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978 votes

Vesuvio Cafe

255 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, California 94133 USA

Open Now
Wed 6a-2a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
  • Outdoor
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“World-renowned San Francisco saloon”

This world-renowned San Francisco saloon located in North Beach just across from the infamous City Lights Bookstore, was first established in 1948 and remains an historical monument to jazz, poetry, art and the good life of the Beat Generation. Vesuvio attracts a diverse clientele: artists, chess players, cab drivers, seamen and business people, European visitors, off-duty exotic dancers and bon vivants from all walks of life. On October 17, 1955, Neal Cassady, the real life Dean Moriarty of the quintessential Beat classic On the Road, stopped at Vesuvio on the way to the now legendary Six Gallery for a poetry reading, and the place has never been the same. It became a regular hangout of Jack Kerouac and other famous Beat poets and has become ground zero for pilgrims on the Beat trail ever since. It was here that Jack Kerouac once spent a long night in 1960 when he should have been on his way to Big Sur to meet with Henry Miller. Miller had written Kerouac that he enjoyed reading The Dharma Bums and would enjoy a visit from the emerging writer. Kerouac, however, had other plans. He continued to hoist drinks and called Miller every hour telling him that he was just a bit delayed in leaving the city. The two would never meet that night.

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Reviewed by
George Murray

  • 84 Reviews
  • 87 Helpful
August 31, 2014
Rated 5.0

This bar is usually relatively chill so if you're looking for a spot out of the tourist hell that is Columbus St. stop in here and go upstairs. There are some nice quiet tables out of the way up there.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Megan Bannister

  • Road Warrior
  • 135 Reviews
  • 97 Helpful
August 05, 2014
Rated 4.0

A former haunt of Beat writers like Jack Kerouac, the Vesuvio is worth a visit for its decor (and espresso brewing abilities) alone.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Stephen Rees

  • Road Warrior
  • 273 Reviews
  • 300 Helpful
October 01, 2014
Rated 5.0

A San Francisco landmark with an incredible literary history, it's still a great place to hang out with friends or just to get some peace and quiet.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 831 Helpful
August 31, 2014
Rated 3.0

The joint became a regular hangout for Kerouac and other Beat poets. Next, check out the Beat Museum, which is a shrine to the beatnik generation. You’ll likely want to rest your weary head at Hotel Boheme, which oozes Beat-era jazz.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Anna Hider

  • Blogger
  • 1,414 Reviews
  • 576 Helpful
May 20, 2017
Rated 4.0

They serve beer and booze like, all day. Quiet place to dig into your reads from nearby City Lights. Actually an old beatnik hangout apparently. Friendly bartenders, some craft beer, awesome jazz. Would definitely come back!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 07, 2015
Rated 1.0

Awful bar tender the day before yesterday, his computer was off and thus couldnt serve a drink. I kind of said that he did not needed a computer to serve a drink but he replied if I was not happy I should leave, which I did !!!!

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Vesuvio Cafe

255 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, California
94133 USA


Open now until 2:00 am
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 2:00 am

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Does not take
  • Bar
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Breakfast
  • Outdoor Seating
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Parking, Dining

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