The Tip

The private penthouse lounge of Duncan Channon has a colorful history, surprisingly, yet inextricably, interwoven with the colorful history of San Francisco and of social movements in the United States.

Chapter 1: Hanged by the Necke untill Ded

By one name or another, the Tip has been an establishment “licenced to purvey Strong Drinke” (as its original charter had it) nearly continuously since 1786.

Chapter 2: La Punta and the Curyous ailment

Curiously, it was the would-be assassin who immediately assumed ownership of the Plumpot-Brambley residence, at the intersection of San Ignacio di la Sangre Alley and San Somme Street, suggesting that it was the blacksmith himself who tipped the Governor to the plot against his bastard daughter.

Chapter 3: The goat of the Embarcadero

The ruins of La Punta would sit as mute testimony to the incendiary ignorance of citizen vigilantes for nearly a decade. Around it grew a dense district of publick houses catering to “saylors from the sea” and “scarlet laydies” and soliciting “the trade and custom of rounders and riff-raff.”

Chapter 4: Of practices Manly

Where the (apparently) late Lord Langhorne was robust of appetite and rotund of figure, his son, Nigel, 21, is pale of visage and gaunt of corpus and given to utterances far too easily swallowed by a quiet room.

Chapter 5: Highlights of the Hartman collection

And not statehood, nor Nigel’s slide into neglectful sloth and ultimately senescence, could deter the Tip from becoming engorged nightly with eager guests.

Chapter 6: A brief Examinashun of the Management stile of Spanky, a dog

For the speculators, dethroning Nigel and seizing the Tip was like, as one of them recounted years later, “taking confectionaries from a baby.” And so, by order of the City and County of San Francisco, the Tip was condemned.

Chapter 7: The origynal Original Ray's

With the chihuahua (named Spanky) as Nigel’s sole heir and Nigel’s most practiced drinking buddy as executor of his will, the estate of Langhorne the Younger was perhaps not as well-tended to as it might have been.

Chapter 8: A slyce off ye olde tip

Though he never signed the hotel register, it is well-established that another exalted guest of the Tip was the Union general turned whiskey enthusiast who followed Lincoln into the White House, Ulysses Simpson Grant.

Chapter 9: Hail the great erector

The old top of the Tip, all thousand-square-feet of it -- many times modified, but never obliterated -- is there today, its curious history explaining why a visitor travels via one elevator to the 14th floor, but must change to another for the trip from 14 to 15.

Chapter 10: Masons, millionayres & the Birthe of the Cool

Over the next three decades, the one-story elevator was bricked over, and the room itself left to the city’s soot and spiders. And the Tip went mostly forgotten by all. Except for one guy.

Chapter 11: "H" to the "M" to the "K"

In the course of their 28 consecutive days of carousing, the “odd couple of cool,” cut a swath through the Big Apple wide enough to end up as an item in the New Yorker.

Chapter 12: The phall after the Phall

It is widely assumed -- and one look at the document would seem to confirm it -- that Georgette forged Mickey’s signature on the Adam Grant’s deed of sale because after July 29, 1951, Mickey Haff was nowhere to be found.

Chapter 13: For your eyes only

It’s said by some old-timers at the Adam Grant Building that when the wind isn’t blowing too hard and the sun is out you can still smell the gunpowder.

Chapter 14: Genesis and true meaning of “just the tip”

It was not clear that the Sealane representative on the phone had ever even heard of the Tip, let alone seen it. And the moment the prospective tenants and the Sealane guy creaked open that dusty door to reveal the storied room, it was clear that the next chapter in the story was about to be written.