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Barely larger than a shack, the First and Last Chance Saloon squeezes a warehouse's worth of history into its tiny square form. Jack London used to drink here - as the many signs, plaques, and other knick-knacks attest - and the walls and ceiling are crammed full of antique Western memorabilia. Merely breathing Heinold's dark, dusty air evokes this bar's 19th Century origins, even if gleaming new high-rise buildings sit mere feet outside the windows. If you can find a spare seat, order a cocktail from the nattily-dressed bartender and return immediately to your table before setting your drink down - because the bar itself slants at a dangerous angle, thanks to the 1906 earthquake's mighty seismic shift.
Heinold's First and Last Chance was originally built in 1880 from the belly of a whaling ship. After several years as a bunkhouse for local oyster fishermen, the tiny one-story building was bought and renovated by former deckhand John Heinold. The current bar looks much the way it did at the turn of the previous century. The saloon's wood floor tilts downward from the front and back walls at a 30-degree angle, while the bar itself slants enough that you're not sure if you should leave your... More »
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