Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That's why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right. From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart's taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City's nightlife. So, who wants a drink?
The evening started at the Hapa Ramen pop-up on Lower Haight. My plan was to get my grub on and then eventually make my way to The Showdown for some booty shaking. But as so often happens in this fine city of ours, you set out to do one thing, run into people that you know and like a lot, and end up doing something completely different. At the pop-up (which was at Wing Wings) I ran into Andrew Dalton from SFist and the lovely ladies of Rice, Paper, Scissors. Valerie and Katie had another food thing to go to so Andrew and I meandered through the neighborhood finally landing at The Page where we met our friend Geri-Ayn.
The Page is a Divisidero Street drinking institution. When I first moved to The City, the bar was called Chances, and chances were you were gonna find some ugly motherf**kers in there. But when it became The Page, the clientele got markedly better looking, the atmosphere got slightly less divey and the cheap drink prices stayed the same. I sat next to Geri-Ayn at the bar and as always happens with her, our conversation found its way to sex and love and how they so rarely go hand in hand. It was a happening Tuesday night in that stretch where the Western Addition and the Lower Haight melt into one another. We talked about how, in a city where it’s perfectly acceptable to never grow up, many of us don’t. And if you’ve been here long enough it’s almost impossible to date a person who hasn’t slept with someone you know. We needled our words between the crack of billiard balls coming from the game room downstairs and Curtis Mayfield singing about being your Pusherman from the jukebox near the door.
Andrew appeared through the crowd, amidst the din and the neon beer lights, with a glass of whiskey in his hand and a grin on his face. The Page wants to educate its customers on the finer points of whiskey, so every week they have a featured brand for only $5. I joined Andrew in both the drink and the grin; decent whiskey for $5 makes me smile too.
There’s more to The Page than just whiskey though, they’ve also got over 20 beers on tap and a good selection of craft beer by the bottle. And then there’s the vibe: If there’s a theme to The Page’s décor it’s very well disguised. Italian restaurant style red candles dot the bar and table tops while random decorations like a painting of Henry VIII line the walls. The foosball and pool tables downstairs are a major plus and make it feel like somebody’s basement game room. But my favorite part of the bar is the lending library. Downstairs next to the staircase is a shelf full of books that you’re welcome to borrow from as long as you bring the book back when you’re done reading it. I guess The Page’s vibe is “Any Bar, USA that any random person can love.”
Sitting at the bar with Geri-Ayn and Andrew, a couple of my favorite San Franciscans, and talking about love, lust, sex and the SF Never-Never Land syndrome, I realized that The Page is a perfect bar for San Francisco. When the jukebox plays the right tunes, and the pool game goes your way, and your good friends are on the stools next to you, and the pretty girl across the room keeps giving you the eye, you can believe that nobody ever really has to grow up. Or, at least not while they’re at The Page.
Stuart Schuffman has been called "an Underground legend" by the SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero" by the SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap" by Time Out New York. He is also the host for the IFC travel show Young, Broke & Beautiful. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.