Through the decades, Lefty’s has grown to become one of San Francisco’s most beloved restaurant bars. Named after Francis “Lefty” O’Doul of the New York Giants, the sports bar and restaurant is located in the very heart of San Francisco’s Union Square, across from the Westin St. Francis hotel. Despite its proximity to all that is touristy in San Francisco, Lefty’s has an equal number of loyal local patrons as it does regular international travelers who have found joy in the friendly service and all American comfort food.
Come baseball season though, the restaurant and front bar are packed with locals, tables overflowing with generations of family and bar stools shared between friends and co-workers all crammed to support the San Francisco Giants. Football fans also find a home here with a dozen televisions scattered strategically throughout the restaurant. Regular days feature a live piano player on the baby grand piano up front, reminiscent of a Billy Joel scene singing Piano Man with everybody crowded around, tall glasses of cold beer in hand, ready to rid of the day’s stress.
This is more than just a sports bar to locals though. The comfort food has been consistently good and the menu thankfully unchanging in a world filled with restaurants constantly revamping for the next best thing. Lefty’s sports a comforting ideal of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Open from the wee hours of breakfast until the dark hours of pre-dawn, the restaurants serves up favorites like Belgian Waffles, Roast Turkey platters, thick sandwiches, rich Mac ‘n Cheese and all types of sinful pies. Service is family friendly and the atmosphere is casual-anything goes.
Lefty’s is a bit of an enigma considering its full bar service and full menu of comfort food, still families come with young children if that’s any sign of how anything has always and will always go here. What’s been consistent through the decades is the kind of genuine, laid back friendliness that San Francisco is known for, which is perhaps one of the major reasons this local favorite has survived the worst of economic times. If the place was good enough to draw olden day Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn and Joe and survive all these decades, then it’s certainly good enough to last at least a few more generations.
333 Geary Street (Union Square across from Westin St. Francis)
San Francisco, CA 94102