Monday, July 19, 2004

Last call

I've been a fan of singer/song writer Tom Waits for years- something about his gravelly sand paper voice and even grittier lyrics brought to mind smoky bars and old juke boxes- rundown hangouts- beer and a bump joints, not the shiny, strip mall bars with cowbells and train whistles-these places give me a worse headache than too much Bushmills.

I hung out for years in a place on the corner of Turk and Taylor in the city that was lifted right out of a Waits song- 21 club- my favorite bar in the bay area.

Frank, the owner has been a friend for years- since my first visit back in '83 or so-makes the strongest drinks in town- I lived in the e-bay most of my life, and worked in S.F. off and on over the years, so visits used to be pretty frequent.

This its the type of place that, if you are blessed to be wearing 2 shoes and still have control over most of your bodily functions, you're one up on most of the customers. But, instead of feeling sad, or even fearful of the other patrons, whenever I go into the place, I, oddly enough, get a warm, welcome feeling.

It's as if Frank is a guardian to the regulars- he looks out for them when it life pushed some of them to the curb. He becomes father, mother, nurse and rabbi.

Every so often I would take a buddy in on his first 21 club experience- always an interesting experience. The first reaction is usually reluctance- reluctance to enter- reluctance to drink- reluctance to make eye contact- reluctance to use the can. But without fail, the lasting impression is always the same- "Wow- what an interesting place".

Interesting- that's what it is-

If you are a Wait's fan, I think you would like this place- If you don't know Wait's and his words, take a listen to "Downtown", "$29.00" or "Small Change"- or better yet- the whole "Heart Attack and Vine" album- you'll get the idea of what Frank's 21 Club is all about.

Go to Turk and Taylor, come on in, say hey to frank, and beware of the 7 &7's- or as I call them, the 12 & 2's.

If none of this makes sense to you, well, have fun at Applebees.


Blogger wonderbread74 said...

Nice commercial for Frank's 21 Club. You forgot to say that it's a great place for old, drunk, gay guys to make the moves on ya'.

7/19/2004 9:08 AM  

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