Note, this is a collaborative post authored by both Missus and Mister Flannestad.
Aside from Old Bus Tavern, the place you are most likely to find the Missus and myself on a Friday night is The Dark Horse Inn on Geneva near Mission St in the Excelsior District.
Our exceedingly cool next-door neighbors also find themselves there on a regular basis, so we recently plotted to head there together to celebrate our shared discerning local expertise. It was great fun to enjoy the glee of their 5 year old son as he raced to the door in anticipation of the Dark Horse Inn’s secret kid’s menu item “chicken fingers”. It was also hilarious when, in the spirit of buying rounds, we ordered him another glass of milk and he sighed, “I don’t need ANOTHER milk” when it was delivered. It was not a double milk kind of night.
Last Friday night, we had the good fortune of being spotted at the bar by another friend (and a longtime Dark Horse regular) who graciously waved us over to join him and his wife at their table. It turned out to be a wonderful night of trading stories, Midwestern brat haus experiences, and shared musical interests. It was only after we realized that there were others waiting on our table, that we were able to tear ourselves away, and depart the good company. On our way out we traded hellos and hi-fives with another regular at the bar who laughingly accused us of stalking him.
It’s this sort of friendly neighborhood atmosphere that reminds me a lot of the Taverns and Bars that the Missus and I grew up with in Wisconsin.
Dark Horse Inn keeps their beer taps filled with tasty and interesting local beers like Epidemic Ales’ Brain Bash, Local’s Hetch Hetchy IPA and St. Florian’s Bella Rosa Engine Stout (find Dark Horse’s always evolving tap list on BeerMenus.com). They also have a very good beer bottle list.
(For those of you for which only hard liquor will do, note The Dark Horse Inn is Beer and Wine only. Plan ahead, or bring a flask, if you really need a post work Martini or Manhattan.)
Most of all, their hamburger is our current favorite in San Francisco. The Missus, (a beer geek who enjoys the eclectic tap list and evil eyes anyone at the bar who ignorantly orders an Old Style,) argues it’s consistently the hands-down BEST BURGER IN SF! They also offer unique daily salads, custom burgers, and other specials advertised via Instagram teasers. Chicken & waffles! Sunday night dinners! Brisket! We need to step-up beyond our regular Friday night visits to take advantage of these opportunities in deliciousness.
The non-alcoholic drink list isn’t fancy, but provides good options for grown ups, (even if the Mister would rather not have the taste of rose petals in his lemonade). Also, the free re-fills on regular non-sugary iced tea is an (un)sweet deal.
The Mister’s current go to non-alcoholic beverage is Milwaukee’s finest root beer, Sprecher Brewing, available at all times.
There are many options at the Dark Horse Inn beyond beverages, whether sitting alone at the bar or with a table of your ten best friends. Along w/ a few TV sets airing sports games there is always one screening esoteric film classics. What a pleasant array of options!
Whether you are craving a burger, the “Kimchi Reuben” (made with house smoked pastrami), interesting beer, good company, or all of the above, The Dark Horse Inn is a great place to go. Sit at the bar. You’ll probably make some new friends.