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Juicing Up Your Juice

SF Bar Update: Comstock Saloon

The San Francisco Brewing Company, the oldest brewpub in San Francisco, closed recently. It will reopen this spring as the Comstock Saloon, a bar and restaurant headed by Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe.

Raglin gave me a sneak peak at the construction of the space and plans for the new one. Since the bar has been around since 1907, they've been spending a good amount of time determining what's original to that date and what is newer. There were several renovations over the last hundred years, as the bar became a restaurant during Prohibition, a servicemen's bar after WWII, and a Filipino dive bar before it reopened as the Albatross and then the SF Brewing Company.


Now the brewing equipment has all been sold, although much of it is still on-site.

In the main bar, pictured above, they're keeping the original bartop and making great efforts to work within the small space between the bar and the wall behind it. This means installing a lot of kluged together parts and custom-built sinks, ice wells, and other equipment.

The bar itself doesn't have shelf space for too many bottles, so there will be a pretty limited selection of spirits once outfitted. They're planning to take the high-gloss finish off the wood of the back bar, and replace all the brass with antique (or antique-looking) silver.

The original urinal trough beneath the bar will remain. I suggested running goldfish through it, but maybe if it runs in a constant stream salmon would be the better choice. Then you could catch your own dinner.


The main room will have some tall bar tables in the front and several booths along the wall facing the bar. The room has traditionally held a piano and band area at the back, but this will now be moved to the small balcony seen in the photo above, which will be opened up to view. 


The brew room behind the bar will have the huge copper kettle and the stand around it removed. The entire room will be used for dining, with more booths, a large round table in the center of the room, and an antique chandelier hanging above it. This room has many windows facing the street so it could be really lovely. There will also be a few tables for outside seating.

As you can see, there is a lot of work left to be done over the next couple of months.