For generations, San Francisco has been home to a vibrant business community that occupies an essential place in the stories and rituals that define the city. At the core of these businesses are the bars and restaurants that for decades have attracted locals and visitors alike for a taste of the city’s unique flavors.
“Legacy Bars and Restaurants” is Heritage’s new educational initiative that invites users to experience the history of some of San Francisco’s most legendary eateries, watering holes, dives, and haunts. This online guide is the first of its kind to celebrate iconic establishments that contribute to the culture, character, and lore of San Francisco. Recent threats to local institutions like the Tonga Room, Tosca and Gold Dust Lounge underscore the need to develop new strategies for protecting places with intangible cultural significance. “Legacy Bars and Restaurants” documents the city’s vast culinary heritage and promotes businesses that do not necessarily qualify for formal historic designation.
Heritage has identified 25 restaurants and bars for the first round of the project, with over 100 establishments to be added over time. Located throughout San Francisco, these businesses 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.