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A Bourbon At...Lone Palm

[Photo: Flickr/KayVee Inc, balmes, Robby Virus, anthonysanfrancisco]

It was the late 1980s in San Francisco, and the town was bursting at all seams with energy. Everywhere and in all people, there was a revolving feeling of excitement and anticipation, of loyalty and compassion. And somewhere deep in the Mission, there’s this fella named Mark Green, no doubt living in up, basking in the city’s glory of the times. A savvy businessman, Green was making some serious loot importing palm trees from SoCal and selling them for $1,000 to $4,000 a pop. In fact, Green likely brokered many of the palms you see on Dolores and elsewhere around town. So don’t pee on them.

As it were -- and lucky for us -- Green also had a serious predilection for the firewater, all types of it. So, like all savvy businessmen, he made another investment and wisely bought a cozy little space out on 22nd and Guerrero, planted a single palm tree out front, and started selling booze. Success was destiny for some that year. With 3:10 left in Superbowl XXIII, and the 49’ers down 16-13 to the Bungals, Joe Montana led a 92-yard touchdown drive to win San Francisco its second championship in a row. The town was in love. And later that year, the Giants fought their way to the World Series in the epic Battle of the Bay against the Oakland Athletics. More love! Wild times were abundant. And Green and his palm(s) were along for the ride.

While Montana delivered, the bar was bustling with business, serving up Manhattans and setting the mood for people out to have a classy but casual libation. The vibe inside the bar, from what I understand, is much like it was 20-plus years ago. When you walk in, if you take the path straight to the back you’ll be cutting between the bar on your left and the rows of white tablecloths holding dimly burning candles on your right. And there’s a sort of maroon hue within, which only adds to the smoothness of the place. Anywhere you set up, there’s this feeling like you have privacy, but at the same time that you’re a part of the larger scene around you. It’s a very notable and unique dichotomy: the vibrancy of a bar you want to be at on a Friday night meets a calm and mellow persona, good for a date or just to have a few bourbons while you burn through a novel. It’s hard to find many places like it in the city. There's one other thing I should mention: they have the best music playlist of any bar in this town.

- Eddy El Espia