The Oldest Bar in San Francisco by

Issue 57 · Haberdashery · February 1, 2013

The Oldest Bar in San Francisco

Issue 57 · Haberdashery · February 1, 2013

Visit the Comstock Saloon on a rainy night: start with a walk up Montgomery Street to San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood (past the oxidized copper Coppola building). Turn the corner and follow the sign of an oversized hand pointing to "Saloon" and "Cocktails."

When you walk into The Comstock, you'll enter a dimly lit room clad in French blue wallpaper and a polished mahogany bar. With a band playing in the eaves (in a small loft above the dining area), menus bound in soft black leather, and antique fans turning slowly overhead, you might get the feeling of dining in an earlier era. That's because The Comstock is named after prospector Henry Comstock and the Comstock Lode (the discovery that brought mining fortunes to the Bay Area). Also, the saloon occupies the building of the San Francisco Brewing Company, the first bar established in the city in 1861.

Formerly of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, bartenders Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin (who has a look straight out of There Will Be Blood) have partnered with Chef, or "grub slinger," Carlo Espinas of Piccino Cafe to offer a mix of classic cocktails (from the Sazerac to the Blood & Sand) and turn-of-the-century saloon fare. From the bar to the dining area, The Absinthe Group has designed a space with antiques and historical elements that pay tribute to San Francisco's Barbary Coast. For more information, visit The Comstock Saloon.

Photography by Liza Gershman for The Comstock Saloon (unless otherwise noted).

Comstock Saloon in San Francisco wallpaper

Above: Silver-toned serving ware and wine glasses on an antique wooden buffet.

Gentleman drinking at Comstock Saloon in San Francisco

Above: Bartender Jonny Raglin sips a Negroni in the dining room (L).

The Comstock Saloon in North Beach, San Francisco

Above: Photograph via ZZ Eats.

Comstock Saloon chairs and tables

Above: The saloon's more formal dining room is located just around the back.

Antique ceiling fans and a mahogany bar at The Comstock Saloon

Above: Ceiling fan light fixtures (L) and the warm mahogany bar (R).

Comstock Saloon sign on window in San Francisco

Above: The Comstock Saloon is located at 155 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. Photograph via Salon Benjamin.

N.B.: Looking for more places to drink and dine in the area? See our San Francisco City Guide for 26 more restaurants.

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