Maybe it was the result of consuming the contents of too many tin cans, but on the tiny stage at Tin Can Alehouse one recent Tuesday night, Trio Gadjo looked like they'd been placed into a giant, old-timey diorama. Perfectly lit at the back of the narrow, Bankers Hill bar, the stage sports a large rug and is backed by a muted-red wall decorated with empty picture frames. The effect is, in a word, quaint.
Trio Gadjo—two guitarists and an upright-bass player who play the kind of finger-pickin' jazz that would make Django Reinhardt grin from ear to ear—were ideal for Tin Can Alehouse, which seems to make a point of eschewing pretense. Minimal music, minimal decor, minimal attitude.
And, yes, minimal beer containers. Indeed, the bar's theme implores patrons to dial things down a couple of notches and consume that beverage from an ol' tin can. Thankfully, even though you can really ratchet it down—all the way to Old Milwaukee and Olympia—there's lots of higher-brow beer in those cans, too, such as Boddington's. If you're really thirsty, you can order a massive, 5-liter can (or, mini-keg) of Spaten. But Tin Can aims to please, so if you must imbibe from a bottle, you're fairly well covered.
Located in a sleepier section of Fifth Avenue, between the hustle of Hillcrest and the bustle of Downtown, Tin Can Alehouse is a destination for folks who don't want to deal with a lot of crap when they go out to a bar. There won't be any spur-of-the-moment walk-in traffic packing the place and ruining the vibe. The fans don't do much to cool the joint down in these hot summer months, but occasional relief is just a step outside the door (just keep it quiet out there).When the stage is dark, the jukebox takes over, and that's a good thing. Someone has obviously put a lot of tender loving care into selecting the discs, what with the inclusion of everything from Otis Redding and early Dolly Parton to Stiff Little Fingers and The Damned.
Tin Can has been described as a replacement for the old Scolari's Office in North Park and as something of a westerly sister to South Park's Whistle Stop Bar. All it really is, however, is a badly needed additional option for bargoers who are hard to please.Tin Can Alehouse on Fifth is located at 1863 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill. www.myspace.com/tincanalehouse.