Bars of the Mission: Bender's Bar

Bender’s after their fire. (Don’t worry, they’ve remodeled and reopened.) Originally Uploaded by mission75

Bender’s Bar is a bar in the Mission that is normally overlooked because of its “far away” location at 19th and S Van Ness (it’s around the corner from Beauty Bar). This is the perfect place for curing those Happy Hour Blues. Happy Hour Blues are when you and your coworkers go for a drink at a bar you would never set foot in if you weren’t going to happy hour with your coworkers. It’s hard to all go out for drinks at these places because: 1) either you’re a dive-bar drinker (Bud, Fat Tire, Jack Daniels), or you’re a beer nerd (Death & Taxes, Celebration, Old Portrero) and most happy hour places only cater to one or the other; 2) Happy Hour Bars also are usually cramped in the first place, but 3) then you add 4-8 people in your crowd trying to talk over and to one another, crawling over people to get drinks, and you ultimately end up sitting cramped in the corner talking to only one person instead of a few — and isn’t Happy Hour a team-building experience?

Bender’s is nothing like a Happy Hour Bar, but it would be perfect for Happy Hour crowds. For starters, it’s HUGE. There’re lots and lots of booths, tables and long booth seating. There’s a great selection of divey and beer nerd drinks (Johnny, the owner and bartender is a long-standing and respected employee at the world-famous Toronado). There’s also good cheap bar food! I hate when you wake up after a happy-hour drink-turned-binge-drinking night with rot gut.

I propose that Happy Hour crowds travel just a little to a great bar instead of the closest, mediocre financial district/SOMA blah. Bender’s is only three blocks from BART, and if someone doesn’t want to walk those three blocks, you probably shouldn’t be drinking with them.