It’s Electric!! (part 2 of 2)

Posted on 12/08/2011

Our bartender, Greg, was personable and prompt with our drinks, selected from the bar’s 4 draft beers and 15 bottles. Prices were quite reasonable,  [Greg at No-Name] with beers in the $4-6 range and glasses of wine for $5-8.

Even at 1 p.m., a pot of coffee was steaming behind the bar, ready to make Irish Coffees ($7) or provide a pick-me-up. An old-timey sign for fresh popcorn was just decoration, but typical bar snacks like peanuts and beer nuts were available.

As we relaxed, Greg told us a little of the bar’s history. The No-Name Bar has been in business a remarkable 52 years, and before that it was another bar, Herb’s Place. Photos near the back of the establishment spoke to this history, with a large photo of prohibition-era protesters marching with “We Want Beer” signs. At Greg’s recommendation, we explored the bar’s back patio, an ivy-topped enclosed garden (pictured; photo by Nancy Mvia yelp.com). At the patio entrance was a photo wall, a collage of sorts showing past customers ranging from a young Clint Eastwood (!) to a regular whom we spotted at the bar that very afternoon.

A [No-Name Bar]  thorough review is not complete without a run-down of the bathrooms, which were not

run-down at all, but pleasantly bright and well stocked with soap, TP, and even hand lotion–a nice touch this time of year. Other thoughtful touches in the bar included bus and ferry schedules posted by the front entrance, free matches, and even a charity of the month, which was collecting food donations in November. The bar also features live music nearly every day, with most performances around 8:30 or 9 p.m., some at 6, and some weekend performances as early as 3. All in all, the cozy atmosphere, friendly staff and customers, and close proximity to the Sausalito Ferry Terminal make the No-Name Bar a great place to relax and unwind after your next trip biking across the Golden Gate Bridge!

The next stop of the day was Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar on 2009 Bridgeway, just under a mile from the No-Name, a journey we opted to take on foot. The walk offered us a chance to see Sausalito at a slower pace, and we passed a plethora of shops and restaurants. Italian, Thai, tacos were among the food offerings, and a small bookstore had a “Be Right Back” post-it sticking to the glass door, indicative of Sausalito’s charming and friendly small-town vibe.

The feel inside Saylor’s was airy and bright, with rich yellow walls and beautiful mosaic light fixtures. Small plants and decorative plates adorned the dining room walls, and the bathroom walls were filled with funny and whimsical signs and posters.

Saylor’s has American and Mexican food, and they had something for everyone in our group. With our taste for seafood whetted by the bayside ride, our orders tended toward fish: calamari appetizers, fish and chips, enchilada with crab, and almond-crusted tilapia tacos, for example. The calamari was deliciously seasoned with a light and crispy batter, and everyone was pleased with their entrees. Even the burger we ordered arrived at a perfect medium, as requested. We received impeccable service from our waiter Jorge, who capably expedited the order of a latecomer who rode over alone and met us for lunch.

After we retrieved our bikes, we continued on the route to Old Mill Park in Mill Valley. We passed by the charming Sausalito houseboat community, checked out shops offering seaplane tours, and merged onto Miller Avenue just before the Tamalpais High School football field. Miller ends at Throckmorton Avenue, where we made a left turn to continue another few blocks to Old Mill Park. After the requisite hugging of redwood trees, we turned back on Throckmorton and stopped at our third and final establishment for the day, Beerworks.

Mill Valley Beerworks has a sleek, modern feel, with pale wooden tables and high-top chairs complemented by dark wood pillars and deep green walls. The ambient lighting included single bulbs hanging from above–though the bulbs were not frosted, the wattage was low enough that the visible filaments had a warm glow, very stylish and not at all harsh. Shelves behind the bar displayed an assortment of bottles and spotless glasses, and white tiles and four large stainless steel brewing barrels rounded out the decor. We sampled some snacks, including an olive bowl and a cheese tasting plate. Our pulled pork slider was served on a dark wooden board, rustic in appearance but thoughtfully sanded and splinter-free, of course.

The food was top-quality, [Beerworks] but what’s really remarkable about Mill Valley Beerworks is their drink selection. We stuck to draft beer, pleased with the variety of options in the expertly-curated list of nine guest brews and one house draft, ranging in origin from Germany to Maryland to, well, Mill Valley! A bottled beer menu is also available; check out their bottle list and draft list to get an idea of their extensive selection. The house beer during our visit was called Morpho, a hopless beer with 6% ABV. Brewed in collaboration with MateVeza, the Morpho brew contained hibiscus and bay leaf, and yerba mate was used instead of hops, giving the beer a flavor reminiscent of kombucha. The menu’s claim of “floral and smoky flavors” and “a clean finish” were spot-on, and though the beer had an unexpected deep pink hue, it was certainly not your average girly drink. (photo from http://millvalleybeerworks.com/)​

Since we were having such a great time at Beerworks, we stayed later than planned and simply headed back to San Francisco from there, rather than continuing the 6.5 miles to catch the ferry in Tiburon. Thanks to the long range of those Stromer electric bikes (up to 40 miles!) we had plenty of options to wrap up our adventure. If you want a bike ride that’s downhill both ways, electric is the way to go!

Our first stop in Sausalito was the No-Name Bar, a cozy, wood-paneled spot across the bike parking and public restrooms on Bridgeway Street. Located at 757 Bridgeway, the No-Name is more dive bar than sports bar—despite three TVs showing a mix of hockey, tennis, and NASCAR, the sound was muted and low music was playing. A variety of sports memorabilia was hanging on the walls, but this decor was outweighed by posters for music, art, and adult beverages.