I try not to visit the Haight/Ashbury more than twice a year. The nouveau hippies, hippie nostalgia, street kids and homelessness grate on me.
On this visit I noticed the Cala market is still standing empty. Further down the street, the Red Vic movie theatre is still there. They put brewers yeast on the popcorn. Yum! But I keep moving because my destination is City Optics on the next block. I need new specs.
After City Optics I walk another block, and stand outside the Zam Zam Room. It's open. I get up the courage and walk in. I remember the drill: Sit at the bar, not the tables. Order a gin martini, not vodka. Be serious, and speak when spoken to. Wait for Bruno to warm up to you before you start a conversation. But Bruno isn't there. Then I remember; he died 7 years ago. I haven't been here in a very long time.
Bruno did not tolerate fools. If you didn't show respect. If you weren't dressed right. If you didn't order your drink correctly. Then he asked you to leave! He could do that. It was his bar, and before him it was his father's bar. I miss him.