AND GOOD STORIES
Next came the decade of the American Dream. In the 1950s, Al Opatz presided over the Saloon. Al didn’t like neckties. If someone wearing a tie got close enough, Al made his move and 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”. World shakers like beat poets, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Bing Crosby bent elbows with gangsters and the cocktail generation. Al eventually bought the bar in 1966 and renamed it Al’s Transbay Tavern. Al’s Transbay gets a mention in a Coppola film, “The Conversation.”
Bring it to 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. San Francisco loved it, and Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and the Pickle Family Circus broke it in.