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One of the things I love most about Zeitgeist in San Francisco is that every time I listen to Kanye West’s “I’m in It” and hear him rap “Uh, pop a wheelie on the Zeitgeist” I think of this bar. This was the first bar I went to on my first trip to San Francisco, and it left an impression on me that can only be quelled by going there more often. The beauty of Zeitgeist is how well its general feels are taken to another level by its design—the inside screams “old-school metal bar” but quickly opens into an outdoor area peppered with long wooden tables. On weekends the outdoor area is usually packed with an assortment of characters straight out of a Wes Anderson movie if Wes Anderson made a movie about San Francisco. I’ll always remember how on my second time here, I watched a dude roll a joint with the girth of a cigar while eating takeout pancakes and conversing with a group of skaters to this left. I would have been astounded if not for how nonchalant this balancing act was. San Francisco, am I right?

I’ve read that some people think Zeitgeist is a douchey bar because it’s full of young people who see the place as a sanitized reminder of the griminess and edgeness that used to flow through this part of San Francisco. But, even if that was true, so what? The Zeitgeist is a great bar because over the course of its 42 years, it has molded to the changing demographics of the area without ever turning its back on why its been open longer than most of its patrons have been alive.

Zeitgeist was my introduction to San Francisco, a city that prior to my first visit was nowhere close to the top-ten list. After walking through the doors, hearing the deep rumble of a Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” reverberating through the inside, and seeing a vibrant backyard outside, I felt like any place that could sustain that is special.

Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103 is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Feature image from the Zeitgeist Twitter.

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