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Community, heritage, architecture--oh yes, and stiff pours: these are the hallmarks of San Francisco's Legacy Bars. High Spirits leads readers on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood pub crawl in search of the city's most remarkable nightspots. Atmospheric photographs accompany descriptions of each bar's colorful history, unique architectural features, idiosyncratic owners, and quirky clientele. As we dip into one barroom after another, we see that these establishments function as unofficial cultural centers, offering kinship and continuity amid an ever-changing city; indeed, all of the bars shown are at least forty years old and sites of significant historic or cultural value as deemed by San Francisco Heritage. Whether we are following in the footsteps of Beat writers in North Beach's Vesuvio Café, tossing peanut shells on the floor of The Homestead in the Mission, or selecting jukebox songs (three for a quarter) at the Silver Crest Donut Shop in Bayview, High Spirits welcomes us as regulars at every spot, showing off the conviviality that makes San Francisco one of the great saloon towns.
J. K. Dineen is a metro reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he writes about real estate development, the waterfront, housing, neighborhoods, and land-use planning. He has also been a staff reporter at the San Francisco Business Times, The San Francisco Examiner, the New York Daily News, and a bunch of papers in his native Massachusetts. He lives in San Francisco with his family.