Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on February 26, 2020
Childhood friends team up for relaxed 'neighborhood bar' in ParksidePhoto: Rie W./Yelp

After decades spent behind the stick at other bars in San Francisco, two childhood friends have teamed up to open a new bar in Parkside.

Karl's Beacon (1355 Taraval St.) is owned by Patrick Gallagher and Claudio Luporini, Jr., who grew up in the Sunset and Excelsior, respectively. 

The two friends met as teens while attending Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, and spent many years bartending at spots all over the city — most recently, Maggie McGarry's in North Beach for Gallagher, and Mauna Loa in Cow Hollow for Luporini. 

Gallagher, whose father was a park director and whose mother worked at nearby Tennessee Grill, took over the space after the previous occupant, Dragon Lounge, closed its doors. But he recalls an earlier era for the bar, when it was a neighborhood pub called Fahey's. 

“It was a little neighborhood Irish bar," he said. "Everybody looked after everybody; it was a very comfortable bar for everyone to be in.”

Gallagher and Luporini aim to recreate that vibe at Karl's Beacon, which is named for Carl Larsen, the man who once owned huge swaths of what was then the Outside Lands (and later donated much of them to the city).

The "beacon" refers to a lighthouse in the neighborhood's heavy fog — which, as Gallagher notes, is also known as "Karl" to many locals.

Photo: Rie W./Yelp

The bar has "no creed, no nothing," says Gallagher, and aims to serve all walks of life, from sports fans to those seeking a relaxed cocktail. 

The beer menu is focused on local drafts, and there's a full liquor license, with house specialties like Irish coffees and hot brandies. At 2,500 square feet, the space is sizable, with booths, a private events room and a pool table. 

"We want it to be a beacon in the fog, a beacon to old SF folks," Gallagher said.

For now, hours for the bar are 2 p.m. - 2 a.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Come football season, Gallagher said the bar may open a bit earlier, at 10 a.m.

He'll also consider opening earlier for soccer matches if neighbors are interested, "but for now, we're just feeling it out."