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Mapping the Long-Lost Saloons of San Francisco

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It's Cocktail Week over at our sister site Eater SF, which is a good excuse as any to hit the bar (or 11). San Francisco has been a drinking town since its earliest days, and we have a soft spot for the many long-lost saloons, speakeasies, and roadhouses where our forebears caroused, drowned their sorrows, and, in the case of Warner's Cobweb Saloon, got blitzed while monkeys ran circles around the bar. From the raucous Barbary Coast to watering holes way out on the west side, here now is a map of the vanished drinking establishments where our betters got totally blotto.


· Take a Load Off at the Hotel Cairns Roadhouse [Curbed SF]
· Then & Now: The Casino Roadhouse [Curbed SF]
· Have a Good Time at the Hippodrome on "Terrific Street" [Curbed SF]
· Set Sail at the Road to Mandalay in West Portal [Curbed SF]
· Dream of a Hot Toddy at Warner's Cobweb Saloon [Curbed SF]

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1. Hotel Cairns

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6000 Fulton St
San Francisco, CA 94121

The 50-room Hotel Cairns at 36th and Fulton opened in 1907 as a high-class hotel on the (then) far outskirts of town. Originally constructed in 1896, the building was redesigned by Armitage & Rowell, and was heralded in newspapers as one of the classiest joints in the country. The popularity of automobiles soon made the hotel far more accessible than Cairns imagined, and it quickly turned into a rowdy roadhouse.

2. Casino Roadhouse

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4824 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94121

Originally opened in the middle of Golden Gate Park near the Conservatory of Flowers in 1882, the Casino Roadhouse instantly got a bad reputation for spoiling the virtues of the park by inciting people to drink. Though successful, it closed for a few years and served as a small museum and park offices. By 1896, the building was relocated to Fulton between 24th and 25th avenues as a roadhouse—outside the boundaries of the park in an area uninhabited enough that the patrons could be as loud as they wanted.

3. Hippodrome

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555 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

The Barbary Coast has a raucous history, full of saloons, brothels, and shanghaiing. When the Barbary Coast was essentially shut down in 1917, the Hippodrome remained, along with its plaster casts of, uh, very friendly nymphs and satyrs.

4. Silver Slipper

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621 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

During Prohibition, hundreds of speakeasies cropped up throughout the city. Saloons were converted to old-fashioned soda fountains, where patrons kept right on secretly swilling booze in back rooms. In 1930, Prohibition agents raided the Silver Slipper Café. In lackadaisical SF fashion, none of the patrons were arrested, but the alcohol was seized.

5. Ford & Holje Old Saloon

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1610 Jerrold Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124

John J. Ford and Emil Holje opened a saloon in what is today the Bayview, catering to the workers who lived in the area—immigrants working at shipyards, tanneries, bakeries, butchers, and more.

6. Warner's Cobweb Saloon

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2161 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

Gold Rush San Francisco was a dirty, dusty town, and no place personified that better than Warner's Cobweb Saloon. Literally covered with curtains of cobwebs hanging from the rafters, the saloon, run by eccentric Abe Warner, was filled with oddities from around the world, along with a menagerie of animals that ran free around the bar.

7. Duffy's Bar

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3587 Baker Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

Duffy's Bar was formerly located at the corner of Beach and Baker streets. It was torn down around 1915 to make way for the Panama Pacific International Exposition. In its place went a little something called the Palace of Fine Arts.

8. Turf Concert Hall

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490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
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The area of Jackson Square, now full of law offices and antiques stores, was once the red light district. The Turf Concert Hall reached infamy on Christmas Day, 1909, when it became the scene of a murder. Today it's occupied by the very popular and critically acclaimed Cotogna restaurant.

9. Road to Mandalay cocktail lounge

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45 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127

The Road to Mandalay was a West Portal cocktail lounge that operated from 1940 to 1961. Designed to feel like a luxury liner salon, this is definitely 1940s kitsch at its peak. Inside, the nautical theme continued, with ship wares decorating the place. The exterior featured iron rails and ladders, portholes through double doors, and even a uniformed steward to open the door for you. It stayed in business until 1961.

10. Cliff House

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1090 Point Lobos Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-3330
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For almost 150 years, the Cliff House has sat upon the precarious cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Originally built in 1863, it eventually became a favorite spot for frequenters of the Barbary Coast, and became infamous for "scandalous behavior." Adolph Sutro bought it in 1881 with hopes of turning it back into a family place, but the original building burned down in 1894.

