Frisco Beat: Tenderloin is the Night


Figuring I could kill a couple of birds with one speaking appearance, I told Bill Arney (left) and Mark Murphy (center) — a former and a current inhabitant of 891 Post Street — about the talk in the Tenderloin Museum, where I gave a fairly quick intro to The Maltese Falcon. Bill even got to jump in as a Guest Star speaker.

As soon as they wandered through the museum doors, however, I asked them if they really wanted to stay for the movie — since we’ve all seen it thousands of times. Or if perhaps it might be more fun for us, since we don’t get together that often these days, to head off into the Tenderloin night and find a bar. . . .

I didn’t even hear the brittle sound of an arm twisting before they agreed.

And I figured we did our duty by the Museum, coming in early and chatting with people in addition to the intro. Close to two hours of accessible expertise on display. And the Museum did its job by us, with complimentary food and drinks.

Our first thought was that we’d hit the longtime TL dive bar The Brown Jug, only a block away — almost the last of the classic dives at this moment. The Trapp, Club 21, others — long gone. The Ha-Ra under new management (they’ve spiffed it up, but it’s still okay).

Mark was mentioning how he was hoofing along a couple of months ago and spotted none other than Mike Humbert in the Jug. Apparently Mike had heard that the Jug might be closing up (this is not news, just rumor, in terms of what I know about it). Mike wanted to hit the seats before the end, if that was the case, when he rolled into town to continue his photo documentation of every building on Market Street.

Damn. The hobbies some of these guys come up with. . . .

But the Jug was pretty packed, so we moved on another couple of blocks to Emperor Norton’s Boozeland in Larkin Street — frequently enough on the tour I mention the days of yesteryear when the walk began and the place was known as Orontes, and the old lady who ran the joint was found murdered inside one night.

Bellying up to the bar in Boozeland, we proceeded to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition.


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