A friend and I decided to venture out to the Richmond district in hopes that there might be hidden jukebox gems. First stop was the 540 Club, in which Yelp reviewers said it had a kick-ass juke. Yes, I’d like to kick that reviewer in the ass. IT WAS AN INTERNET JUKEBOX!

So we walked to Trad’r Sam’s: INTERNET.

Then The Hearth: real jukebox, unplugged.

Then Would You Believe?: INTERNET.

Next, The Nag’s Head: Unplugged.

We
started bitching profusely about 1) do not rely on Yelp reviewers who
say jukeboxes are great and 2) the death of the real jukebox and 3) it
was fucking freezing cold.

It was Friday night at 7pm and we hadn’t had any alcohol so we both were super bitchy. We saw Tommy’s
in the distance and ducked in to slurp down a margarita, warm-up,
complain some more, and think about our next move. We almost went back
to Pittsburgh’s, but we were not going to give up without a fight. By this time, we
were also pretty sick of each other and called for some man back-up at our next location, wherever that may be.

As we left Tommy’s, way happier than before, my friend remembered a
bar that she knew had a real jukebox! We hopped on some bus (and during
this time I saw a cool chair on the street and for a minute, tried to
figure out how to take it on MUNI), and BAM, there was Underdogs.

We ran in, saw the juke, hopped up and down while screaming “YES! OMG!
A REAL JUKEBOX”. My friend was taking off her jacket (while hopping) so
enthusiastically, she actually punched a girl standing behind her, in
the face. We apologized profusely “Sorry, we were just so excited about
the jukebox!” The victim questioned our response but took it like a
champ, and we sat down on one of the picnic benches in the back,
immediately ordered a pitcher and chips, and ETA’d our men.

pitcher.jpgOnce we got settled and ordered the fucking amazing gringo food of The Taco Shop, I went for the juke and whipped out some Blondie,
BeeGees, War, Pulp Fiction, Stones, and Queen, while other choices in
my group included Tom Petty, Weezer, and Neil Young w/ John Fogerty.  I
was surprised at how loud the songs were – just right for being able to
hear the songs, but still maintain fun conversation.

It’s a great jukebox for the atmosphere, which is very LA. A little
sports bar-ish, surfer with bright lights but not gross unflattering.
Perfect for a few pitchers and talking about how great the Pulp Fiction
soundtrack is, that it shouldn’t be a soundtrack. I also shot some
hoops and “played” Galaga.

What: Underdogs (1824 Irving Street)
Good for: A real jukebox in a district where jukeboxes are dying.
Bad for: Girls not looking to get punched in the face.
Cost: ? Don’t remember, too excited to care. ($1=3 plays, $2=7, after that I don’t remember EB)

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  • Greg Dewar

    Underdogs has really turned itself around, ever since they became “The Taco Shop at Underdogs.” Before it was a bar I’d walk by but not in, but now it’s great. The food is awesome, they make good margaritas, and that bathroom is the cleanest public restroom in the fucking world. And yeah, the jukebox and galaga too!

  • troymccluresf

    It’s Trad’r Sam. The internet juke is a fairly recent development, and I hesitate to say a bad one. If you’ve spent any significant time there before- and I lived a block away for 17 years- you can never hear Mambo #5, Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, or It Wasn’t Me without thinking of Trad’r Sam, for better or worse..

  • Xenu

    Protip: the reviews on Yelp are worthless because they’re written by idiots.

  • Eve Batey

    Greg, next time I see you remind me to tell you my CRAZY ASS story of my 9/11/2001 at Kimo’s (the bar that was there before)