Tommy’s Joynt and Lefty O’Douls, Hofbraus of San Francisco
Both Tommy’s and Lefty’s are as old school as it gets. If this was the South, you’d have gone here after Church as a kid on Sunday. But in SF these places have bars and sports and that smell of old school. You can sense the history the minute you walk through the front door; that and the smell of fresh cooked and ready to carve meats. It’s West Coast Cafeteria and it has the feel of the Barbary Coast. There is probably a Giants game playing on a fuzzy ass tv. You know…the kind with two dials (UHF and VFH). Wood paneling abound as if it were you Uncle Bob’s den. You don’t need a menu…just point!
Both are named for famous San Franciscans – Tommy’s for Tommy Harris, a singer, bandleader and man about town; Lefty’s for Lefty O’Doul, who hit .398 with the 1929 Phillies and managed the San Francisco Seals for what seemed a hundred years.
Tommy’s Joynt has been around since 1947 and Lefty’s since 1959, when O’Doul got out of baseball.
Actually, both places are the creation of Al Pollack, a restaurant man (the Red Chimney, the Leopard Cafe, the Main Stem, the Shadows, the Brass Rail). Pollack was the Leonardo da Vinci of West Coast-style hofbraus. “A place for the working man,” said Nick Bovis, who owns Lefty’s.