OFFICIALLY THE ONLY dive bar one can swim or paddle to, the longtime hot spot is located on the water in San Rafael. This boat-repair shop/ restaurant-and-bar came into existence when the owner of the property, Pete Lind, decided cocktails and pool tables were more fun than valves and engine repairs. So he opened Pete’s Pier 15 in 1957 and the rest is history. Sort of like an inverted mullet haircut, Pier 15 is business in the back, with a popular waterfront restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and party in the front, with a fabulously dark, as in everyonelooks- great-in-this-light, bar. While there have been many owners throughout the years, in 2006 local restaurateur Adriano Orsi took over and highlighted food while maintaining the classic feel of the bar. And just in case you need a boost to swim or paddle home, it has the unique distinction of offering Red Bull on tap.
WHAT THEY SAY
Adriano Orsi, owner
Is Pier 15 a dive bar? Yes, in a sense — but an upscale, classy version.
Your definition of a dive bar? A disreputable nightclub where fights break out.
Describe Pier 15. Like a Cheers bar where everybody knows your name.
DIVE BAR CHECKLIST
Games? Yes, we have a pool table.
Celebrity photos? No, but we do have a written story about Bob Dylan experiencing an epiphany at Pier 15 framed on the wall.
TV is always on? Yes.
PBR available? Of course we have Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Muddled cocktails? No.
Fake fireplace? Yes.
Food is served in bags? Food is in the attached restaurant; chips are at the bar.
Pier 15 T-shirts? Available upon order.
Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.