When Vanessa Garcia took over 7 Mile House in 2004, she wrote the book on the place. As detailed in See You at the 7 — Stories from the Bay Area’s Last Original Mile House (co-authored with Regina Abuyan), her restaurant and bar celebrating its 164th anniversary at the San Francisco-Brisbane border on Saturday has a very checkered past, given the activities of some of its previous owners over the last 164 years.
“Each owner did something illegal,” Garcia laughs “Except for me!”
“There was one owner during Prohibition who got caught transporting whiskey,” Garcia tells Hoodline. She says another owner before that one "was the first one who got an HUI — Horseback riding under the influence."
“There was another owner who used to have illegal slot machines inside 7 Mile House,” she adds. “The owner’s son before me was actually featured on 20/20 in the 90s for housing the largest sports gambling syndicate west of the Mississippi. It was held here at 7 Mile House.”
Not all of the history of 7 Mile House is scandalous, but Garcia will regale customers with those tales at Saturday's 164th anniversary party. The place first opened in 1858, and there were numbered mile houses all the city and peninsula, when a horseback trip from San Francisco to San Jose took about nine hours.
Screenshot: 7 Mile House
“Mile houses were established during the 1850s, during the Gold Rush,” she tells us. “They served as stagecoach stops, pony express routes. They were bars, hotels, and even brothels.”
These days, though, 7 Mile House is a dog-friendly, draft beer and cocktails sports bar with very eclectic cuisine. “We have American, Filipino, Italian, and Mexican food,” according to Garcia. “I like to call it Bay Area comfort food.”
Saturday’s anniversary celebration will kick off with adobo bowls at 11:30 a.m., Garcia will give a presentation on the restaurant’s history at noon, and free t-shirts will be handed out at 2 p.m. It’s not just a celebration of a restaurant surviving COVID-19, but also surviving 164 years, and their vastly improved relationship over the decades with the Brisbane Police Department.
And in that sense, Garcia gave us some personal news.
“Interestingly enough, I’m going to marry their police commander,” she says.
7 Mile House’s 164th anniversary party is Saturday, February 5, at 11:30 a.m., at 2800 Bayshore Blvd., Brisbane, 415-467-2343.