94-01-21 Hotel Utah
San Francisco, California, America
Live at Sin-e Tour, solo.

Venue History:
Gamblers, thieves, ladies up to no good, politicians, hustlers, friends of opium, goldseekers, godseekers, charlatans, police, fancy miscreants — they all visited The Utah. And that was when South of Market was just a lonely section of the San Francisco waterfront.

After the Bay Bridge was finished in 1936, SOMA came into its own. The saloon was home to longshoremen, merchants, metalsmiths, furniture makers, people from the neighborhood, traffic flowing back and forth between San Francisco and the East Bay.

In the 1950s, Al Opatz presided over the saloon. Al didn’t like neckties. If someone wearing a tie got close enough, Al cut the tie off with scissors. His favorite way to greet someone was to offer them his hand and say “Shake the hand that shook the world.” His clientele were Beat Poets, gangsters, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Bing Crosby, the cocktail generation. He eventually bought the bar in 1966 and renamed it Al’s Transbay Tavern. Al’s Transbay gets a mention in Coppola’s film, "The Conversation."

In 1977, Paul Gaer, who co-wrote the story for the 1979 film "The Electric Horseman," bought the bar from Al. He renamed it The Utah and built a stage to support local music, experimental art, writers, comedy, and theater. Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and the Pickle Family Circus broke it in. It got a reputation — as one of the most generous stages in the city.