This alley off Bush Street is a real charmer. It isn't glamorous like Claude, Belden or Maiden Lanes but hosts one of my favorite pubs downtown, The Irish Bank. The food is solid Irish cooking which the city could use more of in my opinion. San Francisco hasn't updated its Irish table lately. The newer Gaelic wave of chefs from the island up the ante on superior farmstead cheese, butter, wild trout, salmon, and the elevate the lowly potato into a proper star player.
If memory serves, into the early 1990s The Irish Bank was a gay bar for the after work Financial District crowd.
I haven't tried the Japanese spot on the corner, but it looks good and I love their mural.
Update: I tried the Japanese restaurant, Akiko, the other day. Good food, bold flavors (I especially loved the cucumber & crab salad) but not terrific service. As a single diner, I am easily irritated when I feel overlooked in favor of bigger parties. The Japanese absolutely excel at customer service, so when that doesn't come together, it feels inauthentic. It's possible that the owners are Korean, given the boldness of flavors, and Koreans, if I can speak broadly, aren't that interested in fawning over customers. Neither are the Chinese in my experience. Service, though, is at the heart of a truly Japanese place. I'll give Akiko another try later before I make a final call. Again, great flavors...
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