In these days of economic uncertainty and financial instability a shabby chic neighborhood bar is a solid alternative to other locales that charge you at the door and gouge you at the bar for the privilege of being part of their scene. This past Saturday the boyfriend and I were both feeling a tight pinch in the wallet area, and yet we still wanted something to do that made us feel part of the world without having to put up too much of a front. We set out after dinner and Scrabble to walk Kitty home through Noe Valley and wound up going down 24th Street to The Attic. It's not the most amazing bar in the world, but it is certainly a comforting hole in the wall.
Sitting in a back booth I said "you know, I'd hate to see what this place looks like in natural light." The interior is black walls and red lighting, with visual variety provided by years of silver marker graffiti and punk band stickers. The tables and chairs look like they were bought individually at garage sales, and I was loathe to examine the condition of the vinyl in our booth too closely. In one corner hangs a painting that appears to be a Venetian canal with the head of a Conquistador hovering over the horizon. Altogether the decor makes me think of a subterranean den of ill repute with a dash of art student whimsy.
I liked the music better the last time we were there - on this visit we we were, as now seems to be the fashion for bars and clubs across the San Francisco scene, transported back to the 70s, though this time it was more the realm of AC/DC than Sylvester, and I swear the DJ was Napolean Dynamite. I had a hard time figuring out if I was supposed to be enjoying this set of Monster Rock of the 70s un-ironically, or ironically, or un-ironically ironically, but after the second drink I gave up trying to decide and just sang along with the ones I knew as the mood struck me.
The absolute best thing about The Attic after walking past the douche bars of Noe Valley was not having to put up with drunk yuppies, who would have only made me feel even more destitute, in a bar so crowded I wouldn't even have been able to sit down, much less have a conversation. The Attic is definitely a mid-Mission hipster haunt of choice, and I saw a crowd composed of gay boys, unfortunate mustaches, girls in horn-rimmed glasses, and all the other sorts of people who, like us, were looking for a cheap sociability on a Saturday night. It wasn't the biggest scene, or the most cutting-edge, but I liked it well enough on a second trip to think it might become more of a destination in the future.