The Weeknighter: Presidio Social Club


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?

There’s a perverted ghost that haunts the Presidio Social Club. They call him Lieutenant Dan. When the place first opened in 2006, Dan would slam doors, rattle cabinets, and do other dickish things to upset the people who worked there. But in recent years he’s taken a much more kinky approach to his haunting; Dan likes to trip girls and look up their skirts. Or that’s what Cat was telling me as we sat at the bar drinking La Palomas and Moscow Mules. This was another one of those nights where PR people take me out and stuff me full of food and booze with hopes that I’ll write about their clients. By this point though, Cat seemed to know me well enough to figure out that stories of weird shit like naughty ghosts would probably to seal the deal. Obviously, it worked.      

Apparently there’s a certain place somewhere between the bathrooms and the end of the bar where women in skirts always suddenly trip, even though there’s nothing there to make them stumble. I tell Cat, “I fucking love this kind of shit,” as we tucked into the gruyere toast and pork belly that she ordered us. I’m not sure if she realizes I was talking about both the food and the ghost, but it doesn’t matter, because she continued to tell me about how the bar staff leaves out little cocktail and food offerings at the end of the bar for Lieutenant Dan. In a way, it makes sense that the ghost that haunts Presidio Social Club would be a randy one. The building that houses the restaurant was originally built as a military barracks in 1903. 

There’s more to PSC than just a semi-rapey ghost though; it’s really quite a lovely place. Set just inside the gate from the Marina District, PSC is surrounded by the vast green expanse that is San Francisco’s Presidio. When I arrived that day, the fog sat in the trees humming tunes about coldest winters being SF summers, and the air was crisp with moisture from the bay. The food and drinks are also stellar, and the dessert is fucking mind blowing. Pastry chef Rene Cruz’s PSC Strawberry Shortcake is his homage to Good Humor ice cream bars, and was so good I wanted get all Lieutenant Dan on it. Another interesting aspect was the age range represented at PSC. While much of the crowd that was there when I arrived at 6ish had hair that matched the color of the fog outside, by the time I left, it had shifted more towards families and people on dates. Given the demographics of certain parts of San Francisco, seeing kids and old people at the same place is almost as rare as witnessing the Loch Ness Monster hanging out with Big Foot.

If it was up to me I would’ve sat at that bar, people-watching and looking for pervy paranormal activity all night, but we eventually hit the limit of how much Cat should spend on feeding and drinking a member of the media. After closing out, we went over to Liverpool Lil’s for a shot of Fernet and witnessed the cutest thing ever–a pair of septuagenarians on a date. Hearing them talk and flirt gave me hope for the rest of us and further hammered in the point that Weeknighters come in all ages. It seems like they wandered over from Presidio Social Club, too.

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