Years ago, the proverbial death knell rang for Lucky 13. But this gritty dive nevertheless remains here on Market Street in San Francisco, staving off the reaper—for now. Mystery developers bought it and have had a tear down permit since 2014, so it’s inevitable that bulldozers will be arriving imminently. It will probably be razed for condos like so many of its peers.
I had my first legal beer here, a Murphy’s Chocolate Stout, almost 10 years ago. Back then I worked a few doors down at the Cafe du Nord, which, at the time, was a small concert venue. The tech companies moved in nearby a couple years after that and luxury apartment developments followed. And then came other ominous harbingers: a Whole Foods, a high-end dispensary, a handful of cocktail bars, an arcade bar, a fancy coffee house.
Here in the Duboce Triangle, a lot has changed in the last decade—including my beloved du Nord, which is now overpriced and unrecognizable. But this bar is perennial, always exactly the same, down to the strikingly thoughtful beer list, the crooked pool table, the stickers in the bathroom, the popcorn machine in the corner. The bartender who first served me, Laura, still works here, too.
What can be said about losing a personal landmark? I offer no respite other than to swig Death & Taxes around the pool table until it all ends.