At my old place near 17th and Valencia, I used to brag about how there were at least 12 different bars within *one* block. When I moved to Bernal heights, I knew that number was only headed in one direction.
Last night, when looking for a nearby bar, I realized there were actually only three in my immediate neighborhood. My first choice is probably the Wild Side West which has a nice back patio and garden and a pool table. Its also one of the best lesbian bars in the city, but they are non-lesbian friendly.
Then theres Charlies, which is modern and hip but cant seem to get its business off the ground. Its a great place if you dont mind seeing the same ten people there. Still, the owner tells me, they are developing a cool backroom and the place should take off soon.
Finally, there's Skip's Tavern which is usually described as a 'neighborhood blues bar'. The music is good but whenever I've gone there it has that feeling like a fight is about to break out in the next 10 minutes. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on your mood.
There's only two other bars worth noting on nearby Mission St. First is The Odeon which seems like a cool place but it also seems like its trying hard to be a cool place which, in the unforgivable calculus of cool, probably means its not. Still, I havent actually had a drink there.
Then there is The Argus which holds a place in my heart. The first time I walked in there (in the middle of the afternoon of course) there was only one guy there and he was reading a Shakespeare play as he downed his beer. I had noticed that the place had a whole stack of books against one wall and when you look closer you realize that they are all paperbacks of different shakespeare plays.
When I went back later (I had to return) I asked the bartender what that was all about. He told me that a bunch of guys (and girls) used to show up there every monday night and read shakespeare plays aloud, assigning roles, and getting drunker and drunker until all coherence, if there ever was any, was lost. Apparently, the group disbanded but left all its paperbacks, culled from used bookstores and yard sales, to the bar where patrons still leaf through them as they down their whiskeys or cheap beer.