A Note from Sunny
“I worked at the Black Oak Saloon and Restaurant in Larkspur between 1977-78. I met a lot of good people there… lots of good memories.
I moved to Laguna Beach after that and I didn’t see the Black Oak again until last month, May of 2007. It was hard to find it at first. It has a “For Lease” sign in the window. To my surprise, gone were the Redwood trees on each side, the roof that shaded the large wooden front deck, and the rustic wood-siding on the outside. The interior is now devoid of any resemblance to it’s original ambiance and antique saloon style character. The hardwood floors, the long saloon bar, the fire place, the rustic wood interior and dance floor have been removed as well as the antiques and “gaslight” type chandeliers. It made me nostalgic for Larkspur as I remembered it. The Black Oak Saloon and Restaurant rustic architecture and the Redwood trees added a lot of flavor in those days to Magnolia Avenue.
As someone mentioned here, Wed. nights were especially popular at The Black Oak Saloon…always a packed house, often with a line out front.
Fond regards and Best Wishes to all my friends who remember The Black Oak Saloon and Restaurant.
Chatter about The Black Oak Saloon in the Forum
Alex Dunne (posted in 2007): Black Oak Saloon. Across the street from Dollars & Cents, in the old wooden building. Now it’s part of Gilardi’s law firm, I think. The Black Oak Saloon was dark inside, with maroon carpet and a cowboy theme (as you might guess from the name).
Anonymous (posted in 2007): OK wow I think I also saw “Behind the Green Door” at some theater on Magnolia!! Where WAS that?! I don’t think it was the Black Oak because that was a bar for a long time and I used to hang out there a lot. I think it was across the street but I have no idea where? Too funny!
Anonymous (posted in 2007): The movie place was on the same side as The Black Oak but toward Corbett’s Hardware…I saw “Behind the Green Door”…can’t remember the name of the theatre.
Anonymous (posted in 2007): Yes, Magnolia Ave on the Kentfield end…. A fine vacant lot with ancient old house before they built the bank. Miller’s Market (then Honeycomb in 1974-76), Pinky’s Pizza, Jim Corbet’s (staid old Mr. Corbet ran off with the young secretary or something…), Curly’s barber shop, the Painter’s Place, and the bakery with great maple bars. Auto repairs, Black Oak, Chinese Kitchen. Magnolia was only two lanes between Chinese Kitchen and downtown, and there were no apartments on the hill. Wasn’t Shakey’s next to the Safeway at the Bon Air Bridge? It was all marsh (“Polio Park”) and field between Bon Air and Doherty (remember Disco where the sports club is now?). The old house on the knoll on the opposite side of Doherty, all of which was graded down in the early 1970s for the gas station and crappy (except baskin robbins) shopping center. As for the dirty movies, all I recall is the period when they played ‘em at the Lark downtown…”I Am Curious, Yellow” was playing there when we moved to the neighborhood in June 1969, quite a shocker to my parents!
Anonymous (posted in 2007): Oh yes, Curly’s Barber Shop. I still can’t drive by there without remembering that’s the first place I encountered Playboy Magazine while waiting for my haircut with my Mom.
MEADOWVALLEYKID (posted Apr 18, 2007): Remember when the Black Oak Saloon would let anyone over the age of 18 in to dance and do whatever on Thursday and Saturday nights. I would go there with a bunch of friends who were all over 21 on Thursday nights (We believed all weekends should be 3 days not just 2). If you were in the under 21 group and you played it right, you would leave there @ closeing really loaded and hope you were not the DD for that night. Because our favorite men in blue would be waiting for you just before the apartments on the right side (I think the name was the skylark.
During the 80′s our little Twin Cities police Dept. would always have more drunk driving arrests by the end of the month than the whole Marin office of the CHP. (per the Twin Cities Times)
Rob Miller (Originally posted Apr 18, 2007): The Black Oak Saloon was absolutely nutty. For a long time, every Thursday nite was deemed “Tequila Nite”, and all cocktails containing it were $.69. And they weren’t skimpy, either! There would be a long line outside the door of people waiting to get in. If you left, you couldn’t get right back in, you’d have to go to the back of the line and wait.
Socially responsible? You betcha! If a barkeep thought maybe you were a little too hammered to drive, (Ha Ha Ha) He might direct you to the Breath-a-lizer machine, which was back with the PacMan and air hockey games. You’d drop a quarter in the slot, and a little plastic straw would pop out. Blow into the straw, and if the silly machine determined that you over the limit, it would make some loud noise or other. The barkeep would hear this, and take action: he’d reward you with a
FREE DRINK!!! Amen, Brother! Party Down!
Paul (Originally posted Apr 19, 2007): One thing that I have heard (hearsay) is the Black Oak was owned by a few
San Rafael Police Officers.
brownbear (Originally posted Apr 19, 2007): The Black Oak was owned by Jerry Green (Juvenile cop) and Joe Lenard sp?(Motorcycle cop) , both SRPD. Two of the best cops San Rafael ever had.
rick (originally posted Apr 20, 2007): Thanks for steering me striaght on this one. I was always told it was Phil Green who owned the Black Oak. He was a San Rafael cop also, and went on to become Twin Cities chief. I always thought it was odd that a cop owned a bar in the city with one of the highest DUI rates in the state.
Paul Wiemar (originally posted Nov 16, 2007): Wow, what a blast from the past . . . the Black Oak Saloon. I don’t think I ever had such great times in my adolescent years as I had there. It was a place where everyone new you. Had my 21st birthday announced there the night before. I did not even remember that until l I began writing this post. Cannot believe we made it home so many times back to Corte Madera without getting pulled over by Larkspurs finest. Please share more memories if you were one to frequent the Black Oak in the early 80′s as well.