When Blondie was given the Mission district bar at 21 by her entrepreneur mother, she did not know the difference between a vodka tonic and a gin and tonic. “My mom told me, ‘That’s the glassware, those are the bottles of booze. Go.’” Since 1991, Blondie’s has hosted a sweet and savory 16-ounce martini menu, garnished with home-stuffed blue cheese and sausage olives and pickled asparagus, using local and international spirits. Older crowds frequent the purple-neon-lit bar for the 4 to 8:30 p.m. happy hour. Twentysomethings come for the no-cover DJ sets, honky-tonk, R&B and swing groups that move the pack later into the night.
BAR info: 540 Valencia St. • (415) 864-2419 • www.facebook.com/blondiesbarsf
What’s your pet peeve when it comes to bar etiquette?
“It’s my birthday! Can I get a shot?” You’re not entitled to free drinks just because you were born. Also, don’t ever grab fruit from the fruit tray. Who knows where your hands have been.
What kind of crowd does your bar attract?
All ends of the spectrum. During the week, it’s a lot of after-work people. Neighborhood folk. The demographic is younger late night. Older during happy hour.
What do you do when you’re not managing the business?
I like to travel. South America, Europe and Central America. I go to Mexico a lot. I try to rejuvenate as much as possible.
You recently held your employee holiday party. What was your gift to your employees?
We played paintball during the day. Dinner at Maverick. I figured that I give them so many orders that they could take out their aggression on the paintball field. They didn’t treat me too bad. I think they like me.
How have you seen the Mission change since you’ve been in business?
Essentially there were not many businesses back when we opened. What’s now called Kilowatt was then called the Fire House, Delirium was called Albion, Double Dutch was called Dr. Bombay. The Roxie was always there. Other than that? It was abandoned storefronts, auto repair places, liquor stores, taquerias and SROs.