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It's two, two bars in one.
August 8, 2009 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Where do you wanna meet, Fahey's Bar or the Dragon Lounge? How an ordinary San Francisco bar adapted to shifting demographics by developing a dual personality.
posted by w0mbat (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
It seems more bars could do this kind of makeover between daytime and evening. It's similar to places which are quiet dark spaces until 9pm, and then suddenly the dance floor lights are switched on and the thumpa thumpa starts and they become dance clubs. Only in this case, it's driven by different demographics other than club kids.
posted by hippybear at 4:25 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kind of reminds me of this place I worked at briefly in Reno a few years back. Odd little business; it was a family-style restaurant by day and an anything-goes, pan-sexual bazaar by night.
posted by hincandenza at 4:27 PM on August 8, 2009


Reminds me of Swallows from Arrested Development.
"I just have to break down the salad bar and set up the leather pony."
"What's a leather pony?"
"I don't know. We don't have that at lunch."
posted by rolandcrosby at 4:31 PM on August 8, 2009


Bah, should have refreshed after getting the link.
posted by rolandcrosby at 4:32 PM on August 8, 2009


Christ, what a poorly written column.

Misspellings: ("numskull"). Rhetorical questions in a article ("What happened? Well, some of it is gentrification and some is San Francisco....)? Hyperbole directly contradicted by the subject of the article ("Start messing with their neighborhood bar and you've got a battle on your hands.") Counter-factual imaginings by the columnist: ("What they need is a rotating sign that says "Fahey's" during the day and spins over to the Dragon Lounge at 5:59 p.m.").

And it's rather thin: white (well, Irish) flight has led to a majority Asian neighborhood, but the formerly majority ethnicity regulars still come to their old watering hole, which under savvy new management, retained their familiar old barkeep.
posted by orthogonality at 4:34 PM on August 8, 2009


I wish that article had the guts to say what it really wanted to say about race, but it uses terms like gentrification and demographics instead.

This isn't about "adapting to take advantage of changing market conditions" and it's definitely not a kumbaya story of different classes of people getting along.
posted by danny the boy at 4:35 PM on August 8, 2009


a family-style restaurant by day and an anything-goes, pan-sexual bazaar by night.
Pro-tip: never order doughnuts after 6 pm.
posted by Abiezer at 4:49 PM on August 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is quite common here in Spain - perhaps not to the extent of a "name change" and ne'er-the-twain shall meet, but a lot of places are brightly lit, white-tiled cafe's during the day and switch to being dim, flashing light's bars in at night... The staff changes (though probably as much due to the rigours of long shifts than to appease the late-night demographic) too, often.
posted by benzo8 at 4:54 PM on August 8, 2009


it was a family-style restaurant by day and an anything-goes, pan-sexual bazaar by night

Never bring your family to a restaurant where people have been having sex with the pans.
posted by DU at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


I once went to a bar sort of like that near Detroit. It lacked the clear temporal separation, though.

From what I gathered, it had been the neighborhood watering hole, sort of a piano lounge kinda place (I don't know what I'm talking about, I just repeat words I hear). New management decided to turn it into something a bit different. Some of the old patrons were there on dungeon night. Many seemed content to sit at the bar and chat as usual while the floggings and the cage dancer carried on behind them. One, however, was a bit drunk and displeased with the new state of things. Shouting angrily while being guided outside by her more sober companion, she slurred at my friend that "you don't have to dress like that!"

The website currently says it "is now closed until further notice." But maybe that's just Detroit.
posted by whatnotever at 5:09 PM on August 8, 2009


A gay bar here was taken over by the goths one night a week. They'd do a quick redecoration of the upper level and whammo, spooky central. You'd never know what it was the other six days, unless you happened to notice the sign in the small men's bathroom: "Only one occupant at a time."
posted by adipocere at 5:16 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's a bar in Costa Mesa, CA that was part gay bar and part straight bar/concert hall. I saw Mudhoney there a few years ago, and the band got into the DJ booth and played records that were pretty explicitly gay before the concert.
posted by Huck500 at 5:31 PM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is like something out of The City and The City. It's a crosshatched bar.
posted by pts at 5:45 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


omg an establishment that's different when it's dark outside. come on.
posted by edmo at 6:12 PM on August 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, there is a different crowd at the bar at 3 PM than at 10 PM. The writer shoud maybe, I dunno, spend an afternoon in a bar sometime. And then not write a story about it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:24 PM on August 8, 2009


Somewhat similar was Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, a Filipino restaurant that became one of the great punk clubs of all time. (BTW dissing Nevius' writing is too easy. He's like a walking cliché of ol' school columnizing.)
posted by twsf at 7:36 PM on August 8, 2009


I just read about a long-established high end Italian restaurant nearby that to survive, now becomes two different clubs later in the evening, with hip-hop and R+B in the front room and a smaller latino scene in the back.

Maybe they should also have morning yoga.
posted by longsleeves at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2009


Lots of great bars look very different in the daytime.

Usually they look a whole lot grimier.
posted by rokusan at 3:35 AM on August 9, 2009


Was indeed a very light piece.

The bar I know that's most like that in London is The Good Mixer, a pub in Camden. During the day it is (or used to be) a place largely patronised by decrepit old Irish soaks, of which there is no shortage in the area - and, furthermore, there's a hostel for mendicants with a fondness for a drop just up the road. When they're in place, it's a classic old man's pub. Come around 5pm, though, and the shift changes - it becomes (again, perhaps it became, been a while since I was there) the Britpop Pub. It was Blur's boozer for a while, and thus attracted a lot of bright young things, Japanese schoolgirls, other bands, hangers-on and locals who turned up to enjoy the entertainment. (Alex James tried to beat me up once there because I was wearing a jacket, but gravity overcame him first).
posted by Devonian at 12:54 PM on August 9, 2009


adipocere: A gay bar here was taken over by the goths one night a week. They'd do a quick redecoration of the upper level and whammo, spooky central. You'd never know what it was the other six days, unless you happened to notice the sign in the small men's bathroom: "Only one occupant at a time."

Dallas has a club that's been open since 1994 or so that is the Lizard Lounge most of the time, and The Church on Thursdays and Sunday, for Goth nights.
posted by dejah420 at 5:16 PM on August 9, 2009


Cartoon Network vs. [adult swim], Nickelodeon vs. Nick at Nite
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:19 PM on August 10, 2009


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