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March 29, 2006 / jnolen

Homestead, my new local bar

I'm almost hesitant go give away my secret. But after several arduous and beer-soaked nights of searching, I think I've found my local bar.

I've never really had a place I considered "my bar;" my local, my default. You know, my Cheers. Some place I could get to quickly on a whim. Or stop in on my way home from work. A place that I could just go hang out, even by myself. So when I moved to San Francisco, and into the proximity of so many interesting places, I decided that I need to find just such a place.

Living in a lively neighborhood like the Mission, I knew there had to be some great spots around my apartment. So I established a four-block radius and started my search. With the help of my friend, Alicia, (who moved to the Mission a year ago), I drank my way through quite a handful of neighborhood bars.

We tried Treat Street Cocktails (good, but a little too divey). We tried The Phone Booth (killer jukebox, too much smoke). We tried The Napper Tandy (too brightly lit, not enough room, distracted bartenders). And those were just the good ones.

And then last week I stumbled on Homestead. I say stumbled, though I actually mean 'stumbled on it while browsing around Yelp like a big internet dork.' [Quick aside: the reviews on Yelp are actually really funny. Exhibit a, b, c. Betcha won't see that sort of thing on CitySearch.] Technically, Homestead is five blocks away instead of four, but I decided to expand my circle on its behalf. So Alicia and I dropped in to feel it out, and I think it's the place.

The lighting is just right. There are plenty of places to sit. They have several good beers on draft, though nothing too exotic. The jukebox is very eclectic, but interesting. (Hopefully it will change more than the one at Dargan's ever did.) The bartenders are chatty. There are paintings of naked ladies, circa 1965, in heavy gold frames. Even the wallpaper is cool, strange as that may seem.

It's always been full, but never so crowded I had to stand. It's not too noisy to talk. I haven't been in on a weekend yet, but the weekend crowd may not matter. I'm not sure this will need to be my weekend place.

Oh, and bonus: last time I was there I had come from work, so I had my laptop with me. I cracked it open long enough to determine that there's an open wifi signal close enough to use. It's not strong, but it'll do.

Obviously, it will take a while to know for sure. I've got to settle in; spend some quality time there; really get to know it. But Homestead seems promising. The vibe feels right. You'll certainly be seeing more of me there.

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