2009 CC SA-BY Our Oakland

Baggy's By The Lake is a wonderful dive bar at 288 East 18th Street, named for John “Baggy” Baglietto. He retired c.1962, and died March 6, 1964. 1 The building has great neon, and a stylish stainless steel doorway.

The 1939 directory lists it as J.L. Baglietto selling retail liquor; the 1940 directory through at least the 1957 directory list it as Baggy's Buffet. They used Baggy's By the Lake for their Winter League bowling team c.1949-1950.

Hank's Tavern, or Yank's Buffet?

The story in Oakland North is that it was opened as Hank's Tavern in the 1930s after prohibition ended (December 5, 1933), but Hank had a gambling problem. He gave half ownership to a bookie nicknamed "Baggy" to settle his debts. 2 Some patrons say Hank mysteriously disappeared, and his ghost still haunts Baggy's. 3

But...

A 1934 ad lists 288 E18th as Yank's Buffet, featuring barbecued chicken; N.V. Lich was the proprietor. The 1935 directory lists 288 E18th under Daniel Yanks, running a restaurant. Lich's involvement seems to have been short-lived, as an August 1935 classified lists a restaurant concession for lease at 288 E18th; see Mr. Leach (Lich?). A 1938 classified lists "6 knotty pine booths, ideal for tavern or restaurant" for sale at 288 E18th. But Yanks continued to be connected to the address.

Dan Yanks' WWII draft card from 1942 lists him working as a bartender at Baggy's and living at 288 E18th as well. The 1939 directory lists Nick Lich as a bartender, living at 527 - 23rd.

1934 adDan Yanks draft card, 1942

"Yank's" being misheard or recalled as "Hank's" sounds like the classic telephone game that occurs so often in history. Nick Lich lived to age 97; by 1948, he and his wife had moved to San Mateo. He worked at a variety of jobs, including cook, building maintenance, and house painter. Dan Yanks is listed in the 1950 census living near Baggy's on Athol, age 70, unable work. He never married, and died in 1957.

As far as the rest of the story goes...who knows? How the place went from Lich and Yanks to Baglietto is hard to trace. Maybe if there is a ghost as some patrons claim, it's Yanks haunting the place because no one remembers his name...

Owners

Setting aside the question of Hank's/Yank's, over the years there have been a number of owners that have been identified.

Owners Years
John Baglietto c.1939-1962
Arnold H. and Helen Hansen
Bill Morris and A.H. (Tiny) Hansen
c.1967-1975
???
Mel Hitch c.1989
Mike McNew 1997-c.2011 2
Shari Murphy and JJ Jenkins 2021-

Photos

CC SA-BY Our Oakland

Links and References

  1. John Baglietto Oakland Tribune March 7, 1964
  2. The Nightcap: The old and comfortable Baggy’s By the Lake Oakland North December 9, 2011
  3. This Oakland Dive Bar Has a Ghost BrokeAssStuart.com June 7, 2023