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The 2014 SF Midwinter Bar Workers Ball- 10 Years United In Nightlife

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Ten years ago, when I was just a slightly younger bartender, I was working at Kimo’s up in the Polk and had just recently been hired on as a floater at El Rio, when I was invited to a citywide gay bar mixer held at some guys’ house in the Castro. Back then gay bars actually still existed citywide, so it was amazing and hilarious to see crusty 7 a.m. TL barkeeps knocking back highballs with micro-tweezed boys from The Badlands and the burly daddies who just rolled in from South of Market. Different scenes, ages and income brackets for sure, but the common bond was slinging swill til 2 a.m. and everything that entails.

After my next shift at El Rio, in one of those post-closing, shot-induced moments of inspiration, I laid my plan out before my Missionite co-workers. Why not throw the same party, but invite every bar in town? Mission, Bayview, Marina, Chinatown, what have you- invite EVERYONE and see what happens. Sure, the clientele was certainly different, but on the same token, how many bars had I worked where the favourite part for the entire staff was the end of the shift, when the patrons had gone home and it was just us drinking and telling boozy fish stories.

And ten years later that’s exactly what we’ve made- one big shifter if you will. Drinks, grub and dancing in the company of your colleagues; war stories swapped, new friends made, and you’ll know one more place with a familiar face The holidays are past, spring is just around the corner, but before we get back on our feet and face the maddening crowds, let’s raise a glass to each other, because nobody does it better.

So here’s to you, San Francisco. To the blue haired barmaid dozing near an oscillating t.v. in a tavern on Judah, to the twenty-something dude busting his ass dishwashing for his kids he never sees, to the women that hold court over the sweaty palmed on Broadway, to every one of us that calls last call and sees the last stumbly-wumbly out- you are the salt of the earth, the pride of the Barbary Coast and I love you all. ¡Salud queridos!


The 2014 SF Midwinter Bar Workers Ball
Tuesday, February 18th 9:00 p.m.- 2:00 a.m.

198 Church Street (@ Market & 14th)
[Upper Market]



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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.