Toronado‘s jukebox is more like an accessory then a necessity. When I try to get my friends to meet at Toronado, they complain of 2 things: loudness and lack of seating. I respond with one word: “pussies!”
Although never having played it in the years I’ve been a regular, I find the juke to be annoying because I agree, the bar is loud. But on this particularly slow Tuesday, and for the sake of research, I put in a 5 because I didn’t have any change, and it gave me an incredible amount of credits. Hm, I hate when they don’t tell you that there’s already free tunes.
I also wasn’t stoked because though most of the choices are fun stuff that blends nicely with the bar, like classic rock (Van Halen, The Doors, Flamin’ Groovies), metal legends (Metallica, Kiss), and 90’s grunge (Pearl Jam, Nirvana), they left me feeling indiferent. Ok, I guess I’ll play the Immigrant Song. Sigh. Then my friends arrived and we sat in the back room, where you can’t really hear music anyway.
I was ecstatic when a change of scenery became necessary, and we hopped over to Molotovs. I only had a buck left over, so I played 4 songs but wished I spent my $5 here. The juke here had a more punk selection with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the good Dirtbombs album, Dead Boys, The Specials, Pogues and Clash.
I felt transported to my teenage days of hanging out in used record stores, wearing army boots and Pilot Precise eyeliner. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I do want to complain about one thing: their Misfits selection did not have the only bar-worthy Misfits song, Where Eagles Dare.
The clear difference is that at Molotovs the patrons nor bartenders don’t really respond to the music – it’s just background, while at Toronado, bartenders and deep regulars sing along. Both of these jukes aren’t all that worthy to discuss, and for this reason they compliment each other rather well.
Where: Toronado (547 Haight St.)
Good: For weekday and weekend afternoon drinking
Bad: For getting together to talk with friends you haven’t seen in awhile, or friends who want a quiet, sit-down drink and an early bed-time
Where: Molotovs (582 Haight St.)
Good: For feeling like High School.
Bad: It’s good, not great.
Cost: $1.00 for 4 plays, $2 for 7