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House of Shields

Map & Directions 39 New Montgomery
San Francisco, CA 94105
  • Mon-Fri 3pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am


SF Weekly's Description

"The House of Shields sold a while back," writes Hank Armstrong in the book Saloons of San Francisco. "The layers of nicotine that over the years blackened the walls are gone, the wood restored." That was published in 1982. Yet when new owners bought this venerable downtown bar in 2010, hands were wrung anew at the prospect that promised renovations would destroy its century-old character and whitewash its history. Fear not. The House of Shields remains as it always was: a dusky, dignified, dark-wood-paneled antique saloon where classic cocktails trump contemporary trends. The old blown-glass chandeliers have been repaired, the timeworn tile floors cleaned, and the bronze statues polished - not that you'd notice with the perennially low light levels - and the outside neon that once advertised live music now simply promises cocktails within. Everything else is much as it was when the House of Shields opened in 1908. Far from being reimagined, the "new" House of Shields has simply been refreshed.

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Tips from foursquare

  • AskMen on 01/07/11

    Stepping in here feels like stepping back in time, & the strong pours & lack of televisions help the illusion.

  • SF Weekly on 05/24/11

    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 Winner – Editorial Pick – BEST OLD-SCHOOL BARThis comfy, classy rendezvous is even more welcoming since last year's careful, loving six-month restoration…

  • Schlomo R. on 03/31/09

    make Schlomo buy you a drink.

  • Tim V. on 10/17/12

    Supposedly until 1976 the place was a gentlemen's club where women were not allowed (unless they were prostitutes). http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/2010/01/financial_district_saloon_the.html

  • Steve R. on 07/19/12

    Stepping in here feels like you're going back in time. To an era where people were old and ugly. They carried on with uncomfortable conversation about their startups and hairlines...

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