Reporting LIVE from the scene, I met Lisa Marie (pictured), new owner of the bar formerly known as Skip’s Tavern. The place is mid-construction, but open tonight for the Summer Solstice Stroll in Bernal Heights. Lisa Marie says there will be specialty and seasonal beers this summer. The big scoop? I already gave it up in the title: The new name of the bar will be “Lucky Horseshoe”. Can’t go wrong with good beer. Positive note to start! Opens officially Saturday, June 25. High Noon.
One of my most memorable experiences of Skip’s Tavern was on my 35th birthday. Friends of mine and I had eaten at Geranium, the old vegetarian place now occupied by the very popular ‘Moki’s’. We needed a place to keep the party going so we stumbled our loud drunk selves down to 453 Cortland. There was no band there that night, which was a good thing for our hearing. Many times you could hear the band outside of Skip’s a block away. And the music was very specifically blues rock. If you didn’t like VERY loud blues guitar whaling in your ears, well then you’d have to find a different bar.
Skip’s certainly added mojo to an ever increasingly gentrifying neighborhood. I remember it as a place you felt comfortable being yourself, even if that self wanted to get somewhat over inebriated. There was a certain novelty to the worn decor and the old-timer regulars were always a hoot. It had a special rugged sort of atmosphere that stood out in the bar scene on Bernal. Noone but yourself was going to tell you how loud or stupid funny you and your friends were going to be. That’s what attracted me to the place. Adding to the mojo was the fact that several years ago some twenty-something kid bought a lotto ticket at Skip’s and WON!! (Rumor had it that it was the kid’s 21st birthday!) I believe the winnings were somewhere around 20 million bucks. So the mystique of Skip’s grew but the clientele continued to grow older.
- It appears the bar will be dog friendly… Woo hoo!
- I imagine the new owners know about the lucky lotto kid. They are planning to re-brand the bar as the Lucky Horseshoe. Though I am sure they are referring to the circular configuration of the bar itself and not the lotto winner. I do appreciate that you can walk around the horse-shoe shaped bar un-encumbered and order a drink from pretty much anywhere you like. It’s rare thing in the bar world. They just don’t make em that way anymore. Preserving the horse-shoe shaped bar is obviously important to the new owner, Lisa Marie. Above the bar they built an ambient oval light that matches the bar shape perfectly. They also ‘uncovered’ and lit up a mural that was painted by a bar patron in the fifties who painted it for free beer, presumably while drunk. It’s an ambient orange-ish mural with a cowboy and indian motif. I have to imagine the new owners will be following this motif throughout the bar.
Lisa Marie is super friendly and handled the busy bar with a kind smile and confident grace.
She is a Bernal resident, so she doesn’t have to burn fossil fuels anymore to get to her previous employ way out at the Riptide. She also seems to understand the appeal of our beloved Bernal Heights and she seems very genuinely confident in her intentions. It took her three years to wrest the bar from the previous owner hands. I am not sure how much she paid, but the fact that it was in escrow for some nine month’s couldn’t have been cheap.
Yesterday was the grand preview-opening of the new bar. It coincided with the first annual Summer Solstice walk on Bernal Height’s incredibly neighborhood-ly Cortland Street. The bar opening had a couple of fantastic blue grass bands that I would recommend to anyone. The first was the Kentucky Twisters. The latter was the Shedhouse. Both were terrific! Though the Lucky Horseshoe will have to reapply for their cabaret license Lisa Marie assured us that it should be issued by August.
I had a pretty tart margarita followed by a much sweeter and delicious Herradera margarita(apparently Lisa overheard me talking about the tartness of the first one and made the second one more to my liking) and my buddies had their standard beers and whiskey. The pours were very fair and the beer was cold and fresh. Lisa Marie mentioned that she plans to have specialty drinks and seasonal beers for summer that’ll be ready when they officially open.
All in all I would say that the Lucky Horseshoe will be a super friendly casual and comfortable spot to tie one on and a great ‘addition’ to Bernal Heights night life. The new ownership is friendly and forward thinking, so if you looking to get ‘lucky’ head on over the new spot at 453 Cortland. You won’t be disappointed!