Seated at a cluttered desk in his upstairs, back-room office at the Last Day Saloon, the nightclub's owner, Dave Daher, carried on several conversations at once.
He talked on his phone — the ring tone is a chugging locomotive — while he chatted with several visitors walking in and out of his office. And every once in a while, he called out to his wife, Nancy, the club manager, working in her office next door.
“I gotta go,” he rasped into the phone. “I've got people here.”
It was a typically busy scene for Daher. But he'll soon have time on his hands — for the first time in four decades.
After running the original Last Day Saloon in San Francisco from 1973 to 2005, and the Santa Rosa version of the nightclub since 2001, the burly, plain-spoken club owner is ready to rest.
“In 40 years of being in this business, and being in this office and my office in the city — that office was even more of a dungeon — the longest vacation we ever had was 10 days,” Daher said.
And when was that? (A short bark of wry laughter emerged from Nancy's office in response to the question.)
“Probably about 1978,” Daher answered. “I went 79 straight days without a day off between the two clubs, when I first opened this one in Santa Rosa.”
Two months ago, Daher began to spread the word he planned to retire. Last month, he put the Last Day Saloon, and the building in Railroad Square that houses it, up for sale.
There has been interest in the property but no deal so far, he said. In the meantime, he's renting out the club to independent promoters for a few shows this month.
“I must have booked 15,000 or 16,000 bands in 40 years. I was lucky enough to know all of these people in their prime,” Daher said. “Before computers, I kept all the names in this black book.”