A neighborhood really isn't complete without an old man bar. Sadly, in places all over town like the Mission and Hayes Valley, you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere that a wizened older gentlemen who enjoys a 2 p.m. cocktail would feel comfortable and not shoved aside by shove-y young'uns. But, we're happy to say, not every dive bar has been completely co-opted (and therefore ruined) by a new generation trying to order mojitos and fancy whiskey. Below, find our remaining favorites in different, equally dusty corners of the city, where you won't find any nice glassware but you will probably find a squinting old guy down the end of the bar with a seat that has his name on it.

It seems impossible that you can find a real, "normal" bar filled with regulars just steps from Market Street and/or the St. Regis, but believe. The perfect spot for hitting your bottom on cheap booze, watching a Giants game, or getting hit on by a guy as old as your grandpa (or maybe he's only 40 and them's some serious city miles), Dave's is an oasis of reality in an increasingly unreal part of town. Dave's has bartenders, not mixologists, and the bar snacks are filthy pretzels, not a "bite program." If SFist ever has to write a "landlord troubles drives out Dave's" story, just head over to 850 Bryant to bail me out, as I will be RIOTING. —Eve Batey [Update: Somebody better get that bail money together.]
29 3rd Street at Market


The Geary Club
Where do you go when you're already hammered and you think you need one more shot of Fernet at 1:45 a.m.? The Geary Club! The elderly, often drunk barmaids in this quintessential hole-in-the-wall really give the place its charm, and they will arm wrestle you — one of them, East German ex-pat Lillian, gives exactly zero fucks about anything. It tends to get concise Yelp reviews along the lines of, "This place is a shithole... but that's why it's good." In years past, they allowed smoking, but that is no longer, and the crowd tends to be only in-the-know people from the neighborhood escaping busier scenes elsewhere, as well as a few old-timers who tend to cash out early, as old-timers do. — Jay Barmann
768 Geary Street between Hyde and Leavenworth

The Silver Spur: Joshua W./Yelp

The Silver Spur
Fun fact: when I lived at 20th and Lincoln, the Silver Spur was my polling place. That's right, I voted in the 2000 presidential election there, so without disclosing my political biases I'll just say I've always felt that the place was a little bit cursed. The bar's gotten a new owner since then, the umpteenth since it opened in, reportedly, the 40s, but the crowd seems to be the same mix of thousand-year-old men and folks in the nabe for the day (think Outside Lands, SF State kids first week of classes, etc). But this is a place that's impervious to irony, and you're far more likely to sit down next to a guy who's been going there for many many years before Gore invented the internet than next to someone who can't remember life before Yelp. — Eve Batey
1914 Irving St, between 20th and 21st Avenues

Caleb Pershan/SFist

Mr. Bing's
When William Butler Yeats wrote "That is no country for old men" you can be certain he was not referring to Mr. Bing's. A 2014 inductee into San Francisco Heritage's “Legacy Bars & Restaurants” list, the V-shaped bar inside the V-shaped bar at Mr. Bing's has been gathering to it an eclectic crowd since 1967. It's dingy, cheap, and a good place to watch sports or play that weird dice game. People burp loudly at the bar. In 2012 Anthony Bourdain gave it his official seal of approval on The Layover but the crowds, if there were any, have died down. Inside, you will find one infamous painting of a woman playing tennis and scratching her bare ass, which we're told was stolen for a time, but tracked down by Mr. Bing's daughter-in-law, a private investigator. —Caleb Pershan
201 Columbus Avenue between Jack Kerouac Alley & Pacific Avenue

Photo: Tim Lucas

Twin Peaks Tavern
Yes, it's been nicknamed (sometimes lovingly) "The Glass Coffin" in honor of its big windows on the street and its senior-citizen demo. Some of the younger Castro crowd has adopted this place as a first- or second-date spot, or a quiet happy hour spot where you can actually talk, but it remains mostly populated by older gentlemen and the occasional lesbian couple who lounge at the wood-veneer tables with their martinis sharing war stories of the gay ghetto's past. (The place has been a gay bar since 1972, when it was bought by two lesbians, and became one of the first gay bars in the nation to have full windows looking onto the street, earning it landmark status in 2013.) There is, unfortunately, one of those internet jukeboxes that will, in the wrong hands, take the evening in a terrible direction. But nowhere else in the Castro can you get a cheap top-shelf drink and the pleasant aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the vents from Hot Cookie next door. Also, Sandy the cocktail waitress has seen a lot, and she'll tell you so. — Jay Barmann
401 Castro Street at Market

