My quest to find a better than average Bloody Mary in the Bay Area continued last weekend and brought me to a deceiving lil neighborhood bar. One that I had passed by for 10 years while working in Palo Alto. Francesca’s looks like and sounds like an Italian joint, right? Wrong. It is smack dab in between a couple of auto repair shops and is classified as a dive bar. Clearly, I am confused. It is also self proclaimed as the oldest bar in Mountain View. I had heard of folks referring to this place as a bar but never paid much attention until I found chatter online about their Bloody Mary. Then I knew that I had to find out what this place was all about.
It was the first day of Daylight Savings Time and you can imagine the aches to pain I had to suffer as I am sure some of you did as well. I ended up at this joint later in the day as I may have been over served the night before and this change in time was not assisting my debut of the day. When I arrived I did notice there was an awful lot of cars in the lot and loud music and voices. Certainly not typical of Silicon Valley bars and on a Sunday.
As I walked into this dark place there was quite a crowd gathered that was rather loud and I would dare say over served at an early point of the day. The Juke Box was loud and so was the band of older women. There are pool tables, dart boards etc are found in the back part which is lit with fluorescent lighting. It’s a small interior and, again, deceiving for sure.
I belly up to the only bar-stool left. Barkeep seemed like a friendly fella that everyone knew and vice versa. There weren’t any of the normal dot.com crowd in here. Local Mountain View natives. I ordered up the Bloody Mary and was asked if I were a Vegetarian. Oh, of course…oink oink is coming in the glass for sure. B-b-bacon. The Bloody Mary was delivered with a fresh piece of Bacon, two pieces of Pickled Green Beans, Olives, Celery and Pickled Asparagus. Who needs lunch, by golly! I could tell it was a house made mix and had a far amount of spice and went light on the Horseradish served in a Mason Jar. I would order another for sure. It wasn’t bland but not over done. The other cast members that came with were delightful as well.
I started to soak in the scenery and smirked at the loud group of ladies who were obviously enjoying a Sunday out and about and the other folks were glued to Nascar. Quite eclectic. The atmosphere turned rowdier and it wasn’t even 3pm with the time change. As I was enjoying my Bloody I was taken aback by my snarky inner monologue as I was snapped back like a rubber band when the music that the loud group of “older” women consisted of Alanis Morissette (which they sang at the top of their lungs), Local H, Green Day and Filter. It was in that moment I realized that group of older women were likely the same age as I. Oh, the horror. Oh, the laugh I got when I realized that. I AM THAT AGE!
Then this Bloody Mary event turned into a drop a shot drinks. Flaming Dr. Pepper, Lunchbox and something I cannot recall and that could be the number of shots these patrons do. Oh, you thought I ordered these? No, I made new friends and was roped in as usual. Great people actually. I found out the place is being sold as the parents have passed and Mike is the son of Francesca. They intend to keep most of it the same but the oldest bar in Mountain View may have a change. I just asked that they do not change the Bloody Mary. Totally worth finding this place and finally trying it. It was not a bad Bloody Mary to have experienced nor it’s additional friends that followed! Should you find yourself wandering Mountain View on Old Middlefield and you find a few Auto Body Shops you better be sure to look for a lil place called Francesca’s and stop in and say hello to Mike et al.