100 Connecticut Street, home of The Connecticut Yankee, has been the site of various watering holes since 1907 when it opened as “Hilda’s Saloon.”
Hilda and her husband, Giovanni Salvotti, built the business by hand using wood from a post-1960 earthquake Red Cross recovery shack. The saloon was also a boarding house that offered a four-course meal with wine for 25 cents. Hilda made the wine in the basement.
Hilda later divorced Giovanni and managed the business herself. During Prohibition, she leased it to Terry and Johnny Murnane. The Murnanes ran a bootlegging operation in the saloon’s basement and a speakeasy in the upstairs apartment next door. In 1924, the federal government padlocked the saloon for six months.
In 1926, Hilda passed away, leaving the business to her sons, Jules and Emil. The brothers renamed the bar “Salvotti’s” and ran it as a lunch room for 47 years. In 1975, Jules sold the business to local artist and former art director of Rolling Stone magazine, Robert David Kingsbury, and Kingsbury’s partner, Charles Michaels. The business was changed into a restaurant and named “Connecticut Central.”
The saloon changed hands and names a few more times in the mid-1980s, and in 1988, Fritz Frisbie and a partner sold their baseball cards to buy the saloon, renaming it The Connecticut Yankee. Current owners The Pour Guys took over ownership in 2015, and has retained the bar’s status as a home base for New England Patriots/Boston Red Sox/San Francisco Giants fans.
Thanks to #SFLegacyBiz The Potrero View for the history! The Connecticut Yankee would make a great candidate for San Francisco’s Legacy Business Registry.