Back when the Knockout was the Odeon, and its bartender got up to some wild shit

The other day we asked for some good fancy cocktail-related anecdotes, and this one, one of the highlights, takes a wild look back in time:

I once sauntered into the legendary Odeon Bar (where the Knockout is now) and asked Flash the bartender to make me the fanciest fancy cocktail he knew.

He poured me a shot of Fernet, then he hopped up on the bar, dropped his pants, put a lit bottle rocket between his cheeks and fired it clear across the room.

RIP that place, am I right?

[The above photo, of Flash behind the bar at the Odeon, by Mike Kepka of the Chronicle, was the first result of an image search for "odeon bar mission sf ca"]

39 Responses to “Back when the Knockout was the Odeon, and its bartender got up to some wild shit”

  1. kiya says:

    I used to have a monthly party there called The Monsters of Yoyo:

  2. native says:

    Remember before it was the Knockout or the Odeon or the Brickhouse and it was just the NiteClub and normal people went there to party with their friends? Yeah, neither does anyone else.

  3. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Odeon was a great bar. I miss it muchly.

  4. kiya says:

    I’m sort of surprised that nobody has mentioned that Chicken John owned the Odeon.

  5. Will F. says:

    Thank god the Odeon is no more. That Chicken John is a sad, tired fucking doucheburner. Glad he disappeared into his dark hole of dirty cyber hippie orgies and fringe “election” candidacies.

  6. moto-waki says:

    richard branson was a bartender at the odeon?
    go figure. i always knew he was in to butt rockets.

  7. Jenner Davis says:

    I used to tend bar at the Odeon. I fucking loved that place. Loved it so much, I wrote this about it:

  8. Tracy says:

    Giving my love to everybody who remembers.. because you were there, you were wonderful and it wouldn’t have been the same without you.

  9. Sean says:

    So if THAT story didn’t win the cocktail-anecdote contest…. which one did?

  10. Jeffy says:

    I once got my dick sucked onstage there at karaoke during the bridge of cyndi laupers “girls just wanna have fun” while the crowd looked on in various faces of shock, horror and amusement. I got off stage right as the final verse kicked in and the girl finished the song. Chicken gave me a free round. I also got shot in the face with a bottle rocket there while singing “American trilogy” by Elvis and got a free round for that too.

  11. Chicken John says:

    The Odeon. We squeezed a lot of living in those 5 short years…

    Shout out to Will F! Hey, I really really want you to hate me more. It pleases me so. Just fills me with joy. Thanks for making my day.

    Jenner I gave you that job because I trusted you. You weren’t too cool, you werent’ trying to prove anything and you didn’t have any pre-conceived notion of what was happening (which means you won’t be disappointed and quit). As far as I’m concerned we all did the Odeon for you. You were the one who probably got the most out of it.

    There was a dark side to the Odeon… booze and drugs took a few good people down. I’ll never own another bar. It’s dirty money. But there were some magical nights. It was a factory that manufactured a product. That product was “anything can happen”. And sometimes that’s exatcly what went down. When it worked it worked like nothign else.

    But many of you don’t know that 3 or 4 nights a week, the Odeon was complely empty. Many shows were devoid of any audience but me. Or Jenner. I still paid everyone. Of course. But it was hard. I was a plumber during the day.

    I swept that sidewalk 1,500 times.

    It seems so long ago…


  12. Shimmy says:

    This thread makes me very glad to live in SF.

  13. Eli says:

    Awesome. Fernet and Butt Rocket is indeed the fanciest cocktail. Does Flash bartend anywhere these days?

  14. Marc says:

    The Odeon is about three blocks from my house. I used to love going to the Chris Karney show on Sundays. As for Chicken John… I greatly appreciate everything he does to make San Francisco more interesting.

  15. Brian R says:

    I SO miss the Odeon. Particularly Monday’s Bad Karaoke Night. I would always go on as “The Other Brian”, because the REAL Brian was just too amazing. He was this incredibly sweet, but clearly developmentally challenged guy who would get on stage and mumble vaguely coherent sounds to a wide variety of pop songs. It was utterly blissful.

    Then there was the time I sang NIN’s Closer while wearing a full bunny outfit. I miss that place so much… Thanks Chicken.

  16. I used to go to the Odeon every Sunday for a year or more to see “The Visceral Variety Show” which was hosted by Scot Nery and Chris Carney (With the occasional assist from Funny Frank Olivier)

    Here’s how much I loved that place – I don’t drink! I never have. I know I didn’t personally give much, financially, to the place. I was poor as fuck! But I did my best to get friends in there every week to try and make up for it.

    I remember when I left for Portland, Scot and Chicken brought me up on stage and they passed the hat for me to help me in my new life. I cried. I was overwhelmed. I got a clown nose and a Canadian Five-Dollar bill.

  17. Erich says:

    The Extreme Elvis Christmas show with all the snow. Miss that place!

  18. Marc ilikeitdark Curcio says:

    The Odeon was def one of the best bars SF has ever been home too, and thanks to Chicken John for that, because I know it was not easy. I especially miss my time there as part of the Chris Karney Show and The Surreal Avengers. Then there were shows with The Barfedders acoustic and also The Stunning Cunts,but maybe that was the Brickhouse days. Too many drinks to remember!

  19. Tara says:

    I know Flash, but I never had heard this story before! Very entertaining article, Thank You! He is a man who is deft with rebuttal. He pours at lots of places, places that I would not want to recommend.