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Korean Food and Drink: Dan Sung Sa, aka Porno Bar

 

pornobar

pornobar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday parties, a smart man once said, come only once a year.  I took his/her advice and helped a co-worker celebrate his natal anniversary, and he had the good sense and connections to take us all to a spot in Oakland with a promising sobriquet.  People call it “The Porno Bar” because at one time there were posters of Korean pornography plastered on the walls.  Or so they tell me, “they” being one of my less-than-trustworthy comrades-in-arms at the restaurant from which we both extract a living.

Driving down a nondescript, mostly non-commercial stretch of Telegraph Avenue, you’d be forgiven for not noticing Dan Sung Sa (that being the real name of what everybody would rather call The Porno Bar).   Its exterior resembles one of those anonymous Tenderloin sweatshops that sell baby elephant tusks painted with Soylent Green.  Go inside, however, and you’re transported to some kind of Wild West, ramshackle restaurant lined on either side with semi-private  booths wherein occurs things tinged with a sinful red glow.  The whole ambience of the place reminds me of a salty dive that Toshiro Mfune might have visited in one of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai pictures.  Rough, unfinished wood, tattered newsprint and yellowed posters for wallpaper slow-cook in humid, sapien conviviality.  A twenty-foot-long table running down the middle is where all sixteen of us sat and drank multiple bottles of Soju, our occasional toasts washing down plates of savory seafood pancakes, sticky bowls of hot wings, chicken gizzard sautéed with green onion, the classic Korean short ribs, a bowl of creamed corn I wanted to hate but couldn’t stay away from, and a million other delights.

The Porno Bar is where people go to drink and eat and celebrate life with no quarter given to decorum or dignity, the kind of place that Falstaff could spit forth well-articulated inanities with unbridled abandoned.  Go!

 

Dan Sung Sa
2775 Telegraph Avenue (@ 28th Street)
[Pill Hill/ North Oakland]
Oakland

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Fatt Mink

Fatt Mink

Matt was born into a family of dreamy-eyed bookworms and staunch leftists in downtown San Jose, California. The sperm of the writing arts have long swam in his blood looking for the ovum of inspiration. However, his first love was music rather than literature; in 2002 he moved to San Francisco and studied Music and Italian, graduating in 2007. His move to S.F. coincided with the urgent need to pay his way; thus he joined the teeming ranks of the restaurant industry, where he still slaves away tending bar in the city's finer purveyors of food and grog, giving him a ground-level perspective which informs his writings about the Bay Area's ever-expanding culinary scene.