Minutes from Candlestick Park, the ancestral home of the 49ers, several of the Niners faithful gathered Sunday to drink, eat and celebrate at a 126-year-old bar as their team romped their way to a Super Bowl berth.
The Bloody Marys, Irish coffees, and micheladas flowed while the lumpia and chicken wings fried as lifelong fans repeatedly lost their minds watching Raheem Mostert run roughshod over the Packers while the defense dominated, creating multiple turnovers.
One of them, Hector Desanti grew up in Daly City, and was one of the longshoremen who used to frequent 7 Mile House when it was a watering hole for dockyard workers. The 58-year-old said he was born a 49ers fan.
“I’m a 49ers fan forever,” Desanti said.
He recalled “The Catch” against the Cowboys, and considers nearby Candlestick as home.
Things have changed, he said since the team moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Many of the fans these days are superficial, he said.
Other fans at the sports bar and grill echoed his sentiments. Despite the excitement of the game, the subject of the teams departure from this blue-collar neighborhood still brings pain.
“I still haven’t gotten over it,” said Latrell Jones, 48, who was born and raised in Western Addition, and now lives blocks from the bar.
“It takes so much away. The city would be lit up, it would be nuts right now,” he added.
From her home, Marie Arias, 58, could see Candlestick being dismantled piece by piece. It was disheartening to see it go. The community really wanted and needed the team to rebuild Candlestick and stay, she said.
“Bayview and Hunters Point have bad reputations that could’ve changed 360 degrees. I hope that whatever they build there in the future benefits the community and businesses around that area.”
Denise DeVoe, grew up in Daly City before raising her kids in Excelsior, and talked about hanging out with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice at Bobby Mcgees. She has a cocktail napkin with Rice’s autograph to prove it.
“Players were more reachable back then,” DeVoe said.
Many of the fans at the bar Sunday were born in San Francisco, while others fans shared impressive journeys that led them to The City and this bar.
Than Lam, 58, arrived in San Francisco in 1980 as a refugee from Vietnam. As a child in the countryside he remembers seeing regular bombings. He arrived in San Francisco without a place to live or a jacket to wear.
Lam saved money, working as a dishwasher, then waiter, until he could open up his own jewelry store. He later ran a business exporting used machinery to Vietnam.
The self-proclaimed embodiment of “The American Dream,” Lam said he is a millionaire with a wife and two kids. One of his kids is a software engineer, the other a diplomat in the Domincan Republic with a masters degree from Harvard. A devout 49ers fan, Lam raised his family blocks from 7 Mile House.
As the 49ers punched their ticket, Lam made his intentions of traveling to Miami to watch the Super Bowl known.
As Jones, Lam and Desanti talked over Coronas, Jones had an epiphany.
“I just realized! All three of us used to be dishwashers!” he said, marveling at their rise from service jobs.
A variety of different jerseys peppered the crowd. Gonzalo Lopez Vera, 52, an immigrant from Mexico City sported a Joe Montana kit. Colin Kaepernick, Patrick Willis, Joey Bosa, Ruben Foster and Michael Crabtree were also represented.
As Super Bowl chants rang out in the fourth quarter once the game was in hand, the crowd, inebriated on elation and drink, high-fived and shouted, sharing the joy for a city and team they love.