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One Last Dance: 1941

"Untitled. San Francisco, December 1941." Lunch 30 cents, dinner 40 cents, and a "sandwitch" is 15. Medium format negative by John Collier. View full size.

"Untitled. San Francisco, December 1941." Lunch 30 cents, dinner 40 cents, and a "sandwitch" is 15. Medium format negative by John Collier. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

The "real" location

"The Saloon"? "Connecticut Yankee"? Well... maybe... but I'd like to think it's a little less mundane than those.... That it's "Nick's Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace", and that's Joe and Tom dancing and Lucy Duval sitting at the table. ("Nick's" was really Izzy Gomez's Cafe; I couldn't quickly find a decent picture of it on the web.)

Cost Of Eating

We're talking the equivalent of $3.50 for lunch and $5.80 for dinner.

Connecticut Yankee

Looks like the Connecticut Yankee at the bottom of Portrero Hill.

The Saloon

I couldn't swear to it, but I think this is the legendary Saloon bar in SF's North End. Looks almost the same today.

That mural

In the 20's and 30's there was a "mural movement" in San Francisco inspired by the expansive Mexican murals of the time. There are still a number in the Mission district, but it was (and is) certainly not limited by any boundaries in the city.

This mural looks like it might have been an offshoot of that - maybe an artist paying for their food and drink with a little brush work. It would have been common in those days.

In any case, I haven't seen any mention of it - but unless it was done by an artist who was later famous, it is unlikely we would. There are plenty of famous murals in San Francisco bars and environs though! Rivera's famous works, a mural-sized painting by Maxfield Parish are just two I can think of off hand.

I'm Surprised

That no one has mentioned the two pictures in back of the clock. They appear to have price tags on them. Also, I think this was taken during the Christmas Season. Because the hanging 7-Up sign is decorated with Yule Bells.


The clock is not the only concession to the Arts and Crafts movement's influence. look at those wonderful light fixtures (slag glass in a metal silhouette frames) hanging from chain above the happy couple. Judging by the amount of stuff on the floor, I'll bet this place had great food.

Waiting ...

Was expecting to see one inane "but it's San Francisco" comment after another. But so far, nada.

[They sleep with the fishes. - Dave]

Is dancing free

or do you have to pay 10 cents?

About Right

According to the first inflation calculator I tried, that 40 cent meal would cost $5.90 today. Seems fair considering the venue.

Hey, boys ...

Look, over there in the corner by herself. The young lady with the come hither look flashing a smile at you two. She'd make a better dancing partner and you wouldn't have to argue with her about who leads.

Happy Hour

If that Craftsman style clock over the restroom door is correct, it's 5:06 p.m. The date of the photo, the 15 cent "sandwitches" and the ambiance of the establishment somehow all combined to remind me of a favorite George Price cartoon caption: "It's Ham Hocks Tuesday -- a day that will live in infamy."


I'm intrigued by the mural, top left of this picture. It looks like a nice example of primitive or vernacular painting. It's a long shot, but can anyone out there shed any light on this mural, such as who painted it, when and why? Any chance it is still to be seen somewhere in SF?

Bobby Mordan

Those were the days, all right. Fond memories of times of yore. Rubbing out a cigarette but on a barroom floor. Mission-style clocks. Vintage Coca-Cola signs. My tattooed uncle picking up a lithe young man and letting him lead on the dance floor. Ah, but for the days of my youth.


Too bad we don't know where this was taken; note the mural above the lady. There has to be a story there.

I'd be dancin' too

If I got a full course dinner for 40 cents.

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