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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Year-Old Comstock Saloon Revives an Ancient Practice: The Free Lunch

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 10:15 AM

click to enlarge THE BOLD ITALIC/FLICKR

Comstock Saloon fits its odd little corner at Columbus and Kearny so well you might think it's been there since 1907, the year the building was constructed. (A cynic might credit any confusion to the potency of Comstock's drinks, which SFoodie can attest to.) The décor, the food and cocktail menus ― everything fits together so well it's hard to believe Comstock has been around just shy of a year.



Tomorrow ― Friday ― the saloon officially marks its first year with a day of music, $4 shots, $3 Anchor Steam beers, and the revival of a tradition from the Barbary Coast era: free lunch. It was common practice in San Francisco saloons during the 19th century, a patron buying drinks was fed a hot meal as a means to encourage regular visits. As the temperance movement picked up steam, these amenities were blasted as window dressing to disguise saloons' real purpose ― facilitating hard drinking. From most accounts, though, patrons were genuinely interested in the food.

With Comstock having made our 2011 Best Of San Francisco list as one of five great bars to grab a meal, we plan on enjoying the offer of a hot one on the house with the purchase of two full-price drinks. Tomorrow's food offering: the Hamburg steak.

Comstock's free lunch will continue as a standard midday offering Monday through Friday (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), a different dish each week. Pair it with a couple of Pisco Punches ($10) and you'll have a three-course feast.


Comstock Saloon: 155 Columbus (at Kearny), 617-0071.

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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