Clooney’s Pub
As the sun rises, so does your blood alcohol level: Clooney's is open at 6 a.m. Dan Lyons, who purchased the place in 1995, says lots of the early bird customers work nights. "We get a lot of nurses and doctors from General Hospital," he told the Chronicle's old man columnist C. W. Nevius "Mail sorters, cabdrivers on the shift change. Their happy hour is 6 to 9 in the morning, not 6 to 9 at night." Justin Navarro's Clooney's popup The Galley, which departed the bar last year, was a favorite, but the place still does breakfast, apparently. — Caleb Pershan
1401 Valencia Street at 25th Street

Behold the International Sports Club. Photo: Adam S/Yelp

International Sports Club
The many angry Yelp reviews for this place tell a tale of entitled expectations dashed that I perversely enjoy. Rarely crowded and never "cool," this is a place that caters to its regulars. That's not to say that you can't become a regular if you want to — but if you don't, that's fine, they'll stick with their standard cast of barstool-sitters, no problem. With a mindbendingly cheap happy hour ($2.50 from 4-8) and doors that open at 11 a.m., it's a neighborhood treasure from a distant era. Grab a good book, take a seat at the bar, and make a day of it. — Eve Batey
1000 Columbus Ave, between Chestnut Street and Houston Street

Photo: Mike W/Yelp

Aunt Charlie's Lounge
Unlike most of the gay bars that used to dot the city outside the Castro, Aunt Charlie's has held on, on a still very sketchy block of Turk Street in the Tenderloin. The place has been a gay bar for at least 36 years (it was called Queen Mary's Pub as of 1979), and for two decades it's been an old-school drag cabaret venue on weekends and alternate Wednesdays, and it's caught on among the hip kids who frequent the Tuesday party High Fantasy and Tubesteak Thursdays (now in its eleventh year). But check this place out on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, and you will get to talk to a few of the well pickled regulars on drink number two or three, before they become non-verbal. Some of these older gents hang around well into the busier evenings, but by the time you find them at one of those hip-kid parties, they'll barely be able to say their own name. They are, with a few exceptions, fun guys to chat up, though, if you catch them early enough. — Jay Barmann
133 Turk Street near Taylor

The Lucky Horseshoe
Formerly Skip's until 2011, the clientele and indeed the Cortland neighborhood are, as the French say, d'un certain âge. Live bluegrass on Sundays keeps the youngs away. Friendly, but not overly friendly staff. Cheapish drinks. Caleb Pershan
453 Cortland Avenue between Wool and Andover Streets

Photo: Meg W./Yelp

Harry Harrington's Pub
It's no coincidence that several of the city's more elderly dives are clustered around the Tenderloin, where their clientele can still afford to live. Harrington's borders Civic Center and you know what you're supposed to do here? Drink. Drink and watch sports. They pour a decent Guinness, there's a random fish tank. And they serve food from a little stand up front, food of the hot dog and meatball sub variety that does not require a full kitchen. It is as divey and intact-from-another-era as they come. — Jay Barmann
460 Larkin Street at Golden Gate

Gangway (photo: Erik Wilson)

The Gangway
Like Aunt Charlie's in another part of the Tenderloin, the Gangway hangs on as a last comfortable spot for the elderly, gay, and lonely of the neighborhood, several of whom will usually be perched quietly at the bar. Late nights here will feature a sketchier set of characters and some tunes on the jukebox. But this is a pleasant place to meet up with friends and pass the time watching the four surveillance cameras monitoring the street theater outside the door. And yes, you'll meet some kooky old characters here, if you can get them to talk. — Jay Barmann
841 Larkin Street near Geary

Photo: Andrew W./Yelp