The Hotel Mac welcomes old and new customers
for its 100th anniversary.
The bar lunch at the Hotel Mac, 50 Washington Avenue, in Point Richmond, is as good as it was 30 years ago, just a little larger. Ten big ones will buy you a generous plate of chicken Saltimbucca over fresh mashed potatoes with roasted zucchini, which you can eat at the bar or at one of the little nearby tables. Proclaiming a variety of choices, the special $10 express lunch is served Monday through Friday to celebrate the Hotel Mac's 100th anniversary. Thirty years ago they were serving a memorable spaghetti al dente, with a fresh tomato sauce and tiny pieces of beef.
They make the best chicken in town, no matter
how its cooked. This happens to be
No you don't have to sit at a little table all by your lonely self. You can talk to the bartender or one of the regulars while you eat lunch, unless the bartender is way at the other end of the bar helping the local bank manager. It's still a place for bankers to take a long lunch break or politicians to have informal discussions with clients. Just don't ask anyone for a loan while you are drinking. Don't go into a bar with no money in your pocket and order a round for the house. And you will still need some for a tip. You might need to study the history of Point Richmond or learn the names of the current singing groups to have something to talk to them about.
Ian said they did not need permission from anyone
to hang up this red, white and blue bunting.
They did it because of the anniversary.
Beautiful red, white and blue bunting is hung from the second floor dining room which overlooks the long elegant full service bar. Its shiny brass counter top is polished every night with Brasso. This is where former Assemblyman John Knox turned to a local journalist hovering nearby, and said he was drinking a drink called a depth charge. The ingredients remain top secret.
Ian says he wears a long apron because
he puts salt and sugar in many of
his drinks. This interview was completely
unexpected and unrehearsed. Nice of
them to let this journalist do it, don't you
think so? Nice to find someone who is
friendly to the press.
Ian the bartender says a full service bar means you can get just about anything you want here, in the way of liquors and mixed drinks, while some other bars are limited to beer and wine.
“A full service bar has a full range of liquor for making drinks,” he said. He makes special drinks when they are not busy. However, sometimes if he is asked for a drink that takes a long time to make, he just says no.
“The latest thing is a 'pousse cafe'. It's nine different layers of liquors, a layered drink. It takes 20 minutes to make. We can make just about anything you want. Some we have to look up in the book. If it is too busy, I just say no.”
Irish coffee is a serious temptation,
that you will be able to stay awake
The chicken Saltimbucca was a plate of tender sauteed chicken breasts with a layer of prosciutto, over creamy fresh mashed potatoes and fresh roasted slices of zucchini. It was difficult to guess the very tasty seasoning, but there was just a hint of salt and pepper, a clue of parlsey, and the ambiance of a wine sauce, but which wine was impossible to guess.
Jerry Cerkanowitz, besides being a history
maven, is a connoisseur of good food and drink
in the local restaurants.
Point Richmond History Association past President Jerry Cerkanowitz also dropped in for a plate of sand dabs. Jerry says he likes to dine at the Hotel Mac “because it is comfortable here.” Ian the bartender helped him to cut his hospital bracelet off his wrist. Jerry had a cat scan earlier in the day.
Anna-Lisa Smoker is from Berkeley, where
she occasionally sings at the Freight and Salvage
coffee house. She just happened to be in the
Hotel Mac for lunch.
Singer-songwriter Anna-Lisa Smoker seized the opportunity to talk to the press. She is “a patron, an appreciator of the fine architecture, fine food, and fine service. 100 years is 100 good reasons why people should wine and dine at this historical landmark,” she said. Anna Lisa performs at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and is always happy to get a singing job.
The shell or setting sun design on the sign is a very old
Chinese pattern, a tribute to the original
settlers in this area, who built the railroad.
The three story red brick building was renovated after burning out in the late 1960s. A decade or so later, the architectural firm of Interactive Resources (led at that time by Thomas K. Butt) reinforced the brick building with large steel girders, thus earthquake proofing it. It is on the national register of historic places and has always been a place for captains of industry to enjoy lunch or dinner and a glass of wine, though they no longer allow cigar smoking on the premises.
You never know who you are going to enjoy making the new acquaintance of, or renewing an old one, over a bar lunch at the Hotel Mac. The Mac has a web site www.hotelmac.net for more information. Telephone 510-235-0010. It's open weekdays from 11:39 am until 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 pm until 9:30 p.m. Longtime Point residents Barbara Armstrong and Jim Caroompas will be singing here together later this month, for which reservations are encouraged.#