11. George Mayes Oyster Saloon & Chophouse

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1233 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Founded in 1867 by George Mayes, the restaurant had a very different past, including a separate entrance to the bar before ladies were allowed, a speakeasy downstairs, and rooms upstairs for, uh, working girls. Mayes' son transformed it into an Italian seafood joint, and since then a few other eateries have been housed in the space.

1. Hotel Cairns

6000 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94121

The 50-room Hotel Cairns at 36th and Fulton opened in 1907 as a high-class hotel on the (then) far outskirts of town. Originally constructed in 1896, the building was redesigned by Armitage & Rowell, and was heralded in newspapers as one of the classiest joints in the country. The popularity of automobiles soon made the hotel far more accessible than Cairns imagined, and it quickly turned into a rowdy roadhouse.

6000 Fulton St
San Francisco, CA 94121

2. Casino Roadhouse

4824 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94121

Originally opened in the middle of Golden Gate Park near the Conservatory of Flowers in 1882, the Casino Roadhouse instantly got a bad reputation for spoiling the virtues of the park by inciting people to drink. Though successful, it closed for a few years and served as a small museum and park offices. By 1896, the building was relocated to Fulton between 24th and 25th avenues as a roadhouse—outside the boundaries of the park in an area uninhabited enough that the patrons could be as loud as they wanted.

4824 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94121

3. Hippodrome

555 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

The Barbary Coast has a raucous history, full of saloons, brothels, and shanghaiing. When the Barbary Coast was essentially shut down in 1917, the Hippodrome remained, along with its plaster casts of, uh, very friendly nymphs and satyrs.

555 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Silver Slipper

621 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

During Prohibition, hundreds of speakeasies cropped up throughout the city. Saloons were converted to old-fashioned soda fountains, where patrons kept right on secretly swilling booze in back rooms. In 1930, Prohibition agents raided the Silver Slipper Café. In lackadaisical SF fashion, none of the patrons were arrested, but the alcohol was seized.

621 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

5. Ford & Holje Old Saloon

1610 Jerrold Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124

John J. Ford and Emil Holje opened a saloon in what is today the Bayview, catering to the workers who lived in the area—immigrants working at shipyards, tanneries, bakeries, butchers, and more.

1610 Jerrold Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124

6. Warner's Cobweb Saloon

2161 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Gold Rush San Francisco was a dirty, dusty town, and no place personified that better than Warner's Cobweb Saloon. Literally covered with curtains of cobwebs hanging from the rafters, the saloon, run by eccentric Abe Warner, was filled with oddities from around the world, along with a menagerie of animals that ran free around the bar.

2161 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

7. Duffy's Bar

3587 Baker Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

Duffy's Bar was formerly located at the corner of Beach and Baker streets. It was torn down around 1915 to make way for the Panama Pacific International Exposition. In its place went a little something called the Palace of Fine Arts.

3587 Baker Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

8. Turf Concert Hall

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

The area of Jackson Square, now full of law offices and antiques stores, was once the red light district. The Turf Concert Hall reached infamy on Christmas Day, 1909, when it became the scene of a murder. Today it's occupied by the very popular and critically acclaimed Cotogna restaurant.

490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

9. Road to Mandalay cocktail lounge

45 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127

The Road to Mandalay was a West Portal cocktail lounge that operated from 1940 to 1961. Designed to feel like a luxury liner salon, this is definitely 1940s kitsch at its peak. Inside, the nautical theme continued, with ship wares decorating the place. The exterior featured iron rails and ladders, portholes through double doors, and even a uniformed steward to open the door for you. It stayed in business until 1961.

45 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127

10. Cliff House

1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

For almost 150 years, the Cliff House has sat upon the precarious cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Originally built in 1863, it eventually became a favorite spot for frequenters of the Barbary Coast, and became infamous for "scandalous behavior." Adolph Sutro bought it in 1881 with hopes of turning it back into a family place, but the original building burned down in 1894.

1090 Point Lobos Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

11. George Mayes Oyster Saloon & Chophouse

1233 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Founded in 1867 by George Mayes, the restaurant had a very different past, including a separate entrance to the bar before ladies were allowed, a speakeasy downstairs, and rooms upstairs for, uh, working girls. Mayes' son transformed it into an Italian seafood joint, and since then a few other eateries have been housed in the space.

1233 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109