Irish bars in San Francisco are unofficial community centers for their neighborhoods, whether in the Sunset, Richmond or Lower Haight. Likewise, Danny Coyle’s is equally a sports pub, a job-placement center and a meeting hall for local groups, sports clubs, fundraisers, and the greater Irish, Scottish and English diaspora. Owner Brian Coyle can be seen at the bar most every day, whether pouring drinks, dispensing sports knowledge, mending fences and light fixtures, or helping a neighbor or two. The pub opens at varying hours of the morning depending on the start times for popular international soccer matches.
Danny Coyle’s, 668 Haight St., San Francisco, (415) 558-8375
Who is the bar named after? My father’s name is Danny Coyle and he is a living legend to me. He’s retired and he spends half his time here and half his time in Ireland.
Where are you from? My roots are from the north, but I spent my teenage years in County Clare [Republic of Ireland]. I emigrated here when I was 21.
Where else have you tended bar? I spent 15 years at Martin Macks [1568 Haight St.] bartending and managing until I could save up to buy this place. My partner, Siobhan Doyle, worked with me at Martin Macks. I also worked at Jack’s in the Wharf.
When did you start bartending? I worked in a bar when I was 15 at the One Mile Inn in Ennis [Ireland] and at Durty Nelly’s in County Clare. I was a head barman at the age of 18.
What do you like about bartending? I like meeting new people. I like conversation and I love sports. I like meeting people from all walks of life. And the connections I’ve made in the industry are phenomenal.
What else has been in this space? When I bought it in 2006, it was An Bodhran. It was an old dark bar with traditional Irish music. It only opened at night and featured good Guinness and good people. I knew the owners and they actually approached me because they knew I always wanted to get my own place. Before An Bodhran it was Don’s Different Ducks. Before that it was Jimmy’s West Point. It has always been a bar.
What’s the clientele like? It’s a big soccer bar. We get a lot of neighborhood people in the morning and afternoon. We get restaurant and industry people on Fridays and Saturdays. The characters are really colorful in the mornings.
Any strange things you’ve seen here? I’ve seen a dog drink a pint of Guinness.
Have you had any celebrities here? We’ve had Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, the band The Specials and Elijah Wood. We’ve had an event with Ossie Ardiles, a World Cup winner in 1978.
What are your bartenders like here? They are great because each has a different style and a different following. Dan is a rock star. Steve is a sports nut. The other Dan is an old-school mixologist. Tonya is a hipster.
Preheat the glass with hot water. Add whiskey, honey, lemon, cloves and hot water.