Our mission is to serve the neighborhood and the city as a communal gathering place, 365 days a year, while preserving and promoting history, operating as a Certified Green Business, and providing opportunities to support charities.
ELIXIR is the second oldest continually operating saloon location in San Francisco, making it one of the most historic bars in the country. Just one block from where the Mission Dolores was founded in 1776, we have documented evidence of saloon service on this corner since at least 1858, and it is possible that it goes back as much as another 10 years (before that is highly unlikely). The original Mission Plank Road that connected the outpost of the Mission Dolores with the bustling commerce of Yerba Buena ended at our doorway.
Over the years the bar changed hands and audiences. The original saloon burned down in 1906 and became one of the only bars to be rebuilt in the same place by the same owner after that catastrophe. Today you can see the original 1907 architect’s plans framed and on the walls, depicting the bar (expanded in 1933), the stock room (converted to a women’s bathroom in 1933), the Cigar Lobby (now the dart board area), and the Boot Black Stand complete with 4 seats.
She was called The Hunt-In Club in the 1940’s complete with a neon sign, Swede’s - a merchant marine bar in the 60’s and 70’s, La Bandita - a gay bar in the late 80’s, and Jack’s Elixir Bar - a draft beer mecca in the 90’s, before falling into disrepair and neglect. That’s when I found her.
I was the first Proprietor in 100 years to strip things down, fix them, reinforce them and bring back the beautiful mahogany, redwood and Victorian glory of her bones. I uncovered her story and continue to do so. We were a significant bar in the early days of the recent cocktail revival, and we currently hold tight on the "best whisky bars" lists. There’s a lot more to tell, but you’ll just have to catch me in the bar and ask questions. I love to talk about her with a whiskey in my hand, so come find me. I truly look forward to it!
H. Joseph Ehrmann
Proprietor, 2003 - Present
The cocktail images below are from our current Original Cocktails Menu
Click on them to read about them and then...come in and try them!