Best Dive Bar Renovation

The Hotsy Totsy Club

January ushered in not just a new year, but a whole new era for a certain freestanding hut of a dive bar on San Pablo Avenue. The seventy-year-old Hotsy Totsy Club, whose most appealing feature for decades was its name, has undergone a sea change — yet preserves the integrity of the former club's shuffleboard table. A couple of velvet paintings from the old club have also been retained, but the updates include a polished zinc ceiling, groovy cement bar, free wi-fi, and — at last! — a fully functioning neon sign. The jukebox spins an eclectic collection of retro disks at no charge, and the TV behind the bar shows "transgressive" adult cinema, which, on a recent night, featured battling lesbian ninjas. More importantly, the drinks are up to par, with an enticing list of house specials like "Carjack," "Bitter Rivers," and "San Pablo Soda." The new owners are reaching out to build community with monthly events such as cocktail-mixing workshops and a gay/bi Girl's Night Out, as well as ska dance parties on Sunday nights. No food is served, but Friday and Saturday nights a taco truck parks outside, even closer than the Taco Bell down the block.
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