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Blog: Where Can I Get a Drink?

As commerce expanded, so did the list of local saloons and breweries.
Alhambra Pub

As the Peninsula began to develop, specific industries such as lumber, construction, shipping and tanning began to flourish.

Each of these required hard-working, able-bodied men. Without them, none of said industries would survive.

Other industries became a natural outgrowth of the aforementioned ones- the saloon and brewing industries spawned.

As commerce expanded, so did the list of local saloons and breweries.

Many establishments also included bath houses where a hard-working guy could get cleaned up...for a price. Then, he could head to the nearest saloon and engage with others, enjoy a nice meal and put down a drink or two, again for a price.

One establishment, the Snug Saloon, offered a barber shop as well. The entire treatment (i.e., bath/shower/haircut) was available for 25 cents.

At one point, as many as 30 saloons were doing business in Redwood City.

One of the most frequented of the local hangouts was the Poplar Saloon. Its owner, William “Billy” Calahan, was rather enterprising. His place offered two billiard tables and an oyster bar.

Down the road, about a mile from the downtown places, was a neighborhood known as Five Points. Due to its relatively isolated location, one must be careful in this part of town.

An example of life in this area took place in 1885 when saloon keeper Joseph Hidalgo was shot and killed by a patron at the Central Saloon.

Another well-known establishment was Bernasque. In addition to serving French food, ‘discrete’ lodging was offered.

The saloon business in Redwood City kept hard-working men entertained and fed for many years. These establishments gave rise to several breweries, which we’ll discuss later. Stay tuned...

Everything else is just history

Dan Calic

About the Author: Dan Calic

A product of Goodwin (JFK), Henry Ford, Roosevelt, Sequoia High and Canada College, Dan has deep Redwood City roots. He’s witnessed Redwood City transform from a sleepy peninsula town into a thriving high-tech hub.
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