Pi Bar Calculates Pi to the Thousandth Place

The last digit is delicious.

On March 14, right around 3:14 p.m., a woman walked into Pi Bar in the Mission wearing a cut-off T-shirt that read 3.14159265359 and maybe calculated the mystical mathematical constant to maybe a few more digits.

Although nerds do that kind of stuff all the time, that’s because it was Pi Day. Being applicable to all kinds of pies, it’s perhaps the least objectionable made-up food holidays, since National Crisco Day (should it exist) is just a clumsy attempt to line the pockets of Procter & Gamble. And as Pi Bar is San Francisco’s preeminent place to celebrate the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference, the vintage-beer-sign-bedecked restaurant extended its normal happy hour (3:14-6:28 p.m.) to run all night long, offering a $7.75 deal for slice of cheese pizza and a Liberty Ale. 

It was more orderly than flamboyantly raucous as diners contemplated the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio while chowing down on some New York-style pizza, the kind that all but requires red pepper from a greasy canister. It’s nowhere near as intense as Darren Aronofsky’s film Pi, which connects a 216-digit number with the patterns underlying the stock market and the Shem HaMephorash, or the unspeakable name for God in the Kabbalah. It’s just a nice spot for happy hour, really — but since we’re all just figures in a cosmic ballet that appears random because our meat-based intellects are too puny to comprehend it, that might be minimizing Pi Bar’s true purpose in a cold, austere universe.

But the pizza’s great, and you can get it with house-made sausage that will make you run around with joy. As Kate Bush sang in “Pi” on her album Aerial, “Oh he love, he love, he love / He does love his numbers / And they run, they run, they run him / In a great big circle / In a circle of infinity.”

Pi Bar, 1432 Valencia St., 415-970-9670 or pibarsf.com

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