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“Legacy Bars and Restaurants” Debuts Online

House of Shields
House of Shields, photo courtesy of

Heritage is thrilled to unveil “Legacy Bars and Restaurants,” a new educational initiative that invites users to experience the history of some of San Francisco’s most legendary eateries, watering holes, dives, and haunts. The interactive online guide is the first of its kind to celebrate iconic establishments that contribute to the culture, character, and lore of San Francisco.

In the wake of the unsuccessful Gold Dust Lounge Landmark nomination last spring and recent threats to local institutions like the Tonga Room and Tosca Cafe, Heritage resolved to explore alternative methods of recognizing and protecting places with intangible cultural significance. “Legacy Bars and Restaurants” is an attempt to celebrate the city’s vast culinary heritage and to promote businesses that do not necessarily qualify for formal historic designation.

Staff, along with the Heritage Education Committee, identified 25 restaurants and bars for the first round of the project. Located throughout the city, these establishments have achieved longevity of 40 years or more, possess distinctive architecture or interior design, and/or contribute to a sense of history in the surrounding neighborhood. The online guide includes historic photographs, ephemera, and a brief history of each business, as well as a map of all the locations.

Buena Vista_hist3
Buena Vista Cafe, photo courtesy of

In all, the roster of iconic businesses includes over 100 bars and restaurants, which will be added to the guide over time. To read an article about the project in the San Francisco Chronicle, please click here.

Stay tuned for additional updates on the project, including special events in the coming year to celebrate this facet of San Francisco’s unique heritage!




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