Theatre Bars

The Guardian’s Theatre Blog has an article by Molly Flatt that talks about theatre bars. As one of the co-hosts of Playwrights Pub Night, a homebrewer of beers, and a fan of theatres that let you bring in drinks, this was definitely an article that caught my eye.

For me, one of the best parts of any night at the theater is hanging out in a bar afterward and talking about the play; or, better, talking about issues or topics inspired by the play; or, best, talking about things that have nothing to do with the play but that wouldn’t have been discussed had we not come together as an audience to watch said play.

All of those things are better with drinks.

Where do you go after you see a play? I find that after a show at the Exit, I have nowhere to go now that Original Joe’s is gone. That used to be where both audience and cast would hang out; now it seems people just see shows and leave. (Although after Mud, Marisela and Sonia and I walked up to Post Street for Thai food and Singha, so maybe there’s more to explore up that way?)

After Magic Theatre events, I often end up at Liverpool Lil’s for some reason. It’s not walking distance and bypasses several bars in between, so I’m not sure why that’s become a hangout, but it has. Mayor Gavin Newsom once serenaded me on the accordion there.

After Impact shows, we usually go to Spats. There’s a perfectly good pizza and beer place right above the theatre, but people generally go there before the show and then drink afterward at Spats. Maybe the time it takes to get to the bar gives everyone a chance to let the play settle in so you can have an actual opinion.

After PlayGround, everyone generally goes to either Beckett’s or Jupiter. I tend to be overanxious to get there and go to the one everyone says they’re heading to, only to find that somewhere along the way everyone headed to the other. I imagine this makes it look like I’m rounding everyone up to go out for a beer and then not actually showing up myself, but enough people usually make it to the wrong place to make it worth staying.

The two best theatre/drinking experiences I’ve had were in Austin. First, we used to have a standing Wednesday Night Beer Night at Posse East. No need to call or make plans; just show up and you were 99% sure that someone else would be there. This was in the days when we were doing improv shows on Thursday, two on Friday, two on Saturday, and rehearsals on Sunday, so by Wednesday the group had gone three whole days without seeing each other and we were desperate to get together again.

But best of all was drinking after those shows. Our improv group owned its own theatre, with its own bar and restaurant, so we’d close down the room and hang out and drink until early the next morning. I’m not sure it was technically legal, but it was definitely fun.

Am I missing any good places to hang out after a show? Is there a new place that people go near the Exit? What about in the “Theater District” after an SF Playhouse, Un-Scripted Theater, Phoenix Theatre or A.C.T. show? Anyone?

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5 thoughts on “Theatre Bars

  1. I don’t know where everyone else goes, but after shows at the Phoenix we always go to the Summer Place on Bush&Mason. It’s a dive. Dives are good.

    But then there was some sort of “leak” during our last show and we ended up at a place on Bush&Taylor called “The Yang San Lounge.” Do not got there. They try and get you to eat microvaved fried chicken (which everyone except me inexplicably did) and the bartender bit Ian on the arm one night.

    Wait, never mind- Do go there.

  2. Wow. I’m not sure which one sounds better.

    I think I have to go to the chicken place now, but I’ll be disappointed if someone in my group doesn’t get bit.

  3. Joes is gone! A fire… over a year ago! How did I miss that?

    Un-Scripted is perhaps the only theater company (improv or otherwise) that doesn’t really drink. I’m not sure how that happened; we’re more likely to go get food. We used to go to Cafe Mason a lot, but not so much anymore. If we do drink, we tend to go to the Hotel Rex across the street or we follow the Playhouse herd down to the White Horse.

  4. Thanks for reminding me about the White Horse. That place was always kind of an actor hangout; I remember going there after some show and seeing the casts of three other shows all at different tables.

    I did notice that after some of the Great Puppet Musical shows, when I asked if anyone was going for a beer, people looked at me as if they’d never heard of such a thing. I just figured nobody wanted to corrupt the puppets.

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