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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bouncer: Chris Daly's Buck Tavern Is Like a Boring Cheers

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

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From this week's Bouncer column:

My friend Audra has a theory that the shortest route to madness is buying a club or bar. She says that she has seen good, sane people go batshit in a span of months after diving into their dream of running an establishment. Unfortunately, I think she is right, although copious amounts of booze and cocaine might be more to blame than the daily rigors of business ownership. I'm guessing that the fantasy these proprietors have is based on the camaraderie of Cheers. There are also great amounts of money to be made, which means that once you have the right staff in place, you can spend most of your time at your Lake Tahoe retreat and let the joint run itself.

I have no idea why former S.F. Supervisor Chris Daly would volunteer to eventually go insane (allegedly) by taking over the Buck Tavern on Market -- though he has said that he wanted to open a place for progressives to hang out together and, um, do stuff and fix stuff that is wrong and should be fixed, in a liberal kind of way. He does have history on his side; many a plot has been hatched in a pub. Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Paine would get together at the Ye Olde Custard Pot and do body shots off each other before they orchestrated the revolution.

One thing Daly did have going for him when he stepped behind the bar at the beginning of this year was a ton of press attention. The picture painted was one of a gathering place for colorful townsfolk: firefighters, the DA, college kids, celebrities. The man himself was serving whiskey to everyone, and when you weren't chatting up an ombudsman, you could play vintage videogames or shoot pool.

I was ready to snuggle up against someone in a power suit, so I was rarin' to go when I walked into the Buck Tavern. Alas, Daly was not tending bar. There were some hipsters playing pool, and some fellas sitting at the bar chatting. Perhaps they were movers and shakers. The first thing that struck me as odd was the music. It was one bad song after another, as if someone had programmed Wilson Phillips into Pandora.

I also expected to be hit over the head with taxidermy, but the inside of the Buck is pretty pedestrian. That said, there is a nice enough vibe, though I would hope that Daly's presence will eventually inject more warmth. Might I suggest some throw pillows, or perhaps a Saint Bernard?

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column.

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Katy St. Clair

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