Some of the dart champion pseudonyms commemorated on the plaques in Broken Record are so problematic that they should come with trigger warnings. Sitting about halfway between City College of San Francisco and Daly City's Bayshore neighborhood, this Geneva Avenue watering hole occupies a corner of San Francisco that appears on no postcards and is mentioned in few tourist guides. The wall paintings of buxom women look like they came off the sides of World War II warplanes, and a local photographer's works are on display featuring subjects such as a pit bull lounging on the hood of a Cadillac El Dorado. Originally from Portland, Ore., bartender Brett Davis has lived in the Bay Area since 2005. Before coming to Broken Record, he worked as a music analyst for a now-defunct startup that was similar to Pandora.
How did you wind up working at Broken Record? I was walking down Polk Street and I got a call from a friend saying I could have a bar-back job if I wanted it, but I would have to start immediately. I hung up and went over there. This meant bailing on my friend's birthday. She forgave me.
Crocker Amazon is a neighborhood you don't hear about much. What's it like tending bar there? I love this area. The neighborhood is amazing. There are not a lot of jerks. Our crowd is a pretty solid cross-section of people — tons of regulars, neighborhood folks that drink Coors Light and shots. Genuine blue-collar workers mixing with the young and trendy. And, of course, people looking for whiskey.
Are you known for your whiskey selection? Yes, we have an outstanding Scotch selection, over 150 of them. My favorite thing is to try and figure out what these obscure whiskeys are all about. There's so much variation, it's awesome. We also have an Irish whiskey from 1951, Knappogue Castle, that's $150 a shot. And, of course, we have Jameson's on tap.
Wait, what? Jameson's Irish Whiskey? On tap? How is that possible? We did it initially with CO2, but that resulted in carbonated whiskey, which was horrible, so we changed to, like, a SCUBA-diving tank of compressed air. We've got these little two-gallon kegs of Jameson's, and the whiskey gets aerated while it's pouring.
Wow! Is this generally served neat or on the rocks? I try to convince people not to drink it with ice. That makes it too cold, and you can't properly taste it.
How do you spend your time when you're not behind the bar? I play in a bunch of bands. One of them I just started with one of the other bartenders and two of our diehard family regulars. I play drums. It's kind of a sludgy, doom-metal kind of thing. Most of the things I do outside work are related to music and sleeping. I love sleeping!