One of the oldest bars in San Francisco, Old Ship Saloon has a long and interesting history in San Francisco. Originally opened in 1851, a product of the Gold Rush era when people from all over the world flocked the the San Francisco Bay Area with dreams of striking it rich. The influx of people increased the need for housing, restaurants and bars.
The name “Old Ship Saloon” wasn’t chosen because it just sounded cool, the original owners chose this name because the originally bar was literally constructed from the wreckage of an old ship. In early 1849, The Arkansas, a ship sailing in the San Francisco Bay ran aground on Alcatraz Island (way before the Federal Penitentiary was built) and the remains of the ship were taken to San Francisco and dropped in the location where the Old Ship Saloon stands today. The original owners decided to use the lumber from the ship and build a bar right on top of its final resting place. In fact, there were many buildings that were created using abandoned ships and there are still many ships buried under the neighborhoods of San Francisco.
The bar has changed hands several times since it opened and was almost shut down for good in 2016 when long-time owner Bill Duffey retired. Luckily a group came forward that was dedicated to preserving this historic landmark and it is still going strong today. Located between North Beach and FiDi, the bar is a popular spot for happy hours and happy hours with the downtown crowd and a fun, relaxed spot to grab a drink any night of the week.