nights. Your friends from Marin might find it a little scary, but sometimes, that’s exactly what you want.

The ‘Vibe’ Award For Best Environment: The Phone Booth. Dark, red and oh-so-cozy, this place immediately puts the world weary drunk at ease. That and enough space to move around in without ever feeling empty makes this place feel like the rec-room of your coolest friend. Killing an evening here isn’t a chore at all, in fact it’s the kind of place that surprises you when last call arrives and all your pre-evening plans of going to other places have totally been shot to hell.

And now that you’ve sat through the technical awards and five musical numbers choreographed by Debbie Allen, it’s time for the big one.

Best Bar Of The Year: The Tempest. Not yet reviewed as we just recently discovered it, this hideaway down the street from the Chronicle offices on Natoma between 5th and 6th is drunkard heaven. An excellent crowd, ridiculously cheap drink specials (like draft Pabst and a shot of Jim Beam for $4), and loads of local flavor make this our new favorite spot. You ain’t gonna impress anyone taking them here, but if you’re looking for a nice, dingy spot to knock back a few and don’t want to blow your student loan payment doing it, this is the place for you.

So there it is, another year in the books. Here’s hoping next year is as hard to recall as this one was.



Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Power Of Booze Compels You!!

Full of more holiday cheer than Santa Claus after a weekend bender in Vegas, Barrespondent Drew returns with more reasons to put down that A-Team DVD your friends gave you for Christmas as a joke and head out to the local.

A huge mistake is made by people all over the place every single day. From the largest metropolis to the smallest little craphole in western New Mexico, people are constantly confusing what makes a good club with what makes a good bar. While this may seem like an innocent enough mistake to start with, when you realize that they are in fact the total opposite of each other, you can see what a fatal error it can be. I'll explain...

It all comes down to size. The bigger a club is the better. If you’re going to wait in line, spend ten bucks a drink and try out that dance you saw some spastic do in front of his webcam once, you’re going to want the place to be big, like airport hangar big. As any sane person who’s ever been to Nickie’s on Haight Street can tell you, getting your freak on with a hundred or so other drug-addled teenagers is generally a whole hell of a lot more tolerable when you’ve got, as Rachel Ray says, “Room to groove”.

But this here scrawl ain’t about clubs, it’s about bars, so if we’re all in agreement that when it comes to clubs, bigger is better, then the opposite must be true. And indeed it is. There’s nothing quite like the refreshing calm that overtakes you when you’re in a tiny little spot that also happens to have a big mountain of booze along one wall.

Dalva, on 16th between Valencia and Albion, is our favorite ‘tiny little spot’. Sure, it can become a little crowded on weekends from time to time, but for quite a bit of the week it’s just a nice little spot to stick yourself into for awhile. Probably about fifteen feet wide and possessing about 2 lightbulbs, it’s a great little bar stuck right in the middle of a neighborhood full of trendy hipster joints that seem to be constantly looking for a way to jam another 50 people into them.

Service is super friendly, drinks made with appropriate care, and the music selection, whether it’s from the ‘esoteric’ jukebox or played from behind the bar, is some of the best in the entire city.

So if you’re in the mood for somewhere ‘not so big’, give Dalva a shot. It’s not exactly 4 floors of kickin’ DJs, but sometimes, that’s a really good thing.

Liver… Out!!


Monday, December 05, 2005

G's Up Drinks Down

Relaxed from spending a week off of going to bars in order to spike the Thanksgiving gravy with enough bourbon to kill Dennis Hopper, Barrespondent Drew dives right back into the San Francisco bar scene just in time for the peak drinking season.

Alas, yet another old familiar bar has changed hands, been gutted of everything but the support beams and completely redone. Following in the footsteps of places like Doctor Bombay’s, The Albion and Hush Hush (which recently reopened as a place called ‘Hush Hush’), progress has claimed another victim, destroying more than a few memories in the process.

And while we probably should feel thankful we don’t live somewhere like New York, where it seems like old neighborhood bars are being turned into yuppie snobbitoriums faster than you can say, “Oh my God, did you see Desperate Housewives last night?”, it’s still a shame to see old familiar places get flushed into the sewer to make way for some happening new ‘singles’ bar where you’ll be lucky to find a drink that doesn’t require financing to afford.

So it’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to the Inner Richmond’s Pat O’Shea’s Mad Hatter. Well, maybe our hearts aren’t that heavy. To be completely honest, we were never huge fans of Pat O’Shea’s to begin with. It was always just a little too bright, a little too loud and a lot too ‘frat’. But if you were in the inner Richmond and needed a place to catch a game and didn’t want to incur the dirty looks you’d probably get at Ireland 32 or The Abbey, O’Shea’s was a pretty good bet.

Unfortunately, it seems as though The Mad Hatter had a pretty bad habit of serving people who were underage. We personally remember at least two times walking past it and stopping briefly to notice the sign on the door that they’d had their license suspended for a few days for slinging hooch to the kiddies. Our guess is that they ran out of second chances and that their closing was anything but voluntary.

Anyway, a fair fondue to O’Shea’s, and hello to…

The ALPHA Bar and Lounge, on 5th and Geary, is a complete top-to-bottom gut job. From stem to stern, you will not find one single reminder of the place this used to be. TVs? Gone, Pool Tables? Gone, Guys in backward baseball caps? Well, Yes, but they’re everywhere. If you had any love for The Mad Hatter, then don’t come here because it will depress you.

Calling itself ‘A lounge for the senses’, Alpha tries just a little too hard to appeal to a segment of the population that we just don’t think is going to be that easily fooled into thinking they’re suddenly in SOMA or a hotel bar at Union Square. We suppose people in the Richmond need an overdesigned, dimly lit meat market as much as anywhere, but to take it to this degree just seems like overkill.

Service at Alpha was actually really good. The bartender and waitress were both really nice and seem to have high hopes for the place. But given the price of the drinks, the somewhat oppressive atmosphere and the constant nagging knowledge that you’re in the Richmond (no offense, in fact it’s actually a compliment if you think about it), I’m not sure if we share their optimism.

So if stylish scenes, pick up lines and kiwi-watermelon infused cosmos are your thing but you’re tired of heading all the way downtown for the experience, then by all means check out Alpha. But, if like us, you’d just as soon drink Night Train in the Cala Foods parking lot than watch rich idiots engage in mating rituals, then you may want to give Alpha O’Shea’s a pass.



Thursday, December 01, 2005

There Is No Theory Of Evolution, Only Animals That Chuck Norris Allows To Live...

Speaking of music, here's a little ditty about Chuck Norris. My favorite line; "Chuck Norris once delivered a round-house kick so fast, that his foot went back in time and killed Amelia Earhardt."

Thanks to Bri-Bri "Jizz-bucket" Farrelly for the link.