The Saloon

There are dive bars, and then there are dive bars with a century and a half of history behind them. The Saloon is one such place, having been in continuous operation since opening in 1861. Based on the look (and smell) of the joint, not much has changed since. Everything about the dark, dingy space evokes an era of hard-living regulars; the Gold Rush may be over, but the crusty clientele remain. Still, The Saloon is the place for a cold one (plus something strong, straight and brown). Its staying power is definitely a part of the appeal; it survived the Big One in 1906, after all, and because, legend has it, the firefighters wanted to protect the working girls upstairs.

Known For
  • historic
  • live music
What to drink
Cheap beer, straight whiskey, or a combination of the two.
Telegraph Hill
This bar isn’t banking on history alone; it’s one of the best places in town to catch raw, rocking live blues music every day of the week.