Barbary Coast Cocktails Have Blear-eyed Men And Faded Women Drinking Vile Liquor*
Preparing Barbary Coast cocktails behind your bar at home may have you mixing up recipes like the Martinez or Pisco Punch. However, there are two cocktails actually named after the Barbary Coast in San Francisco. One (No. 2) is a drink you’ve probably never heard of. The other (No. 1) is an even earlier drink nobody else has probably ever heard of either. But, they’re both worth mining for.
The Red Light District
San Francisco’s Barbary Coast was a lawless red-light district in the late 19th and early 20th centuries started during the California Gold Rush of 1949 and infamous for its seedy brothels, concert saloons, dance halls, jazz clubs, opium dens and vulgar variety shows. Sailors pilfered the moniker from the region in North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) of the same name where the talk of pirates abound in an area also known for its predatory dive bars and houses of ill repute.
The heart of it all was Pacific Street, now Pacific Avenue (shown top), and the approximate size of the entire seething cesspool in its heyday (shown above) is overlaid on a current map running east to west from Montgomery to Stockton and north to south from Broadway to Sacramento Streets, outlined in red. Despised, feared and eventually banned back then, the Barbary Coast is now celebrated with fond memories as part of a walking tour through the city’s historic neighborhoods. Try as they may have at the time to banish it as well, Frisco, the other nickname that arose at the time and became associated with the nastiness, lives on in spirit and is another themed tipple you could order on one of the stops along this promiscuous pub crawl.
Barbary Coast Cocktail No. 2 History
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