Comstock Saloon takes you back in time. Named after Henry Comstock and the famous silver discovery, the Comstock Lode, you truly feel that you’ve walked into old nineteenth century San Francisco when you cross their threshold.
The place has a huge antique looking bar, lots of fussy lounge chairs that seem like remnants from a Victorian mansion estate sale, and music. The night we met our friends for drinks and dinner, there was a live jazz band belting out wonderful, spirited tunes. Though sometimes hard to converse, the energetic atmosphere at Comstock Saloon was infectious.
Cocktail bars seem to be making a comeback lately. Certainly you’d believe that with the crowd here. I ordered the classic Manhattan, my “signature drink,” and was delighted. The down side of cocktails is that they take forever to make, so we did have to wait a bit for service. Since we weren’t in a rush and were among friends, this was fairly painless. I can imagine being annoyed in other circumstances.
The menu is small with a focus on fairly traditional, comfort foods. We shared all the “snacks,” which included marinated green olives, a large warm soft pretzel with mustard, BBQ chips with ranch dressing, cheddar crackers with pepper jelly and cream cheese, and hominy fritters. I was ravenous so largely enjoyed these, though the rest of our group was so-so about them.
We skipped appetizers but all tried a main course. A few ordered the cioppino with Dungeness crab, clams and ling cod. Sadly this was a disappointment: simply too watered down with an apparent lack of salt. John’s ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and trumpet mushrooms was a lot more flavorful and was seasoned properly.
We ended up staying for about two hours, enjoying one another’s company, the music and atmosphere. I’d go to Comstock Saloon again, but only for drinks. Perhaps this would be a good place to either start or finish an evening in North Beach.