The Weeknighter: Dalva

The Weeknighter: Dalva


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?


We were sitting at the short end of the bar last night, Maggie, Summer and I talking about porn and open relationships. The light from the little candles flitted against various surfaces, while some old movie played on the screen above the jukebox. “I just don’t think it would be fair for someone who had sex for a living to expect their partner to be monogamous,” I said. Both women disagreed, their argument being that sex work is still just work and that it shouldn’t preclude someone from having monogamy, if they want it, off the clock.

Somebody sat next to me who Summer at first thought was her ex-boyfriend. It wasn’t, but this is San Francisco and this is Dalva: A small city where everyone is barely separated by two degrees and a bar where you can expect to see at least a couple people you know on any given weeknight. The bartender muddled some fresh fruit cocktail for the boyfriend lookalike and I continued my train of thought. “Look, I know each relationship has its own rules and I’m certainly not judging anyone. I just know that if my partner was regularly getting gangbanged at work, I’d feel like it would be totally reasonable for me to get a hummer from someone else.”

No one else in the bar paid much attention to our conversation. It might be that the sweet soul music was playing too loud for them to hear us. Most likely though, it was the fact that, once again, this is San Francisco and this is Dalva. It's an open-minded city where very little is taboo and Dalva's a bar where weeknighters break off into little clumps and tell each stories of the wild shit they saw while walking from the BART station on 16th and Mission. Dalva has been around for as long as I’ve been in The City, and people have always come here for a number of reasons: The location is great, the bartenders are generally friendly, and the music is always good. But more recently, they’ve been coming for the Hideout, Dalva’s backroom where fine craft cocktails are created and served to an adoring public. Eventually, the boyfriend lookalike got up and headed that way.

The discussion continued and we emptied our drinks. We all knew that none of us were wrong and none of us were right, but there’s no better time and place to have long conversations about things that don’t really effect your life, than a Monday night in a dark bar. Especially in San Francisco, and especially in Dalva: A buzzing city where the best nights out are during the week and a bar that somehow cultivates great conversations about porn and open relationships.

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.

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