Tuesday, September 05, 2006

making your way in the world today...

If anyone’s looking for the new Cheers, I think I just found it. There’s this shithole on the corner of 16th and Bryant, right across the street from GhettoGym called The Double Play. It looks like the kind of place that’s got an old timer passed out on the bar at 10am and needless to say, I’ve never darkened it’s doorway.
I actually received a phone call from my dad once, altering me that he was in my neighborhood.
“What are you doing in my neighborhood in the middle of the day?”
“I’m having lunch at 16th and Bryant.”
“A client wanted to meet there.”
“The Double Play.”
Oh my god.
Turns out, GhettoGym used to be Seals Stadium and the Double Play was the ball crowd watering hole. My father referred to it as a “San Francisco old timer’s place.” So, with nothing to do but watch the Giants game with Mikey and Alex, I announced we were hitting the Double Play.
“Are you shitting me?” asked Mikey. “I’m scared.”
Hey, if my dad can handle this place, we’re fine. He headed over there and the boys hid behind me as I pushed open the creaky, red door. Once our eyes adjusted, we found a scene none of us expected.
The walls are covered in Seals Stadium crap, from ticket stubs to newspaper cut outs to photos of ballplayers who probably had the career trajectory of Moonlight Graham. At the counter sat 7 or 8 middle-aged men, some clean cut in khakis drinking whiskey, others tattooed in Barry Bonds jerseys sipping (I swear to God) Rosé. In the back, we spied an unlit, apparently closed Italian restaurant which looked the like the kind of place mobsters hang out and “do business” while eating plates of spaghetti and drinking red wine out of little glass cups. There’s probably a body in the meat locker, just for effect.
But the best part of the Double Play isn’t the memorabilia on the walls, scary guys with Midwestern wine or even the Ravenite Social Club vibe in the back. It’s Jimmy.
“So, I take it I’m going up to the bar and getting out drinks?” I asked the boys, sitting nervously in the booth and trying to eye the game on tiny televisions up in the corner.
“Yes, please.”
I squeezes between two guys drowning their sorrows in 3pm Scotch as an elderly bartender approached.
“What are ya looking for, sweetheart?”
“Um, I need some drinks.”
Every head at that bar swerved to look at me.
“That a girl. I’m Jimmy. What’ll ya have?”
“2 Bloody Marys and a Guiness.”
“Bloody Mary, huh? You want that spicy.”
“Hell yes.”
“I could tell. You look like a spicy girl.”
Jimmy then pulled a carton of tomato juice from 1953 out from under the bar and proceeded to blend all of the condiments readily available into our drinks. There may have been French’s mustard in it, I’m not quite sure.
I returned to the booth with 3 huge, cheap beverages. “You guys. The bartender is totally Coach.”
I now have a new Peach Pit, where with a small investment in time and spare change, everybody is about a week or two away from knowing my name and being always glad I came…


b.t.o.b. said...

A Field of Dreams reference AND a 90210 reference!!?! That is a great start to my day...

sfmike said...

I once worked temp at a very snotty nonprofit down in "multimedia gulch," and the Double Play for lunch was definitely the preferred antidote. Very cool place.

greg said...

great review, I like reading about places like this that one passes by but might not go in, not knowing what to expect.