Sunday, December 3, 2017

High and Dry at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon

Oh sure...now Heinold's is open!

I stood out front the bar
That Jack London drank in,
That Robert Louis Stevenson drank in,
That Joaquin Miller drank in,
And I was thirsting for
A nickel beer or a dime whiskey
That the bar was famous for.

My mouth watered with the notion
Of spirits to be imbibed,
Of nostalgia to be soaked in
But Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon
Was closed this Sunday morning.

I'd have to make due
With a poem or two
to whet my appetite.


— Mark Butkus


Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon was built out of the timbers of an old whaling ship in 1883. It still stands today as a cultural landmark in Oakland's Jack London Square. Other than the writers mentioned in the poem above, Heinhold's also entertained President William Howard Taft, Robert W. Service, Charles E. Markham, Earle Gardner, Erskine Caldwell, Ambrose Bierce, and Rex Beach among many others who dreamed and wrote about adventure and far off places.