In the same vein as the Mad Dog in the Fog (owned by the same guy), this is the city's premier sports bar.
And by sports, I mean sports. The Kezar is located across the street from Kezar Stadium, the former home of the city's five-time Super Bowl champion 49ers, now converted to a trim 10,000 seat athletics, football and soccer stadium. The atmosphere follows the same vein as the decor: distinctly 49ers-related, and NFL and college action packs the place to watch every game on its 24 TV screens. Similar crowds watch baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox, or ice hockey (an unusual interest of the owner - read more). March madness may bring the biggest crowds of all. If you want your American sport, the Kezar's the place to go.
But it's more than that.
The Kezar abuts the epicentre of the city's legendary Irish community (a community third only to New York and Boston) and there is a distinctly Irish undertone to the place, from the logo exhibiting Kezar Stadium's famous arch with a shamrock placed in it to the Irish bar staff and owner. Gaelic sports are in abundance here, and the bar is equally full for the Six Nations or Republic of Ireland internationals.
But while it's an Irish bar in America, it's not an “Irish” bar. Rather, it's a mishmash of European and American sensibilities. The Premiership and Champions League football attract huge crowds, mixing tourists, American fans, and expatriates. New Zealanders and Australians pack the pub for Tri-Nations rugby (shown live in the wee hours) and even Indians come for cricket. The World Cup saw the start of Kezar's newest demographic - Ukranian soccer fans.
Oh, the food's also top notch for a sports bar. You'll find your fish and chips, meat pies and your Irish fare, including shepherd's pie and the legendary Irish breakfasts munched on by hungry rugby and football fans, as well as American hamburgers and buffalo wings. But the owner's wife - a chef - adds some subtle touches in the form of salmon, penne pasta and excellent salads.
Beer flows freely here, with several varieties of American beers, English ales, and God's own Guinness.
770 Stanyan St, at the edge of the Haight-Ashbury district. Reachable by several bus lines, including the 71 Haight-Noriega, the 43 Masonic and the 6 Haight;
tel: (415) 386 9292
San Franciscans (I am one) have many passions, and the Giants are among the most important.
This elegant baseball park was built in 2000, funded entirely by the club - a rarity in the American sporting world, where clubs often hold cash-strapped city governments for ransom. It's located on the southern end of the South of Market district, and the views from between the foul lines frame the entire San Francisco Bay Area, from the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island to the Oakland ports, Mount Diablo and even down to the San Mateo bridge, a good thirty miles away.
For value, sit in the bleachers in left (where Bonds hobbles around, feeling the effects of twenty years of baseball on two ravaged knees) and center field, where the hoi polloi sit, or even buy a standing room ticket and stand on the right field arcade - the closest thing you'll find to a terrace. For views, sit in the upper deck down the right field line.
But be sure to come soon, as Barry Bonds nears retirement. It may be your last chance to see the most controversial and most talented American athlete of this, or perhaps any other, generation.
24 Willie Mays Place
Mission Bay line - Third and King Sts.
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