EaterSF tells the creation tale of The Royal Cuckoo – the much-welcomed new cocktail bar at the intersection of Mission and Valencia — and its founder, Paul Miller:
Miller was stretched after the purchase, so to fill the bar he essentially moved his entire apartment into it—furniture, pictures, trinkets, most all of it. Then, with the help of long-time pal Brian—whom Miller worked with over the years at Bruno’s, Foreign Cinema, and Chez Spencer—he gutted it, painted it a deep maroon, and added wooden wall sidings to antiquate the aura. To accent the darker colors, he added 1960’s-era lamps, alternating them with blue, green, and yellow bulbs, and he pushed the mood further with stain glass candleholders and flowered vases about the place. Taking it in for the first time, you might get the feeling you’re at a heady saloon in a mountain town, or in what you’d imagine to be a 1950’s jazz club in New York, ‘round 52nd street. Comparisons make for wasted words though, because Royal Cuckoo isn’t really modeled after anything. It’s just a collection of things that Miller and his friends like—old leather armchairs, salvaged church pews converted to benches and booths, nature paintings in old frames, antlers, vinyl. It’s the red carpet leading you to Cuckoo’s heart and soul—music and cocktails.
Along the way we also learn that The Royal Cuckoo is named after a bar in Long Beach where Miller’s grandfather loved to tie one on, that most of the records on the turntable pre-date the Carter Administration, and that there’s a Hammond organ hidden behind the bar. The EaterSF piece is a good read.