Past Meetup

Oddball SF History + Jameson Whiskey

This Meetup is past

47 people went


Oddball San Francisco History:
Sky High in San Francisco, Skeeball & Playland, Illicit Urban Exploring, and Infamous Crooks

Sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey

Join FlipSide and Jameson Irish Whiskey at the historic 1874 Old Mint for a night that explores the odd and fascinating history in our beloved city. Sky High in San Francisco will explore a brief history of the city's cocktail lounges in the clouds from the world famous Top of the Mark - to several others sky rooms that are all gone. Joey the Cat will take you on a journey from Skeeball's beginning in the early 1900’s, including our very own Playland, to its dominance on the boardwalks and arcades of America. In Illicit Urban Exploring, John Law, will be talking about the joy of getting up the (generally off-limits) bridges, churches, abandoned observation decks, national monuments, and other assorted urban structures. Infamous Crooks is the story of conmen, gambling, prostitution, polygamy, and murder.

Evening Info

Historical presentations by Therese Poletti, Joey the Cat, John Law, and Paul Drexler Specialty cocktails by Jameson Irish Whiskey ( and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale (
Drinks available with $6 donation to the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society (
Docent led tours of the historic 1874 Old Mint vaults Photo booth by UpOutSF ( Skeeball machine available for play with prizes for top scores
Music by the Frisky Frolics (
Food available by Big Chef Tom's Belly Burgers ( and Bombzies BBQ (
And much more!

Evening Schedule

6pm Doors open 7pm Sky High in San Francisco 7:20pm Skeeball & Playland 7:45-8:15pm Break 8:15pm Illicit Urban Exploring 8:35pm Infamous Crooks Presentations

Sky High in San Francisco: A Brief History of the City's Cocktail Lounges in the Clouds: San Francisco has always been known for its stunning vistas. Is there a better way to see the view, if not from a rooftop cocktail lounge, beverage in hand, and high above the city, from a venue like the Top of the Mark or the Sir Francis Drake "Starlight Room"? But as tastes change, recessions hit, and new owners take over, some of the oldest rooftop bars have disappeared, including the venerable Rainbow Room in New York, which started the sky bar trend after the repeal of Prohibition.

San Francisco is not immune. While the city still has one of the most famous of sky rooms in the world - the Top of the Mark - and several others, gone are the sky rooms once known as the Crown Room, the Carnelian Room and the Equinox at the Hyatt Regency. And lost in the 1906 earthquake and fire was the Spreckels Rotisserie, the earliest public sky room in San Francisco from the 1890s. Author Therese Poletti ( will briefly talk about how these rooms evolved from their earliest iterations as the Beaux Arts style private gentlemen's luncheon clubs to the hot drinking spots of the 30s and 40s, to kitsch and tired by the 1980s. A mix of architecture and history, the lecture will also include a few vintage cocktail recipes will be thrown into the mix (or shaker).

The Birth and Boom of Classic Skeeball: Joey the Cat (, two-time National Brewskee-Ball Champion will take you on a journey from Skeeball's beginning in the early 1900s, including our very own Playland, to its dominance on the boardwalks and arcades of America and now, it's resurgence as a social yet competitive sport.

Illicit Urban Exploring: John Law ( was raised in the Midwest and dreamed about bridges from a very young age. He attended the first Suicide Club initiation a year after his arrival in San Francisco in 1976, and through his apprenticeship in that saturnalian cabal came to know many of the world's greatest bridge spans. Other past projects include: co-founding the Burning Man Festival, an event he parted ways with in 1996, and co-founding in 1977 and directing (for 35 years) the Billboard Liberation Front. He is the author of "A Space Between", four short stories about bridges, and co-editor of the upcoming book "Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society (".

Infamous Crooks: Become enthralled with Francis Van Wie, also known as the Ding Dong Daddy of the D Line, who was a polygamist extraordinaire that slyly married 14 different women. His story had many elements familiar today - sex, allegations of crime, local celebrities, and at the center of it all, a infamous Muni streetcar conductor. The tale of Charles Cora, a victim of vigilante justice, is a story of gambling, of prostitution, and murder, but it is also a love story - a story of the first star-crossed lovers of San Francisco. Hear how Henry Meiggs, a visionary and conman, was able to pull off the greatest monetary fraud schemes in the history of the City. Presented by Paul Drexler, a San Francisco based writer, humorist, game designer, crime historian, and founder of the Crooks Tour ( Paul designed and co-produced SFPD Homicide, an award winning interactive true crime game, now used to teach police procedures. In addition, Paul is the founder of the infamous Art Dreco Institute (


$12 General Admission


Contact FlipSide

Email: Twitter

Facebook ( Instagram ( Mailing List (

All Proceeds Benefit FlipSide and The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society

FlipSide, a part of The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, was founded to engage a younger generation of San Francisco history enthusiasts. Through awareness, the ultimate goal is to help foster the creation and ongoing operation of a world class museum in San Francisco’s Old Mint. This National Historic Landmark at Fifth and Mission Streets will be transformed into the San Francisco Museum at the Mint where visitors can experience the stories that shaped San Francisco through state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. All FlipSide events benefit the museum project and include exclusive parties at The Old Mint, Historic Bar Crawls, Lectures, etc.


Go to Attendee List