Mad Dog in the Fog
530 Haight (at Fillmore)
Tel: (415) 626-7279
Sure, there's the multi-colored glitter of Noc Noc across the street, but when it comes right down to it, isn't a bar about the clientele rather than the allure?
You've probably heard of Mad Dog's infamous Pub Quiz Nights (currently on Mondays and Thursdays), a recent trend that's spread like wildfire across the city nearly as fast as the proliferation of British pubs. But Mad Dog boasts the distinction of its regulars, varying from your local Londoners to the occasional wacko coming in from the Haight.
Recent conversational encounters at Mad Dog have yielded an attractive woman with a surly expression and a dog leash around her neck, another young lady who showed me a book of poetry she was working on (one page consisted of an entire sheet filled with repeated salvos of "Fuck you!"), and two James Joyce fanatics who I nearly got into a fistfight with upon pointing out that Melville was a better writer (and a Yank at that!).
(One hint: Never question the English about literature, particularly in comparison with America. Music and beer? Okay, maybe they win. But when you take away Seamus Heaney and Joyce from the literary canon, who's left compared to the long list of great American writers? But what can I say? I was in a bitter mood that night.)
This is a notable distinction.
Having a pleasant English pub on the Lower Haight allows for this kind of unique social interaction. That's what makes Mad Dog the cool place that it is (in addition to the fact that it's actually populated on a Sunday night).
And you have to admire a pub that offers DJs on Friday nights spinning music.
For the record, Mad Dog's happy hour is on Fridays between 5 and 7, in which they offer pints of that wholly remarkable beer, the nonpareil of stout, a rare beverage that lives up to its popularity -- yes, you guessed it -- Guinness.