Gold Dust Lounge: After the lease expired last year after 47 years in Union Square, the Gold Dust brought its red-velvet bar, damask wallpaper and Old West chandeliers to a new location at Fisherman’s Wharf. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” bartender Phil Smith said of the Union Square closing in May. On any given day, you will find waves of tourists sipping $3.50 Irish coffees and Wharf restaurant workers diving in for a few during the Gold Dust’s industry happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Even locals, such as the Bovis family owners, hold down the far corner of the bar. Seven nights a week, house band Johnny Z and The Camaros rock the mic, gladly taking requests from their foot-thick songbook. We spoke with Smith, who said he used to wear all his hair on his head before he decided to wear it all on his chin.
How do you like the new location?
We’re learning to love it. It’s a different clientele on the Wharf, seasonal business. Lots of industry workers from Sabella & La Torre, Boudin. After 10 o’clock, it really dies down here. We want to change that.
What about when you’re not bartending?
I’m going to school full time. Working on a [degree] in small business at the University of Phoenix. Or I’m hanging at the Gold Dust. I work five days a week but I’m here seven. Me and my wife, Christie, also like the Irish bars. Fiddler’s Green, Irish Bank, Irish Times and Sodini’s.
What did you do while the new location was being built?
I focused on school. But with a family-run, tight-knit place like this, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be back at the Gold Dust.
What do you like to drink?
I drink Anchor Steam. When you come here, you gotta drink the Irish coffees — $3.50 all day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tell me about your beard.
My beard is new actually. Only five months in the making. Somehow I’ve been gifted to have such a good-looking beard. I used to have a full head of hair, 14 inches in the braid. Now I’ve got a full chin.
Add dash of sugar to bottom of Irish Coffee glass. Pour coffee, then whiskey. Float cream on top.