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Weird Art in Bars: Smuggler’s Cove

If you're reading this, you’re likely well aware that Smuggler’s Cove has the best rum in town. (Which may or may not mean you research local watering holes with alarming regularity.) What you might not know is that there’s nothing more bad ass than taking a deceased - and, we assume, appropriately gutted - blowfish from its salty sea home and sticking a colored light bulb up its butt.


Said electrical innovation via expandable fish is exactly what owner Martin Cate did in his living room and, according to his wife, almost received a spine to the eye for his trouble. Glowing red and yellow blowfish now dangle from the ceiling of Smuggler's Cove, adding quite the buccaneering ambiance - especially when you consider the somewhat questionable origin of those prickly light fixtures.
 
The rest of the bar is appropriately nautical, with water streaming down rocks, past a human skull, and collecting in a pool below the main floor. The three rooms are adorned with net-covered crab crates, a carved female masthead, an anchor, and tipsy hipsters exclaiming, “Fuck! It’s a pirate bar!” as they amble in.
 
 
Smuggler’s Cove, 650 Gough St. Open every day from 5 p.m. to closing. smugglerscovesf.com.