Star Spotting in Sausalito - Part 2 of 3

Star Spotting in Sausalito - Part 2 of 3


The Trident - San Francisco

The Trident

Bar Of The Stars

Every politician, entertainer and sports celebrity you could think of frequented the hip and happening Trident. Janis Joplin lived just down the street and was such a regular that she laid claim to her own table, located conveniently close to a secret side entrance. If you visit now you can do what we did – sit sipping cocktails at the Janis Joplin table and hope to soak up a little of her rock ‘n roll spirit. The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia was another regular – most Saturday afternoons he could be found perched at the end of the bar, sharing his time – and his bar tab- with an endless stream of fans, well-wishers and fellow rockers. The close proximity of the Record Plant recording studio meant that a steady stream of music stars passed through the doors of The Trident. Dave Crosby, the other members of The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane all spent time there, as did Carlos Santana, Country Joe McDonald, Van Morrison and Bob Marley. Miles Davis was another regular guest and, as if to prove once and for all that he’s the coolest man ever, insisted on having his own personal chess set in place at his window seat.

General Manager Rick Enos

General Manager Rick Enos

Make My Day!

According to Rick, Clint Eastwood ‘practically lived’ in The Trident while shooting Dirty Harry, dedicating himself to the pursuit of one of The Trident’s legendary waitresses, while other Hollywood A-listers to enjoy the laid back atmosphere and the fact that they were left pretty much to themselves included Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Legend has it that one Hollywood star and one Hollywood star only had the ability to stop The Trident in its tracks when he entered, and that was none other than Groucho Marx.

TTrident Deck

Trident Deck Area

Speaking of celebrity encounters, Rick remembers the time Elton John was in The Trident:

“I remember seeing some ladies at the bar, getting very excited, saying ‘Oh my god, it’s Elton John.’ They ran over to say hello and get his autograph and didn’t really pay much attention to the guy sitting next to Elton. This guy was wearing a big old hat and was kind of slunk down, hidden away. And that’s how those ladies missed their chance to say hello to John Lennon….” John and Yoko were just two more of the huge stars who felt able to relax and unwind within the baroque wooden interior of The Trident.

The Trident - Rick Enos

Twinkle In The Eye

Rick himself was a regular during the 70’s when, as he explains, the stylish interior of The Trident offered an appealing alternative for business meetings:

“This was when I was working for Bob Freeman who now owns the Trident. We’d built around 102 restaurants and at one time I was working as his director of training. From my office over in San Francisco I could look out across the bay and see that often, when the weather was crappy where I was, it was sunny over here in Sausalito. Now at this time I’d have about 30 to 40 guys in training at any given time. They’d be out in restaurants then we’d call them back in for a corporate pep talk before we gave them assignments and, I can tell you, there’s a whole generation of restaurant managers from the mid-seventies that spent some of their time seated at that table right over there in the corner. Because, after looking out of my window, I’d get the ferry across with them and we’d spend time here talking about the restaurant and sampling some real life atmosphere. Which was really just an excuse to hang around and watch all the cute hippy chicks that hung around here….” There’s no mistaking the twinkle in Rick’s eye as he recounts this part of the story of The Trident. “The waitresses had a dress code that we can’t even really talk about today, and the girls took it to the extreme. But it wasn’t a sexual thing, it was more about felling free and comfortable. Take a look back at The Trident and you’ll see lots of pictures of beautiful girls wearing very see-through, gauzy type material….”

Legend has it that the application process for waiting jobs at The Trident consisted of having a polaroid taken and being asked what your star sign was, although all those who got a job there attest that the waitresses and busboys worked every bit as hard as they might have played. It’s all a long way from LinkedIn and psychometric job applications, but then the mention of skimpy outfits reminds Ro and myself of the time in Junior High when we put on a show for the whole school. It consisted of dancing the robot to Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever dressed in gauze halter tops. And this was to get us out of trouble with the principal!

The point being that times change, and the waitresses today wear just a little bit more, but work just as hard to create a welcoming atmosphere. Rick insists that the modern Trident, purveyor of meals consisting of seasonal, local, organic and sustainably produced ingredients, pretty much runs itself, and that he spends time here because he likes the atmosphere so much. We suspect he’s being a little modest on the ‘runs itself’ score, but know exactly what he means about enjoying the atmosphere. It’s true that buildings can’t talk (if they could, the carved wooden interiors of The Trident would have quite the tale to tell), but I’m a firm believer in places soaking up the atmosphere and vibes within and around them. When you relax in The Trident you can practically feel the history – the rock ‘n roll, the creativity, the sexy laid back 60s and the amazing people who’ve been and gone – surrounding you, almost daring you to be just a little bit wild. For a glimpse of The Trident in its heyday get hold of a DVD of Woody Allen’s ‘Play it Again Sam’, which features a scene filmed on location, complete with real patrons in the background. It’s an enticing glimpse for sure, but as we sit at Janis Joplin’s table and wonder whether to order a Tequila Sunrise (it was invented here when Mick, Keith and the boys were in town, but that’s yet another story), we can’t help but feel privileged to be soaking up the real thing, and raising a glass to whoever realized that this would be a fantastic spot for a yacht club.

Rick and Carolyn

Rick and Carolyn

The Trident - Rick Enos

In our final visit to The Trident we’ll hear that story about the creation of the Tequila Sunrise, find out how The Trident was used to tempt the Rolling Stones back to San Francisco, and explain the links between The Trident and the legendary Record Plant recording studio.

Photographs courtesy of The Trident -
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