Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sand Dunes Tavern (Seaclusion Lounge and Hall), 3599 Taraval Street, San Francisco, CA

The building was certainly a bar from when it was first opened in 1946.

If memory is correct, I saw this building when it was being built in the late 1940s. It had a big round tower over the front door. I think the original name was something like "The Salamar." Later it was The Sand Dunes. I attended a wedding reception there in the late '50s or early '60s.
A drugstore was across the street. So was "Paul's Barber Shop."
One night my mother and sister went to the drugstore and came home shaking. They said they had seen a woman shot to death on the sidewalk outside the store.(11)

Here is an account of a waitress (Mrs Laura Flagg) from the bar (which is only referred to as the "corner bar") being shot by an ex-mate in the July 23, 1947 Oakland Tribune.
The first explicit usage of the name "Sand Dunes" is found in an advertisement in the Oakland Tribune of October 17, 1954.(5)

Sands Hall photo by Bob Cangelosi

August 15, 1959 saw the Oakland Tribune report a bookmaker bust. This was actually related to an office above what was then being described as a tavern.
Sand Dunes was operated by Tom Zucchelli in 1959.

The 1970s saw a jazz based weekend performance schedule advertised in the Hayward Daily Review.

By late 1974, the adverts for the Sand Dunes in the Hayward Daily Review dry up - noting that I could not find any additional Aunt Monk shows there. Oddly enough, Aunt Monk shows are patchy to say the least (I found only one in 1975, half a dozen in 1976 and one slightly odd one in 1977.(5)

In the mid - late 1970's they had live music and one of the people that performed there was Merle Haggard's son. (5)

Jerry A. Wagner is listed as the owner of the Sand Dunes in the 1960, 1962, 1964, and 1968 directory as well as the 1975 directory.
In the 1969, 1971 and 1972 directories, 3599 Taraval is listed as the Seaclusion Lounge and Hall with Jerry A. Wagner as owner.
Strange that the name changed to Seaclusion Lounge and Hall and then back to Sand Dunes...

 Sand Dunes is two words. Listed in a directory below.
According to this 1969 directory page, The Sand Dunes Tavern was at 3599 Taraval Street and was owned by Jerry A. Wagner.(4)

1971-listed as Seaclusion Lounge and Hall, 3599 Taraval Street, Jerry A. Wagner, owner.(2)

1975 directory-Sand Dunes (two words), 3599 Taraval Street, owner Jerry A. Wagner.(3)

Huh... the 'Sand Dunes'. I remember the place as a kid taking the streetcar to the zoo & all through my high school years. For the longest time it had an institutional brown paint job then a dark slate/grey paint job.
(a big,natural chalk board) And being as it was a Muni stop didn't help as there was usually all manner of graffiti,trash, etc. on & around the joint. Pretty depressing & probably considered a real blight by the neighbors.(7)

It was definitely the Sand Dunes in 1958 when we moved in down the street. But there were actually two bars in the place. The main bar and entrance at the corner, and another smaller bar that was entered from the Taraval side.
It was actually a pretty thriving, decent place through most of the '60s, but as demographics started changing, so did the clientele. It was reasonably seedy towards the end.

The Jewish congregation originally set up across the street on Taraval in a building that was a grocery store (among other things). An Aryan book shop opened down the street on Taraval between 46th & 47th, and one night the synagogue was firebombed. The neighbors forced out the book shop and the synagogue bought the Sand Dunes and that was that.(10)

Ok, I talked to a friend of mine who played a gig there for a "Safeway function" with his band back in 1970 or 71 and he tells me it was definately called "Sand Dunes" at that time. So it appears to me that the establishment probably underwent (slight) name changes along with possible changes in ownership during the 50's - 60's era. From the link below, I found the building was built in 1946, is a single story, but no information is given regarding any business historical activities. Currently the building's address is 3595 Taraval St. which is yet another change from the "3599" listed in the city directory posted earlier.(8)

That corner was the Gackscraggle, a jazz club that hosted jam sessions on Sundays.(9)

The building is now used (and probably owned) by a Jewish Congregation. The building is very large, so its new use apparently is well suited. When/how its purpose changed from entertainment to worship I do not know.(6)

 Jerry performed here several times in 1974 but actual dates are unknown at this time.

...found by Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger in the Oakland Tribune from 1974. A first reads as follows (1):

A second article discussing the Sand Dunes (2) at slightly greater length also notes that "Merl Saunders and Martin Fierro play Monday nights when not with Jerry Garcia, and Garcia has shown up on some Mondays, too."
It seems that the Sand Dunes was at 46th and Taraval.(3)

Anyway, below is a list of the Mondays in 1974 up until the October 6th article. I have provided info where there seems to be a conflict. That leaves lots of open dates, about which we are of course very unlikely ever to know anything.
19740422 - JG probably in LA*
19740513 - GD between Reno and Missoula
19740520 - GD between Portland and Seattle
19740617 - GD between Des Moines and Louisville
19740624 - GD between Miami and Providence
19740701 - JG probably in NYC
19740722 - JGMS at Keystone, Berkeley*
19740729 - GD in Landover
19740805 - GD in Philly
19740902 - JGMS gig in Marx Meadow, Golden Gate Park
19740909 - GD in London
19740916 - GD presumably still in Europe

1.)Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger, Jerry with Merl and/or Martin, ca. 1974, The Sand Dunes, 2010-05-16,
2.)^Polk's San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) city directory,
3.)^San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) city directory,
4.)^Polk's San Francisco (San Francisco County, Calif.) city directory,
5.)^Yellow Shark's comments, Jerry with Merl and/or Martin, ca. 1974, The Sand Dunes
JGMF, 2010-05-18
6.)^Hurlbut, Candis Smyk, 2010-01-15,,1#msgtitle 
7.)^Kev, 2010-01-15,,6#msgtitle
9.)^KevB, 2010-02-01,,12#msgtitle,
10.)^Dineen, Tim, 2010-02-22,,13#msgtitle,
11.)^Clifford, Jim, 2010-05-19,,20#msgtitle,


  1. I saw Chet Baker Play there. Don't remember the year. He was old and heroin weary

  2. I saw Chet Baker play at the old Sand Dunes; don't remember the year. He looked tired and heroin weary.

  3. I saw Chet Baker play at the old Sand Dunes; don't remember the year. He looked tired and heroin weary.

  4. I saw Chet Baker Play there. Don't remember the year. He was old and heroin weary

  5. According to a neighbor who saw it being built, the original use of the building (1945-1946) was a nightclub called the Shalimar. It required men to wear jackets and was painted white. It didn't last long and became the Sand Dunes shortly thereafter. It became a synagogue (Congregation B'nai Emunah) in 1975 when the congregation, which was renting across the street, bought it and the building next door on Taraval (then a 'spa'). The damage to the building by anti-semetic neighbors (Aryan bookshop) happened in 1975 shortly after the congregation had moved in. The beautiful stained glass windows on the 46th Avenue driveway were shattered. The incident made the Chronicle and donations came from all over the world to replace the damaged panes. The stained glass is still there but is protected inside an outer layer of frosted glass, and within a gated driveway. The congregation, founded by Jews who had escaped Nazi Germany and Austria and fled to Shanghai, China, where one didn't need a visa to enter, began in 1949, and just celebrated its 66th anniversary.

  6. It was being called Gackscraggle in at least early '73 - a listing from the Chron 4/13/73 has the name as Sand Dunes (formerly Gackscraggle).