February 12, 2011

Zucchini Fries with Chris Daly

Last night, after the ballet, I finally stopped by the Buck Tavern. Former supervisor Chris Daly just signed a twenty-two-month lease to run it. Daly’s dive is fantastic, you must stop by the next time you’re in San Francisco. Two dollars gets you a massive basket of fries, the private alcove in the back has red vinyl seats, and there’s one pinball machine (Mars Attacks, two bucks for five games).

2000-10 is considered the “Daly Decade” by many in SF for his boisterous voice and sometimes isolated vote on the Board of Supervisors; last month, when the board’s president David Chiu cast his vote for Ed Lee to become interim mayor instead of a more leftwing candidate, Daly told him on the record, “I will haunt you. It’s on like Donkey Kong.” Chiu and Lee are progressive enough, they’re just fine, but that’s the kind of politician Daly was, a windbaggy force his Tenderloin constituents were lucky to have, the kind of city council member that worked hard to make SF different from the Panera-laden, interstate-covered, free-parking BIG SADNESSES that make up the American urban landscape.

So I thought is was cool when I went to order the first round, because he is now the bartender, server of zucchini fries, and rĂ©galer of my table. A loud, slurring white guy at the counter ruined my geek-out moment, “You could be making… a hundred bucks an hour as a consultant, man, but you’re serving us beer instead.”

San Francisco has become more moderate. We’re still banning phone books and plastic bags, but the last election resulted in an ordinance that bans sitting on sidewalks and ushered in a couple of pro-business centrists to the Board of Supervisors. And, if I may: The three-story building next to mine installed a car garage, removed street trees, and converted a triplex into a single-family home over the course of eighteen loud months of construction. This new "house" is ten feet away from the frackin' J-train station, for frack's sake, why did they need to install a frackin' garage?

Excursus. I don’t think escapism should carry a negative connotation. People who think they are meaningfully and willingly connecting with the world probably engage in the same kind of narrative invention that escapists rely on in order to survive. Maybe Daly’s dive represents a geographical contraction of that strange and wonderful space which the city, in his mind and for good reason, no longer stands for. Once upon a time you could ditch Chemlawns, entitled drivers, and Baptist proselytizers for a city where landlords must provide compost collection, medical marijuana dispensaries sell vegan pastries, and topless dancers are unionized. You still can, but if all that feels threatened, then open a bar you can always escape to.

In any case I know that S. Sandrigon would love it at the Buck Tavern. Apparently during the State of the Union they hosted a drinking game and political discussion. See you there soon, editor-in-chief!

1 comment:

S. Sandrigon said...

Whoo-hoo! Does it open at 8 am?