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Aging Gracelessly: 100 Years of Merchant’s Saloon

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Photo yelp.com

Ah, aging. Getting old hits some harder than others. Some mellow out, some get 17 cats and some just go straight crazy. Diving headfirst into the aging process is NO reason for one to stop being a belligerent, loud, shit show. I mean, one only needs to look at Oakland’s almost 100 year old Merchant’s Saloon as evidence of this.

Opening its doors in 1916, Merchant’s Saloon has been committed to getting you fucked up from day one, and it has never once wavered in its dedication to this goal. After Heinold’s First & Last Chance Saloon, Merchant’s is the second oldest bar in Oakland. It has ingrained itself in Oakland’s history. It kept the Town sloppy during Prohibition. The backroom operated as a secret bar before current owner, JJ Jenkins, acquired it. The saloon slung drinks to legends like Huey Newton, Jerry Brown, Tom Hanks, members of the Oakland Raiders, and none other than Pancho Villa. And how can you not bring up that that place without mentioning the trough-like spittoon wrapping around the bar (sorry dudes, not a urinal).

Today, the music’s loud, the drinks are strong, and the attitude is turned up to 11. In short, Merchant’s is the shit. However,  it also inspires a healthy degree of fear in me. It is a bar that will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you lying on your kitchen floor praying to things you don’t even believe in to make the hangover stop (personal experience). And then somehow you find yourself back there. Again and again…

In keeping with the grand tradition of debauchery, Merchant’s Saloon will be celebrating its 100th birthday with two days of drinking, bands, food trucks, and yet to be announced chaos. Go! Tell that salty old bitch of a bar happy birthday and join in the revelry. I’m going to state the obvious here: after two days of the alcohol and the anarchy, Sunday is going to be a real rough day for a lot of people, myself included…

Anyhow. Happy birthday Merchant’s! Thank you for keeping Oakland rowdy as fuck. Please don’t hurt me up too bad.

Scarytown

Scarytown

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Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

I am a writer, DJ, musician, vandal and I travel a lot.