In 1996 when Brady and I moved to an apartment on the 3200 block of Folsom street just up from Precita Park, my brother-in-law immediately said we were right across the street from an old hang-out from his biker days. I heard him call it was, “The Ripple Tap.” As an armchair historian, I did all I could to determine anything about this bar which sat at the location of today’s Caffe Cozzolino. (TIP: order the pesto chicken pizza to pick up.)
My search was fruitless. I searched the Internet, old phone books, and city directories, I asked every old-timer I could find, and I came up with nothing about The Ripple Tap. All I knew was that my brother-in-law and sister and their motorcycle-enthusiast friends used to start their evenings there back in the day, and that many shenanigans ensued.
Then about 5 years ago, while working with Vicky Walker of the Bernal History Project, I discovered a wonderful history written by longtime Bernal Resident Jerry Schimmel who shed some light on this elusive story:
Around 1968 when Peter Cancilla (of Cancilla’s Market) acquired the property across the way at 300 Precita Avenue, among the odds and ends he acquired was a medium-sized cloth or banner bearing an applique version of the Colombia national arms.
The amusing thing was its completely garbled motto, apparently perpetrated by a Japanese seamstress. The normal spelling of the Colombian Spanish motto is Libertad y Orden (Liberty and Order) which somehow became Ribeltad Vorden… the bungled phrase inspired the name of his new watering hole.
Thus all became clear, sort of. Jerry’s account of life at the Ribeltad jibed exactly with my sister’s stories, right down to the shenanigans. And now we know the real name of the place, sort of.