Weird Art in Bars: Specs


Pass up the bar as you walk into Specs - a living ode to San Francisco’s beatnik history - and you’ll find yourself gazing into the rabid maw of a taxidermy weasel fighting a stuffed snake. Arrive on the right day and you’ll see a grizzled Chinese man sitting in the corner painting, his thin gray goatee dragging in his oils. If you sat down next to him, you’d find yourself staring into the spectacles of King Nut, a parody of the original mummified golden pharaoh.

At this point, you’ll probably head back to the bar, confident in your decision that booze will force all of this to make sense. You’ll sip your G & T and inspect crumbling drawings and embroidery samples of the Flying Cloud, an 1851 clipper ship famed for its speed in transporting gold hungry miners from New York to San Francisco. Then you’ll note the walrus tusks, the giant crab making his home on the far wall, and random whale bone carvings. The nautical theme will give way to unclassifiable objets d’ weird art - photos of naked women (porn?), African masks (voodoo?) and ox skulls (bizarre?).

Then you’ll give up and order more gin.

Specs, 12 Saroyan Place. (415) 421-4112.

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