If you’re looking for a great place to watch the Super Bowl, Kezar Pub is hard to beat. Located across the street from Kezar Stadium (the original home of the 49ers), the bar boasts 24 high-definition TVs, 24 beers on tap and a stunning collection of 49ers memorabilia. From framed 1940s-era publications commemorating 49ers games against teams that no longer exist, to massive autographed photos of legendary players at pivotal moments in their careers, the place would feel like a museum if it weren’t for its animated and diverse crowd of sports fanatics. If Kezar Pub is a 49ers museum, owner Cyril Hackett is its curator. Originally from Ireland, his encyclopedic knowledge of and firsthand experience with 49ers history would put most San Francisco natives to shame. “I feel like I’m just the gatekeeper for the history of the stadium and the bar,” Hackett says. “A lot of people come from out of town just to check out the old photographs.”
BAR info: 770 Stanyan St. • (415) 386-9292 • www.thekezarpub.com
Kezar Pub was a gathering spot for team members and fans long before the Niners earned the kind of recognition they have today.
People talk about Kezar [Stadium] all the time. It was a real raucous stadium with great fans, but they didn’t take kindly to their team losing all the time. When they lost, they had to get out of here as quickly as possible. This bar was considered the home of the 49ers back then. They’d go across the street, have a few drinks and meet their fans. However, I remember Y.A. Tittle and he was kind of throwing water on that, ’cause the team was so bad they’d be afraid to come inside. So they’d pull their cars up outside and honk their horns for their wives and girlfriends to come outside!
Everybody likes to think their team has the best fans, but with the 49ers it’s kind of true, isn’t it?
Absolutely. The 49ers fans and Giants fans are the best. There’s no doubt. San Francisco fans are a little more cultured. They know their sports, and they love both the 49ers and the Giants. Even in the bad times, you had Niners fans wearing their colors and supporting their team.
We usually ask bartenders if they have a signature cocktail, but that wouldn’t really apply to Kezar Pub, would it?
We’re a big beer bar, and chicken wings are our signature item here. Do a Google search for the best wings in The City and we’ll come up at the top of the list. People tell us our wings closely resemble the wings you’d get from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, which is where Buffalo wings originated.
Which beers are your customers excited about lately?
I think when people are watching the game, they want a lot of light beers. We have 24 beers on draft, from Moonlight Brewing Company’s Death & Taxes to Guinness, Bud, Bud Light or Shock Top’s Belgian White beer.
What are some of your favorite memories?
Back in 2001, the 30th anniversary of the 49ers leaving Kezar Stadium, owner John York brought them back to Kezar for a scrimmage. They ferried players and Hall of Famers back and forth between the stadium and the pub in a golf cart. That was a big day for us, because we had seven Hall of Famers in here at one time. John York came into the bar, introduced himself to the fans and handed out 49ers lapel pins.
What’s another cool memory of player-fan interaction?
Monty Stickles would come in, have vodka-cranberries, go up to the prettiest girls, and say, “You guys don’t recognize me without my helmet on!” He would be talking to them, and they’d have no idea who he was, but then he’d stand next to his photo on our wall and suddenly they’d recognize him. When Monty passed away, they held a very nice ceremony at Kezar Stadium and then everybody came over here and partied afterward.
You really have a passion for this, don’t you?
I’ve had a lot of joy, a lot of fun and a lot of happiness over the years. I really appreciate my customers and what they’ve helped us accomplish. Occasionally people come by and give us artifacts and memorabilia because they want these items to be seen and enjoyed. Somebody even brought us an original bench from the stadium’s heyday.
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