My Date With the Yeti

Sasquatch and industrial music make the Bigfoot Lodge the perfect bar for ... yuppies?

The lure was unmistakable. A bar called the Bigfoot Lodge in Nob Hill, complete with a giant Sasquatch greeting all who enter that looks like it was whittled by Botero. The look of the place is sort of a Hanna-Barbera take on the great outdoors, a Jellystone Park with Pyramid ales. The walls are made of jaunty faux logs, a jaunty faux fireplace "burns" in the back, and dozens of jaunty faux pine trees flank the bar.

I immediately ordered a Sasquatch, the drink that promises to "stomp your ass." Actually, I hadn't even seen the sign for it yet, but I had made a pact with myself that if this place didn't have a drink called the Sasquatch I was gonna leave. I can only take so much bullshit.

The barkeep was a "Can do!" gent in a beret, and he poured me a drink that would've made a 1972 Betty Ford proud. A Sasquatch has ginger this, bitters that, but basically tastes like a big pint full of rotgut. Another signature drink is called a Girl Scout, which is frighteningly close in ingredients to a Screaming Orgasm.

Mad Max was on the TV, the DJ was late, and slowly it dawned on me that this place had the worst jukebox I had ever heard. I opened my magazine while "I'm a cowboy bay-bay ..." boomed in the background.

This is the point in Bouncer when I usually go into some obscure history or philosophy based on something I have gleaned from my visit to a club, thus moving everyone to look a little more closely at his life and perhaps come away a bit more knowing. Let's review our options. First, there is the idea of myth -- Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, small-breasted women named Brenda (possibly the most elusive of the three). Myths may indeed define us, but if Joseph Campbell were here, he would have to ask himself what part of the hero's journey involves Kid Rock.

Then there's the idea of the lodge, which follows naturally to logs, which follows naturally to Abraham Lincoln, who, according to a new book, was a homosexual, making him the first among many closeted gay Republicans. So now we know where the log-cabin thing comes from.

But on this night I didn't feel very inspired. Even when Nosferatu came on the TV as "Pour Some Sugar on Me" played in the background, I couldn't so much as muster up an ironic snicker.

Then the 'Squatch hit me like a ton of foot, and I had to stop musing and focus instead on the people around me. The place is stretched and somewhat narrow, with a lengthy saloon-type bar along the left side and tables in the back. The crowd was pretty conservative. Make that really conservative, with spectacles, button-down shirts, and jobs involving computers. There was a smattering of dudes-- guys who read Thrasher and drink Budweiser -- and at least two couples who looked like they were on dates. It turns out this was what the locals call "high tide at the Marina," when patrons who usually imbibe farther north bleed down into this neighborhood, at Polk and Washington.

I came to see the DJ, some guy named Byron, who hosts a night here every Thursday called "Industry." He was now 30 minutes late. For the fourth time in a month I had showed up to a club and the DJ was a no-show. "Head Like a Hole" was playing on the jukebox, and the computer guys were banging their heads. Something about this place just didn't click for me. For the first time in a long while, I was at a bar that I liked OK but knew in my gut I would never come back to. Maybe bars are like boyfriends, you either feel it or you don't.

I was chatting up the Chinese herbalist to my right (who wouldn't?) when in walked a vision in faded denim and an Iron Maiden T-shirt. He looked like the guitar tech for High on Fire, and I really liked him a lot and found him attractive in a sexual way. Better still, he was the DJ.

"Oh-ho man," I said to him. "You gotta play Entombed in here."

"Heh," he chuckled nervously, "I'm pretty sure I'll clear this place out with the stuff I brought, don't worry." I didn't want to tell him that he could play A ball with the bomb di bomb di bomb diggy diggyand I would stick around. "Can I interest you in a Sasquatch?" I thought to myself.

It turns out he wasn't Byron. Byron, he said, never shows up. But Byron's Brechtian folly was my good fortune, because Cutie-Pie McScruff played the Misfits, the Stooges, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and the Cult right off the bat. And he was right: Slowly, people trickled out one by one. Part of the reason, methinks, is that the sound system at the Bigfoot Lodge leaves much to be desired. The treble trembles like the forest floor in the Yeti's wake.

It's safe to say that this place, despite Byron's substitute, wasn't very inspiring. Even the allure of a monster legend couldn't tickle me out of the feeling that I was at just another San Francisco theme joint. (The fact that there's an identical Bigfoot Lodge in Los Angeles owned by the same people only makes matters worse.)

When the bartender, a wonderful chap named Able, lit the length of the bar on fire to the opening strains of "Welcome to the Jungle," I quietly slipped out. Some myths should be laid to rest.

 
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