Visiting Vesuvio Cafe
- Address: 255 Columbus Avenue, North Beach
- Hours: Monday through Sunday 6am till 2am.
- Prices: Draft Beer $5, Cocktails $5 and up, Happy Hour Daily.
- Best Drinks: Anchor Steam on Draft, Absinthe, The Jack Kerouac (Rum, Tequila, Orange and Cranberry juice and a Lime).
- Contact: (415) 362-3370 vesuvio.com
Vesuvio Cafe - The Clientele
Vesuvio is the kind of place that is as perfect for discussing politics and brainstorming a creative endeavor with friends as it is for taking a first date or just grabbing an after work brew, and you will likely see all of these scenarios and more if you visit. Vesuvio is also the kind of bar that you can go to alone, as the long bar is made for striking up a conversation with strangers and both the locals and the bartenders are a friendly bunch.
Vesuvio Cafe - The Decor
The walls of Vesuvio are lined with photographs of famous North Beach characters and favorite bar patrons of the past, as well as snippets of beat generation poetry and several semi-famous paintings including Homer Ansley's "Double Exposure" which depicts a couple of tourists snapping pics of San Francisco's landmarks while completely ignoring a nude woman boarding a Cable Car nearby.
The exterior of Vesuvio, as well as adjacent Jack Kerouac Alley, is also adorned with beat poetry and politcal murals and is well worth checking out.
Vesuvio Cafe and the Beat Generation
Read my full article on the history of the Beat Generation.
Poetry readings and live jazz music have been a part of Vesuvio Cafe ever since, and the annual Art in Alley Festival, which takes place in Jack Kerouac Alley and is co-sponsored by City Light Books, the major publisher of Beat works, is an event that keeps the beat tradition alive.
The beat-era was America's first counter-cultural movement, and it launched the later and more famous political revolutions of the 60s and 70s as well as the hippie movement, although it is seldom so recognized. The complete story of the beats and their tremendous influence on American culture can be explored at the Beat Museum, located just across the street.
Vesuvio remains true to its roots, however, and as a bastion of creativity and revolutionary thought, over stiff drinks of course, it remains unmatched in the nation. Come for a drink, stay for the conversation.