S.G. Browne

Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour – The Nite Cap

At the corner of Hyde and O’Farrell in the Tenderloin district sits the Nite Cap—a no-frills dive bar with about a dozen bar stools, two TVs, a jukebox, a pool table, jello shots, and $5 for a PBR and a shot of whiskey.

On a typical weekday afternoon (yes, writers drink during the week in the afternoon—it’s one of the perks of being a writer) the Nite Cap is fairly quiet with several regulars sitting at the bar. Chances are when you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a “hello” and a smile from the bartender. It’s a friendly place with cheap drinks and good people. At least that’s been my impression the few times I’ve been there.

Admittedly, I’d never been to the Nite Cap until I wrote Lucky Bastard. The first time I went inside the bar was for research, as was the second time. The third time was to take the photos in this blog post. I hadn’t planned on the bar playing a role in my novel until it seemed like a good idea. And that happens in Chapter 33, when Nick Monday walks out the front door of 636 O’Farrell to find his cab gone:

I wait a few minutes for another cab, but the only ones that pass are taken, so I glance up O’Farrell and see the sign for the Nite Cap bar at the corner of Hyde. Not that I’m expecting to find a ride there, but the two pints of Guinness I had at O’Reilly’s and the mocha from Peet’s are kicking around in my bladder like a second-trimester fetus, so I head that direction to make use of the facilities before my good luck starts running down my leg.

When Nick sees the Nite Cap and decides to go there to use the facilities, that’s because when I have him leave 636 O’Farrell (which is a fictional address that just showed up in a previous scene like magic) I needed someplace for him to go next. So I did a Google map search of that block of O’Farrell Street and used a street view to find out what was nearby. It just so happened the Nite Cap was half a block away. So that’s where Nick decided he wanted to go and I followed along to document what transpired.

In real life, I don’t know if the crowd I imagined inside the bar in Lucky Bastard is anywhere close to reality, but then I write fiction so it’s my job to make things up. But every time I’ve gone into the Nite Cap I’ve encountered nothing but good conversation and friendly peeps. Like Courtney here, the bartender who’s been working at the Nite Cap for nearly a year and who was nice enough to pose with my monkey and give him something to drink. Me? I had a Guinness. Naturally.

By the way, you still have time to enter the Name My Monkey Contest on Facebook for a chance to win signed copies of all my books, plus other goodies. (Just click on the contest name for the link). So think up a good name and play before April 16. You might just win.