Best Circus-Like Restaurant That Isn't Trying to Be a Circus at all

Tommy's Joynt

From the outside, with that neon sign and garish, over-painted exterior, Tommy's Joynt looks like a haven for freaks and weirdos. Then you go through those heavy double doors and find a series of interconnected rooms bursting with random kitsch from the better part of a century: Lots of new and old beer signs, dusty old German oil paintings, beer steins galore, and various pieces of Bay Area memorabilia. (There's even an autographed photo of Metallica hanging from the bar.) So, okay, Tommy's Joynt does come across like some kind of freak-culture circus. But this outpost on Geary and Van Ness is actually an incredibly practical watering hole and eatery. Where else can you get a huge pastrami sandwich for $6 at 1:30 a.m. — or a house mixed drink for all of $3.50? The salty meat-and-carb-heavy menu doesn't offer a ton of variety, but solid fare at bargain prices is the raison d'etre here. The oddball décor is just there to keep you amused while waiting in line for it.


Related Stories