Walk into St. Mary's Pub (3845 Mission Street) any day of the week and you're likely to find a bustling atmosphere with pool cues flashing and records spinning.
The historic bar, which was added to San Francisco's Legacy Business Registry in January 2019, has long been known for its regular trivia and live music nights, and has recently added even more events to its calendar, including movie screenings and bingo games.
Eleven months ago, if you asked business owner Maria Davis whether St. Mary's would be where it is today, the answer would’ve been unclear.
At the beginning of the year, St. Mary's faced an uncertain future when its building went up for sale. In an interview with Hoodline in January, Davis explained that she had tried to purchase the building in an effort to secure the bar's future, but was unable to raise enough funds to meet the asking price. As the building's owner searched for a buyer, she prepared for the possibility of an imminent rent increase that could put St. Mary's out of business.
However, Davis refused to give in. In a recent conversation with Hoodline, she explained that she was able to secure a loan from the Small Business Administration and purchase the building along with her friend Shawn Tighe. The sale was finalized in August.
"It took a year to make it all happen," she said, but the end result was worth it. "We had a lot of community support from our patrons and neighbors."
Many of those community members may have been unaware that while ensuring the bar's future and keeping operations running, Davis was also busy working on another project.
St. Mary's Pub is known for its variety of Bloody Marys, which have earned accolades from SF Weekly and USA Today. Enthusiasts can find seven different varieties of the spicy, tomato-based drink every "Sunday Bloody Sunday" at the bar.
Together with her sister Marta Davis and longtime friend Amy Rothbauer, Davis set out to perfect a Bloody Mary mix that would let her share the bar’s signature drink with a wider audience.
They launched a GoFundMe campaign in 2017 to kickstart the effort, which raised $2775. The project was delayed, however, when a co-packer went bankrupt, leaving the trio without a way to package and distribute their mix. According to an update on the GoFundMe campaign, the three founders decided they would meet the challenge head-on by packaging the mix themselves and contracting with a commercial kitchen to meet FDA standards.
Despite the "hiccup," as Davis describes it, the effort has finally paid off with the release of Three Sisters Bloody Mary Mix.
According to the Three Sisters website, every ingredient in the vegan-friendly mix has been carefully chosen, "from the fresh horseradish, the zesty fresh lemon/lime juice to the spicy hot sauce. Just add one shot of 'holy water' (your booze of choice), ice, and you're good to go." The mix can also be used for Micheladas or non-alcoholic drinks.
In celebration, St. Mary's Pub will host a launch party this Saturday, December 14. Attendees can enjoy free samples and music by DJ Breakfast in Bed, while those looking to "give the gift of amazing brunch cocktails" can purchase a bottle of Three Sisters Bloody Mary Mix from the makers themselves.
If you're unable to make it to the event, Davis says to keep an eye out for the Three Sisters mix on shelves at local supermarkets and specialty food stores soon. It will also be available for purchase on the Three Sisters website, and of course, at St. Mary's Pub.