On this auspicious occasion of my father’s birthday, I finally acted on his months-old suggestion to visit the House of Shields. The website states upfront: “In keeping with tradition, there is no clock on premises, nor is there a T.V.” I must add: There is no designated happy hour– as in no drink specials– and also, perhaps contrary to my father’s half-century-old recollection, no food. In 103 years of history, solid nourishment was served once upon a time, I’m told. Alas, no longer is this the case. So do not show up hungry!
What does exist is a convenient if not surprisingly small spot to get a decent drink in San Francisco’s financial district, anytime throughout the afternoon long into the evening. On the city’s sizable list of historical watering holes, the House of Shields has clearly earned its place, obviously having served countless thirsty patrons throughout the decades. From the intricate woodwork, to the detailed tile, and even to the seemingly original bathroom, you can tell this special place has been around a while and deserves respect. I only wish the overall tone were a bit warmer. Fortunately my acceptably sized Hendricks martini upped the temperature a bit. All in all, I’ll be back!