Who the fuck IS alice?
May 27, 2006 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I need a good Irish bar in San Francisco. The kind where there's lots of drunken singing of faux-Irish songs.

I'm trying to replace the hole left by being 3000 miles from Murphy's Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria, VA. Every night (seemingly) there would be hearfelt singalongs by scores of drunkards of these songs and others like them: the Unicorn song, Living Next Door to Alice (Who the Fuck is Alice), Charley on the MTA, Drunken Sailor, etc.

Essential elements:
1. In San Francisco so I don't have to pay a fortune/risk my life/take forever getting home
2. Irish
3. Drunken singing as described above, including audience participation
4. General friendly atmosphere

If you can name the perfect place, I will buy you a pint of Guinness!
posted by jewzilla to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is a great question, I hope there are some good responses.

I may join you!

♫ Ohhhhh, whiskey, you're the devil, you're leading me astray! ♪
posted by symphonik at 3:54 PM on May 27, 2006

Not exactly what you're looking for, but Kennedy's scratches the itch for Irish Pub/ Indian food. Pitchers of Guinness and Samosas. Mmmmm.
posted by vaportrail at 4:03 PM on May 27, 2006

Shannon Arms, Cassidy's, The Bitter End, Finnegan's Wake, Plough and Stars .. take your pick, that's the beginning.
posted by kcm at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2006

O'Farrell Street Bar is/was staffed by beautiful Irish women. No singing that I know of though. Lots of buying rounds from patrons and fiesty attitudes from bartenders. Good stuff.

I'm with Symphonik, this may qualify for a mefi meetup.
posted by vaportrail at 4:16 PM on May 27, 2006

Plough and Stars seems like the most promising so far...but is it real Irish music or the fake American "Irish" music that I like? The artists they link to from their calendar didn't have any of the songs I know listed on their sites, but I'm sure they'd rather advertise their original work.
posted by jewzilla at 5:08 PM on May 27, 2006

I celebrated new year's eve at an Irish bar somewhere near the Tenderloin back in 1997 or so, but I don't recall the name. A friend of a friend lived above it and we went in before heading out to dinner and I remember it was a lot like bars I'd see on TV with people buying the whole place a round, and everyone singing silly irish drinking songs. I've never been in a place like it since.

All I recall years later is that it was on a corner and I can't believe I had fun in the Tenderloin. I sort of avoided that part of town the years I lived in SF.
posted by mathowie at 5:14 PM on May 27, 2006

Durty Nelly's, 2328 Irving. Friends go there for the bands on weekends, and Irish breakfast in the morning.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:31 PM on May 27, 2006

mathowie, are you talking about Lefty O'Doul's on Geary St? They do a lot of singing there (there's a piano).
posted by gt2 at 5:53 PM on May 27, 2006

All I know is, one fine morning, after a full night out, I was wandering down Haight St at around 7am. After dodging a few hippies (one of whom double-dared us to smoke a bowl with him), we turned left at the end of Haight by the park (down where Amoeba is), walked up one or two blocks, and entered a very authentic Irish bar. As in, it was packed, at 7am on a Sunday morning, with people avidly watching field hockey. I don't know if it still exists, I don't know what it's called, but if it does, I highly recommend it.

I don't think it was 'special' field hockey, like a World Cup or anything, either. I think it was just mid-season stuff.
posted by dvdgee at 6:07 PM on May 27, 2006

Plough and Stars

I never went for Irish music, but I really liked the Plough and Stars. My friend had a little blues band that would play there every once in a while (which is probably why I never saw an Irish band there) and it was always a great time. Friendly crowd and friendly bartenders. They poured the best pint of Guinness I ever had in SF.
posted by mullacc at 6:08 PM on May 27, 2006

Oh yeah. Geary. Tenderloin. That's the one, I think. Sorry, I don't know SF all that well.
posted by dvdgee at 6:09 PM on May 27, 2006

also, Abbey Tavern is on Geary St., out near Sixth or something, but I don't remember much singing; just a lot of drinking.
posted by gt2 at 6:34 PM on May 27, 2006

at the end of Haight by the park (down where Amoeba is), walked up one or two blocks, and entered a very authentic Irish bar.

The Kezar Pub. They organized some kind of a wacky road trip so their regulars could better view the World Cup.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:35 PM on May 27, 2006

I'm from Ireland and when I lived in the Bay we used to hang out at the Mad Dog in The Fog on Haight. There is a chain-y type place called Molly Malones up by North Beach someplace that I've heard gets good bands in but I've never been there.
posted by fshgrl at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2006

O'Reilly's on Green Street.
posted by oflinkey at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2006

Sounds like fshgrl probably knows where it's at. Thanks for the Kennedy's tip- I'll go check it out.

The Abbey is a sports bar.

The Plough and Stars is really on and off in my limited experience. And in olden days it was full of IRA folks who appeared to not appreciate non-Irish people hanging out there. It would be nice if that has changed. I have heard good music there, though only some of it's Irish and even less of it's Irish traditional folk music. Last time I was there (a couple months ago) they had a good juke box selection.

I haven't ever heard singing at the Bitter End, but I might have just come on the wrong nights.

imo, the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley consistently has the best selection of celtic music, but they're in Berkeley, and expensive, and annoying, and alcohol-free. So I don't go often.

Not Irish, but the Edinburgh Castle Pub sometimes has singing- sometime even spontaneous singing by the clientele, which is my favorite. I don't go there enough to be able to tell you when it's likely- I might have just lucked out.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2006

I don't think it was 'special' field hockey, like a World Cup or anything, either. I think it was just mid-season stuff.

I had to laugh out loud at this. There is no way a bunch of Irish people got up at 7am to watch "Field Hockey!!!"
We wouldn't, - honestly. You're probably talking about one of the fastest, most furious, kick-ass games on earth, the sport of Hurling.

Oh, and it's likely they were in the bar since the night before ;-)

I really want to visit SF now.
posted by Wilder at 5:22 AM on May 29, 2006

I've only been a couple of times, but the Irish Bank was pretty nice. I'm not sure if people sing there, but since it's sort of in an alleyway, it would sound awfully nice if they did.

After previewing, I decided to check their site. It says something bogus about being a great corporate party location so who knows. It's in an alleyway off of Bush between Kearny and Grant.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:12 PM on May 31, 2006

dvdgee: Martin Mack's?
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:13 PM on May 31, 2006

Wilder: You're quite right, it was hurling. I originate South Africa, where a small percentage of the population do get *that* excited about field hockey (well, just hockey, as there's not much of the ice variety), and like I said, it was after a long night out.
posted by dvdgee at 10:38 PM on June 2, 2006

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