Imagine being at a sports bar during a high-stakes game when the beer runs low and the power keeps going on and off. That’s what happened last Saturday at Giordano Bros. on 16th Street, when the 49ers beat the Saints in the very last play, and it wasn’t the only bar that barely held together that day.
“I couldn’t fit enough hot dogs on the barbecue,” said Nick DesEnfants, a bartender at Elixir on 16th Street. “I was doing like 12 at a time.”
Shea Shawnson, another bartender at Elixir, watched patrons go through two kegs of Anchor Steam in two hours. “I’ve never seen it go that fast,” he said.
Less than a block away, the power at Giordano Bros. was in a state of flux because so many fans were stomping on the floor in excitement, said bartender Kyle Henzes. In the first quarter, the bar ran out of a special beer called 49ers Gold Rush.
Henzes had to repeatedly reload kegs of seven different beers, including Guinness and Weihenstephaner, which he replaced three times.
The customers at Giordano Bros. usually have no specific allegiance, said Henzes, “but Saturday it turned into a Niners bar.”
It was the same at The Double Play on Bryant, where there were so many fans that the bar saw twice its normal business. And at The Napper Tandy on 24th Street, ice was the first thing to run out, because the bar has a small ice machine, said owner Marissa Browne.
Bars learned their lessons, and many throughout the Mission are taking extra precautions for today’s game against the Giants by having more staff on hand and stocking up on essentials.
“The world stops for tomorrow,” The Napper Tandy’s Browne said yesterday afternoon. “We’ll have all hands on deck,” she said, adding that she herself will be working, in addition to the five staff members on the floor and three in the kitchen. They’ll also make sure to have enough Guinness, which is popular at the Irish bar.
Another Irish pub, The Liberties Bar on Guerrero, will add an extra bartender and has already stocked up on extra liquor and drink condiments, said Tayler, a bartender who didn’t want to give her last name.
Last week Tayler was surprised that people weren’t ordering at the bar; instead, they were at the tables watching the game. But she thinks that will change today, and expects the bar to be “slammed,” especially because it offers a $3 shot deal on Sundays.
One of today’s better known deals will be at Delirium on 16th, which is offering free game-time barbecue with the purchase of two drinks. With $2 Tecates, $3 well drinks, $4 drafts and the game on four TV screens, they’re expecting a big rush, said DesEnfants — who works at Delirium as well as Elixir — and adding at least one other staff member to the shift as a result.
The Phoenix on Valencia, which also saw large crowds last Saturday, will have four bartenders instead of the usual three, said bartender Tansy Grefsheim. Among the expected patrons are a few who are sure to stand out: some Giants fans are regulars at the bar. “I’m sure I’ll see them,” said Grefsheim.
The Phoenix isn’t the only bar anticipating Giants fans today: Shawnson at Elixir expects them to equal the number of Niners fans. To prepare, the bar will have Coney Island lager on tap at a $1 discount.
Yesterday afternoon, Shawnson recalled some landmark moments in the city’s history, like when Obama was elected and San Franciscans sang in the streets, and when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010. He wondered whether tonight would be another one for the books.
Last Saturday, business was booming all night at The Napper Tandy because 49ers fans stayed to celebrate after the victory. Owner Browne hopes for a repeat. And also enough ice.