52-year-old North Beach watering hole Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe, commonly known as just Specs', is among the many restaurants and nightlife venues across San Francisco looking for a helping hand to make it out of this economic and public health crisis.
"We would like to reopen and continue our 52 years of drinking, poetry, art, rabble rousing, political and cultural discourse and all that good stuff," write owners Elly Simmons and her daughter Maralisa Simmons-Cook on a GoFundMe campaign that launched earlier this week. "We are reaching out to you, those who love Specs the man and Specs the bar, to enable us to have funds to not go belly up because of this shutdown."
Simmons says that any funds raised — so far they've raised about one-third of their $100,000 goal — will go toward paying employee healthcare, rent, reopening costs, and other essential bills.
Richard 'Specs' Simmons was a bespectacled barkeep at Vesuvio just across the street when he first leased the space that would become his own special corner of North Beach in 1968. He turned it into both a low-key bar and a "museum" for his quirky collection of artifacts amassed during his time in the Merchant Marines, including a stuffed mongoose doing battle with a stuffed cobra, a petrified walrus penis, and a full-sized mummy sarcophagus. There are also various news clippings on the walls, including one about being saved when his sailboat capsized near San Francisco Bay.
He passed away in the fall of 2016, passing the bar on to his daughter who had already been managing it for a number of years, not long after it received "legacy business" status from the city and a new 10-year lease.
"My father believed that a bar was a place where people could come and tell each other stories about their own lives. It was all about the human connection," Elly Simmons told the Chronicle after his death at age 88.
If you love Specs' and want to see it emerge from all this intact, give what you can here.
Photo: Paul S./Yelp