Hello world!

March 17th, 2009

We’ve picked the most revered of days, St. Patrick’s Day, to launch our first, every blog. Welcome to 21st Century, finally.
For those of you unfamiliar with the 3300 Club, let me give you a brief, but essential history. Sometime around 1956 or 57 (depending on who you ask), a strapping young lad named Jack Keane, found work as a bartender in a typical neighborhood watering hole called The 3300 Club. Why such an uninspired name? Because back in that day, bar’s names didn’t need to be cute and clever, they simply needed to direct a drinker to his drink. Naturally, the 3300 Club is located at 3300 Mission.
Jack was like many of the other young men in San Francisco at the time – first generation Americans who served their country during WWI; hard-working, hard-drinking, no-nonsense family men. College was never an option, so when the opportunity to buy a business came up, he borrowed some cash from a dozen of his friends – all cops and firemen – and bought the 3300 Club.
His best friend became his business partner and went to work. The bar came equipped with pegs on the walls for the cops to hang up their gun holsters when they stopped in for a pop. There was usually a bookie or two in one of the faux leather hooker-red booths that lined the wall. The other walls were devoid of much decorations – mostly autographed pictures of boxers. One lone TV stood over the bar which would only be turned on for Giants games. The bar itself was a mammoth wooden structure scarred by years and years of broken glasses and spilt beers. The backbar was made from the same wood with sets of mirrors throughout. The selection was limited -if you asked for something complicated like a martini or a margarita, you’d have been laughed at. It was a working man’s bar – Union through and through – even when the Union had forgotten about bartenders who didn’t work in hotels. And for more than 30 years, through a variety of partners, it was Jack’s kingdom. If he didn’t like you, you didn’t exist. But, if he liked you or you were a friend, there wasn’t a thing in the world you could ask from him that was too much. The bar, as much as he complained about it, was his life. So in 1990, when he passed away, his wife, Nancy, couldn’t bear to give it up. Within a few months, she filled those dingy walls with hundred of pictures of Jack turning it into a shrine. She quit her job and took over managing the bar full time bringing in music on St. Patrick’s, poetry readings every month, and some real Irish bartenders giving the “garden spot of the Mission” a more complex personality. Today, on St. Patrick’s Day, more than 50 years since Jack took ownership of the ‘33, it’s still a no-nonsense working man & woman’s bar, but with a touch of creativity thrown in for good measure.
So what will this blog be? Hopefully, it will be a collection of thoughts about the good old days – tales of Dickhead Dave, the Werewolf, Dirty Eddie, Sharky and other creatures who’s real names have long been forgotten – and musings on today – how the business has evolved and what the future holds. Welcome!