Since as far back as I remember, I’ve made a conscious decision to become a regular at as many coffeeshops, restaurants, and bars I can find. I’m a firm believer we should support the local economy; supporting locally-owned establishments in lieu of corporate chains. When you support a locally-owned business, there’s a sense of integrity in knowing where your money is going, rather than up a black hole of profit-hungry suits in offices that ‘know’ their customers via spreadsheets and P&L statements.
The great city of San Francisco is full of hidden gems amongst the locally-owned restaurants, bars, stores, and galleries full of experiences that move your soul. Since moving here in July of 2015, I’ve had the privilege of diving in to many new experiences that have made me appreciate this cit-town in many different ways. Among my favorite experiences here has involved being a regular at several local businesses in the city, and Oakland.
Once of these locations has become near and dear to my heart (literally) and a personal favorite spot, The Sea Star. Walking home from work, I noticed an inconspicuous looking bar that had recently opened in the DogPatch neighborhood. When I walked in, I didn’t expect I would find a timeless masterpiece that would soon feel like home in a city that very few call their ‘original’ home.
I could dive into the historical significance of the bar, as it has very deep roots. Instead, I’ll mention it is one of three bars in the city that still contains a urine trough underneath the bar. 100+ years ago, bar patrons would pull up a stool to the bar and not have a reason to use the restroom, as they could do their business while tossing back a beer.
What separates The Sea Star from any other bar in the city, is their bartenders. Alicia, Tommy, and Ryan have taken bartending to the artisan level, proudly serving the best cocktails in the city. Ask for a shot of their Bloody Mary mixer and you’ll remember what it feels like to fall in love.
The crew also knows how to make sure you never feel like an outsider. If you’re on the shy side, this is your bar, as you’ll always have friendly conversation even when sitting alone at the counter. Hardly a night passes where I stop for a drink and don’t run into 3-5 local friends at the bar.
My favorite part about Sea Star is the wonderful family of friends I have gotten to know, while throwing back a delicious IPA. I’ve met outstanding friends that have shared many lively nights with me, creating a welcome space for newcomers and regulars alike. I recently had the honor of performing the marriage ceremony for a couple that I met at the bar. It’s a beautiful and unique type of place that fosters these types of authentic connections.
If you’re looking for a new place to call home, with a crowd that will learn to call you by name, look no further than The Sea Star.
I’d ask for another, but Alicia has already swapped my beer for a fresh round.