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Jun 12, 2013 06:17 PM

San Francisco’s Legacy Bars and Restaurants

An article at SFeater brought to my attention a list maintained by The Foundation for San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage called "San Francisco’s Legacy Bars and Restaurants."

The quality of many of these places hasn't necessarily been sustained, but it's cool to see a list of older places and when they were established. I've reordered the list chronologically, but note that lots of these places have moved, burned down and been rebuilt, or changed focus over the years, so the date's listed are iffy.

1849, Old Ship Saloon
1849, Tadich Grill
1858, Elixir
1861, Old Clam House
1861, The Saloon
1863, Cliff House
1867, Bourbon & Branch (previously JJ Russell’s Cigar Shop & The Ipswitch
)1867, Sam’s Grill
1871, Anchor Steam Brewery
1882, North Star Café
1886, Fior d’Italia
1890s, Little Shamrock
1891, Shotwells
1893, Schroeder’s
1900, Bus Stop Bar
1902, The Homestead
1904, Oak Room
1906, Benkyodo Company
1907, Café Du Nord
1907, Comstock Saloon (formerly SF Brewing Company)
1907, Great American Music Hall
1907, Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar
1907, Savoy Tivoli
1908, House of Shields
1908, Hotel Utah Saloon
1908, Irish Bank Bar
1908, John’s Grill
1909, Double Play
1909, Garden Court
1909, The Pied Piper Bar and Grill
1909, Uptown
1910, Gangway Bar
1911, Liguria Bakery
1912, Java House Restaurant
1912, Red’s Java House
1912, Swan Oyster Depot
1912 (currently closed), Dogpatch Saloon
1912 (currently closed), Sam Wo
1913, Balboa Café
1916, Buena Vista Café
1916, Castagnola’s
1916, Hi Dive
1918, St. Francis Fountain
1919, Roosevelt Tamale Parlor
1920, Far East Café
1920, Hang Ah Tea Room
1920, Tosca
1920s, Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café
1924, Casa Sanchez
1925, Alioto’s
1927, Grubstake
1927, Sabella & La Torre
1928, Alfred’s Steak House
1928, Eagle Café
1929, Lucca Delicatessen
1930s, La Rocca’s Corner
1931, Bimbo’s 365 Club
1933, Redwood Room
1933, Tony Nik’s
1934, The Horseshoe Tavern
1935, Fisherman’s Grotto
1935, Harrington’s Bar and Grill
1935, It’s Tops Coffee Shop
1935, Tommaso’s
1936, Columbus Café
1937, Li Po Cocktail Lounge
1937, Original Joe’s
1937, Pier 23 Café
1938, Sear’s Fine Food
1939, Top of the Mark
1939, Trad’r Sam
1940s, El Toreador
1942, Aub Zam Zam
1942, Gino & Carlo
1945, Tonga Room
1946, Tarantino’s Restaurant
1947, Ha-Ra Club
1947, Tommy’s Joynt
1948, Swensen’s Grill & Ice Cream
1948, Vesuvio Café
1949, House of Prime Rib
1950, St. Mary’s Pub
1950, The Ramp
1950s, Art’s Café
1950s, Bruno’s
1950s, Fleur De Lys
1951, La Victoria Bakery
1951, The Doctor’s Lounge
1952 (currently closed), La Rondalla
1953, Mitchell’s Ice Cream
1954, Guerra’s Quality Meats
1955, Whiz Burger
1956, Caffe Trieste
1957, SB40 (Carmen’s)
1958, Lefty O’Doul’s
1959, Murio’s Trophy Room
1959, Sam Jordan’s Bar and Grill
1959, Seal Rock Inn
1960, Philosopher’s Club
1960s, Beep’s Burgers
1960s, Edinburgh Castle Pub
1962, Dianda’s Italian American Pastry
1962, Wild Side West
1963, Capp’s Corner
1964, Ghiradelli Square
1965, Empress of China
1965, Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant
1965, Scoma’s
1965, Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant
1966, Sam’s Pizza and Burgers
1967, Big Four Restaurant
1967, Don Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant
1967, Gold Dust Lounge
1967, Manor Coffee Shop
1967, Mr Bing's
1968, Cordon Bleu Vietnamese Restaurant
1968, Sausage Factory
1968, Spec’s Twelve Adler Museum Café
1969, Café Sport
1969, Gold Mirror
1969, Kezar Pub
1969, Perry’s
before 1970, Bill’s Place
before 1970, Terry’s Lodge
1970, Silver Crest Donut Shop
1970s, Original US Restaurant
1971, Thanh Long
1972, La Cumbre Taqueria
1972, The Royal Exchange
1972, Twin Peaks Tavern
1973, Café Flore
1973, Frank’s 21 Club
1973, Liverpool Lil’s
1973, The End Up

