“We Slake the Thirst and Fill the Belly!”
Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker’s historic saloon is located in downtown San Francisco, near Giant’s Stadium, The Ferry Building, The Financial District, and Union Square.
The bar is an integral part of San Francisco history and a landmark to this unique city. It is also an interactive museum: featuring 40 motorcycles of yesteryear suspended from the ceiling, the finest Tiffany’s lamps illuminating the bar, genuine memorabilia from the history of our great nation, and delectable American and fusion fare. All drinks are hand-made from scratch.
This saloon was established in 1986 by the infamous Henry Africa, inventor of the fern bar and member of San Francisco’s social elite.
“Fern Bar” is an American slang term for an upscale bar or tavern catering to singles, usually decorated with ferns or other “fussy” plants, as well as such decor as Tiffany lamps. The phrase came into common use in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The bars became popular and have metamorphosed into the perversions that are today’s Applebees and TGIFridays.
Henry Africa’s original bar, “Henry Africa’s,” was located at the corners of Vallejo and Van Ness in San Francisco and is credited as the birthplace of the Lemon Drop.
Out-of-work veteran Henry Africa “took the opium den atmosphere out of the saloons,” in favor of “antique lamps and Grandma’s living-room furniture.” Henry Africa’s was one of the most popular watering holes in the city, those who remember it still tell its stories (and it was oft-mentioned in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City.”)
Before Africa, bars were “windowless haunts with a neon martini glass, the kind of place women of good repute wouldn’t be caught dead in.” Africa transformed the art of getting drunk and getting lucky forever. A picture of him hung next to his bar, him in a French Foreign legion hat, with the title “The Perfect Master.”
Africa closed the establishment in 1986 and opened Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker’s. Africa passed away in March 2011, but his legend and traditions remain.