Sidney’s is named for its original owner, a musician who ran the place in the 1950s. On my most recent visit, a patron sitting next to me remembered coming to Sidney’s when Sidney himself still ran the bar. When I told him he didn’t look old enough to have been in a bar in the 1950s, he laughed and said it was when he was ten years old, but back then it was OK for children to come by a bar and get a cold drink or even pick up a beer for their parents. In the 1960s, laws changed, prohibiting youngsters from hanging out in such establishments. He chuckled, “I could come here when I was ten but not when I was fifteen!”
It’s not unusual to sit next to a regular like that at Sidney’s. Though the place has changed hands a few times in recent years, it seems the clientele has remained the same, and everybody knows each other. During a different visit, a man who lives around the corner, Roberto, brought in a big bowl of homemade ceviche, made from fish he had caught that morning. He placed the bowl along with a bag of tortilla chips on a table near the bar, and all the patrons sampled his recipe. Soon, patrons were buying rounds of Tecate beer to wash down his spicy gift.
Despite its age, Sidney’s has kept up with the times. Their beer list has expanded under its newest owner, and the number of regional craft beers exceeds the standard big brands. Sidney’s also has two daiquiri machines that churn out slushy cocktails. My favorite is The Perfect Storm, their version of a Dark and Stormy. Though fairly close to Frenchmen Street, Sidney’s is worlds away from that touristy spot. It’s full of locals and full of charm