Pop’s Bar at 2800 24th Street was named a Legacy Business in San Francisco last month, adding it to the list of over 120 legacy restaurants, bars, and shops currently recognized throughout the city.
Rumor is that Carl Joseph Saxsenmeier, who was known by many as “Pops,” ran a clubhouse where alcohol was served during the Prohibition years. Though there was never any confirmation of this, it was common for Saxsenmeier to be described as a bootlegger — an individual who illegally distributed or sold alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition period.
After Prohibition officially ended, the five-time-married alcohol enthusiast opened Pop’s Bar on 24th Street in 1937. Ever since, the watering hole has poured cocktails, spirits, beers, and wines for patrons looking to quench their thirst inside a no-frills, welcoming bar.
Patrons ordering rounds at the tavern will now be doing so in one of SF’s newest Legacy Businesses.
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“Pop’s Bar is a gathering place for a vibrant and colorful blue-collar neighborhood,” reads a description of the bar in documents submitted for its Legacy Business certification. “We open at 6 am every morning for graveyard shift workers just getting off work. Pop’s Bar is the living room for the 24th Street corridor.”
Established in 2015 by San Francisco, the Legacy Business Program recognizes and preserves longstanding, community-serving businesses throughout the city. To be included in the Legacy Business Registry, program applicants must prove that they have operated in San Francisco for at least 30 years and indicate how they've contributed to San Francisco’s history and identity. If a business’s application is successful, it earns a place on the City registry and its landlord can get benefits for keeping the business in place via long-term leases.
On September 12, Pop’s Bar earned its official certification as a Legacy Business in San Francisco.
“Pop’s Bar has served a range of communities who have lived around this area, which includes an underground bar in the 1930s, an Irish post-World War II flyboy bar in the 1940s and 1950s, to the Calle 24 community in the present,” says the bar. “The business has always adapted its services and targeted patrons based on the business owners of that time to better serve their community.” During the height of the pandemic, Pop’s Bar had local artists and designers design and create their outdoor seating area and parklet.
Pop’s Bar was sold by Saxsenmeier to Jack Pryal in 1941. It’s changed hands a few times over the decades and has been under the ownership of Michael Spike Krouse and Tom Tierney since 2014.