Comstock Saloon – established in 2010 in the flavor of a century or more before – is one of our favorite bars in San Francisco. It provides for all our needs: culinary, cocktailian, and musical.
The interior is 1890s-y without being pushy about it. Our favorite element, of course, is the statue of notable local Emperor Norton presiding over the bar. This establishment is a major improvement over the space’s former inhabitant, the San Francisco Brewing Company (which served acceptable beer but always seemed to smell like cleaning fluid). The bar pleases from any seat, whether in a booth or perched on one of the fiercely-footed stools. The dining room provides delightful views of both the lively menagerie of North Beach and the frequently meaty goings on in the kitchen. The bar does have the advantage, however, of greater proximity to the consistently excellent musicians in the second-floor gallery.
The food is unusually good for a place that could be so deservedly known for its drinks. We usually get the picnic plate and a pot pie. (As our Foursquare tip says: “The pot pie, Sir. The pot pie.”) But we’ve yet to find anything on the menu that isn’t good. Particularly notable is the Pig in a Biscuit, which is (and we mean this as a very, very positive thing) like a McDonald’s Sausage Biscuit with a master’s degree.
The drinks would really have to try hard to rebel against the positive influence of their parents, saloon keepers Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin. Mercifully they are obedient, strong, beautifully-mannered children who would make anyone proud. Unlike most children, they frequently arrive in lovely antique glasses.
We have not noticed a decline in the quality of drinks since Jonny removed his moustaches. We will, however, continue sampling vigilantly.