About The Shanghai Red Cafe, San Pedro, CA
“He ran the toughest waterfront bar in the world and boasted he could lick any man in the joint.”
“Shanghai Red” Eisenberg was a johnny-come-lately. His place was representative only of the gaudy, bawdy era which followed the repeal of Prohibition. Bill Olesen 12-1-70. Shanghai Red …
… Shanghai Red died in June 1957. That’s nearly 17 years ago. Smith wrote his obituary. Every able drinking seaman who hit San Pedro washed up in Red’s saloon, but all they knew about Red was that he ran the roughest waterfront bar in the world, boasted that he could lick any man in the joint and was a soft touch for any sailor who had been rolled or lost his pay in a crap game or was otherwise momentarily embarrassed. His real name was Charles Oliver Eisenberg, and he was born on San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, where he earned his trade early as a bar boy in a waterfront dive. When he was old enough,or maybe before, he joined the Navy and saw the world. He went back to the land again in Shanghai and bought into a waterfront saloon. That’s where he earned his name. When he had a stake he came home and opened up on Beacon Street. The day Red died they padlocked his doors and the place never opened again. Some years ago the whole street was condemned for a redevelopment project. It has been dragging on so long that I wonder if Red’s old bucket of blood might still be there. I was in the neighborhood the other day and drove over to the street for a look.