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Jazz and drinks flow at San Francisco's Royal Cuckoo

The Royal Cuckoo
The Royal Cuckoo
The Royal Cuckoo

I need to develop a system whereby if anyone in Northern California is even thinking of establishing a jazz venue, that information is immediately transmitted to me via some form of ESP or Vulcan mind meld or something. Better yet, there ought to be an app for that.
A number of factors lead me to this conclusion, the most obvious being the proliferation of out-of-the-way, down-the-alley jazz venues on all sides of the Bay. When I come across such nightspots and/or presenters like Jazz in the Neighborhood, I naturally pass the information on. After all, for all the wonders of the high-profile series, festivals and venues showcasing the best national and international performers, the reality remains the jazz is best heard in small clubs that foster a natural intimacy between artist and audience. It’s just tough for me to keep up on those venues’ comings and (sadly) goings.
One such spot in San Francisco is the Royal Cuckoo on Mission at Valencia. As its website puts it, this is a “neighborhood bar that serves up fine cocktails and plays only vintage vinyl records on our lo-fi sound system. We also have live music Wednesday through Sunday featuring the Hammond B3 organ.”
Huge fan of the B3, I am, and I dig the notion of forcing my fellow elbow benders to enjoy an entire side of a favorite piece of vinyl. There’s also a free backyard barbecue on Sundays. Here’s UrbanDaddy’s take on the place.

Introducing The Royal Cuckoo, an eclectic cocktail den that’s equal parts bar, music library and hunting lodge, open now in the Mission.
Now, while this dimly lit lair might seem slightly scattered in its presentation of old furniture and deer head, goose and armadillo taxidermy, it’s nothing a couple of stiff martinis can’t help make sense of.
With drink in hand – you’ll have your choice of classics, or riffs on classic cocktails, but we recommend the Moscow Mule made with cachaça instead of vodka, ginger beer and kumquats – head to the back of the long bar, where you can thumb through the card-cataloged collection of hundreds of vinyl records (unless the vintage Hammond organ is the night’s musical entertainment).
The system works sort of like a jukebox where you’ll listen to entire record sides instead of individual songs, so you won’t need to worry about knowing the ins and outs of the Dewey Decimal System. But you’ll have to be open to pre-1975 tunes – anything from James Brown to opera to ’60s psychedelic.
Again, nothing a couple of stiff martinis can’t help make sense of.

The flesh-and-blood musical lineup is pretty fair too. Sets run 7:30-10:30 p.m.; here’s the rundown this weekend.

Today: Freddie Hughes and Chris Burns
Thursday: Charlie Siebert and Chris Siebert
Friday: Big Bones and Chris Burns
Saturday: Wil Blades and Jack Tone Riordan
Sunday: LaVay Smith and Chris Siebert.

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