It’s always when it’s freezing cold that my Jukeboxin’ adventure fails, and I’m stuck walking around looking like a crazed person, swiftly going into bars, scanning for a juke, then dramatically turning on my heel  and walking right back out.

I scheduled a trip to Route 101 based on Yelp reviews (how many god-damn times have I told myself never to trust Yelp, and still…) for when I was actually planning on being in the neighborhood. I thought “this will be great, I’ll have a place to chill with a beer before this press screening.”

On Monday, after a month of being sick, spraining my foot and having the normal blah of January, I decided to go in for a colonic. So my Route 101 day was also day one of a vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, alcohol-free life, and my plan became to go to Route 101, have a bubbly water or cranberry juice (“What, do you got your period?), and to get the press screening over with so I could go home and cry into my pillow.

I walked into Route 101, it’s warm, smells like a bowling alley, and said “hi” to the bartender, still unsure what what to order … then I see this internetjuke monstrosity. Not only that, but it was modeled to look like a fancy new jukebox with CDs. Fucking shit-eating grin jukebox.

I had some time to kill, so I went to Polk Street, knowing there’s lots of bars I can peek my head into. I contemplated going into Koko’s, the only bar I regularly go to in this area, but I know for a fact they do NOT have a jukebox.

During my spontaneous walk, I looked through the windows of McTeague’s Saloon, which looks like a fun place for a jukebox. Two older ladies at the bar gave me annoyed looks. No jukebox.

I moved onto Blur, another place I thought had one. But they have a kitchen.

I then remembered that The Hemlock has a jukebox, and knowing they are music appreciative, I decided that this would be my fallback since Route 101 was a failure. So I waltz in to blaring music, a less sausage-festy atmosphere than normal, assuming that the jukebox would be a normal staple. Nope! Turned off. But — it’s free. When it’s on.  Whenever that is.

Being grouchy, cold, and totally disappointed, I ended my search.

This is a great demonstration of what it’s like to try to find a jukebox in bars that are not prescribed to one demographic: “hipsters”, “mission district”, “dive” “douchebags who go to R Bar“, “Chinatown”.

It’s becoming harder and harder to find real jukeboxes, because bars are giving up “real,” curated jukes for internet ones, or bars that you like and think should have jukeboxes don’t. It’s a shame.

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