A thread about recommended places that are old can be found at:

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  1. Here's a decade and frequency table. I wonder why the jump in the 1900s? ;-)

    1840s 2
    1850s 1
    1860s 5
    1870s 1
    1880s 2
    1890s 3
    1900s 17
    1910s 13
    1920s 11
    1930s 16
    1940s 10
    1950s 17
    1960s 24
    1970-1973 12

    4 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      I would guess the jump in the 1900s had to do with better construction after the 1906 earthquake?

      Very cool list, thanks for posting this.

      1. re: pamf

        A lot of those places burned down in the 1906 quake and in some cases relocated. Many of them have years-long gaps in their continuity.

        For example, Anchor Steam wasn't named that until 1896, burned down and relocated in 1906, closed during Prohibition, burned down and relocated again in 1933, went out of business in 1959, was purchased and reopened in 1960, and was going out of business again when Fritz Maytag bought it in 1965. I don't think they made any beer until the new brewery opened in 1971, and the beer they've made since then doesn't really have anything to do with what the previous incarnations made. And they moved again in 1977.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Not sure about North Star, Little Shamrock, Bus Stop, or the Homestead, but the following are not at their original pre-earthquake locations or were destroyed and rebuilt after it: Old Ship, Tadich, Elixir, Cliff House, Sam's Grill, Fior d'Italia, Shroeder's, Benkyodo (not sure if this was built before the earthquake, but not original location owing to Japenese internments)

          Old Clam House was recently renovated but survived the earthquake. The Saloon, Shotwells, and the Oak Room are also survivors. My enthusiasm for a pre-Earthquake pub crawl is dwindling ...

          1. re: hyperbowler

            The Old Clam House is one of a number of old places that were originally stagecoach stops. Others include 7 Mile House in Brisbane, Alpine Inn in Portola Valley, Stags' Leap Winery in Napa, and Rancho Nicasio.

    2. Didn't Whiz Burger open in the late 70s and was a branch of a Texas chain, or relocated from Texas? I remember some buzz about the place.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        It certainly looks like it's out of the 50s. I need to try a shake there sometime. Are you confusing it with Texas chain Whataburger?

        1. re: hyperbowler

          No, the buzz was in the local papers, I don't know anything about Texas. Maybe the story was that it had been closed and some people from Texas reopened it.

      2. anyone know if the endup is the oldest still active dance club in SF?

        1. Seem to recall another thread about this list before ... the second round is much improved...

          But what exactly are they listing? If it's just a list of places 40 years or older, then why the social media voting?

          No See's or Shaw's?
          Trieste the only old coffee place?
          Villa Romano, Gaspares, Giorgios, Victors, etc.?
          Tommy's and Don Ramon's but no Celia's?

          I get the feeling this is being compiled be recent transplants.

          8 Replies
          1. re: sugartoof

            Since they're listing new items each round, it's just a matter of time before all the 50+ years old places make it on. I would guess the only reason for not listing every one in SF is that it takes time to write the blurbs.

            They stipulate that architecture has to play a role, but I think their adherence is pretty arbitrary. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about Dianda's, for example.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              Right, but it still seems like there's a better methodology.

              The list of omissions is staggering, to the point where it's counter intuitive to their mission statement.

              Boudin isn't even on there.

              1. re: sugartoof

                It's a work in progress. The first iteration had 25, this one has 134 plus 13 more that will be added after their 40th anniversaries.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Boudin. They left Boudin off.

                  Cafe Flore is more important?

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    I suppose Boudin's remaining properties have no architectural significance. The bakery's a crappy dump of a building.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Plenty of dumpy buildings on that list.

                      I'd also argue that Boudin represents a certain era in factory architecture.

            2. re: sugartoof

              "In order to be eligible for selection, businesses must have achieved sustained operation of forty years or more, feature distinctive architecture or interior design, and contribute to the cultural heritage of the surrounding neighborhood or the city."

              See's is from Los Angeles.

              Gaspare's dates back only to 1985.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I'd have no problem including See's or any other old timer.

                The list of omissions is shameful though.

            3. Probably the gap could be during the rebuilding period after the 1906 earth quake and fire?