Below, a brief comparison of then and now:
Then: Your busboy: Robin Williams, pre–Mork & Mindy.
Now: Your neighbor during lunch: Robin Williams, post–Happy Feet Two.
Then: Rock-star regulars, like the aforementioned Ms. Joplin.
Now: You can channel Janis’s spirit by sitting at her table, number 83, right on the bay, overlooking the city. (Your date will be impressed.)
Then: The setting for a scene in Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam.
Now: Much of that era’s decor has been refined. But the original psychedelic, sun-and-Cyclops ceiling is still there. (You’re on your own for a Diane Keaton type.)
Then: A focus on music, thanks to the owners (from the original Kingston Trio band).
Now: A focus on Irish coffee—and rumors of Humphry Slocombe Irish coffee ice cream—thanks to new owners from the legendary Buena Vista Café.
Then: “The girls,” aka young, bra-optional, free-spirited waitresses in flimsy shirts.
Now: Waitresses in standard waitress attire. Hey, it was fun while it lasted...