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Vesuvio Cafe, San Francisco

4.3
Vesuvio Cafe is a historic bar in North Beach, San Francisco, California. Located at 255 Columbus Avenue, across an alley from City Lights Bookstore, the building was designed by Italian architect Italo Zanolini and finished in 1916.
The bar was founded in 1948 by Henri Lenoir, and was frequented by a number of Beat Generation celebrities including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady, as well as other notable cultural figures such as Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Rodger Jacobs and Francis Ford Coppola. In the 1970s, the bar was sold by Lenoir to Ron Fein, who died in 1985, and is still operated by the Fein family along with Janet Clyde, Christopher Clyde, and manager emeritus Leo Riegler.
The common alley shared with City Lights was originally called "Adler" but was renamed "Jack Kerouac Alley" in 1988. The alley was refurbished and converted to pedestrian only in 2007.
Vesuvio is open every day of the year, Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m, Saturdays and Sundays 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.
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Vesuvio Cafe Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
269 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Great bar to chill in for a beer. Quirky decor and oozes history. Friendly and polite service. Will visit agin next time we are in town. Well worth a visit.  more »
  • We found this place Purley by accident on walking to our hotel from Fishermans Walk the other day. It’s a lovely bar that is oozing character and personality with a nice selection of local beers was g...  more »
Google
  • Vesuvio is one of the oldest bars in San Francisco, and it has a whole lot of charm. No wannabe hipster bar tenders here, just a good bar, with a nice environment. Stepping into it you feel like you're stepping into a time capsule of sorts. Tons of posters, shadow boxes, and art cover the walls, the light fixtures are old (not just made to look old) and it seems like a good place to bring a book for an afternoon or catch up with a really old friend. Vesuvio will definitely be a place I visit for years to come.
  • Cocktail waitresses took a while but then again, the place was packed. Next time I'll order two drinks at a time. I'd definitely go back. Read up on the history if you care to. It's fun. The crowd was a little younger than I remember. Sometimes I like to go where the geezers dwell. This night they weren't here but I recall being in here when there was a substantial amount of baby boomers and the vibe was pretty cool. Either way this place will get you some SF History and you can get drunk too which can be a bonus. Maybe you'l make sweet love to a friend or stranger. Maybe you get in a fight or land in the gutter or in jail. Maybe you'll lose your job and your family. I'm not bitter. In the beatnik spirit you have to show up to find out. Life..... show up. Oh yeah, get your silly face out of the phone and look around. Talk to a stranger.
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