Opened in 1883 by Johnny Heinold as J.M. Heinold’s Saloon, this Historic Landmark looked much then as she does today. She was built right here in 1880 from the timbers of an old whaling ship over the water in a dock area that even then was at the foot of Webster Street. For nearly three years, the building was used as a bunk house by the men working the nearby oyster beds. Then in 1883, Johnny’s $100 purchase, with the aid of a ship’s carpenter, was transformed into a saloon where seafaring and waterfront men could feel at ease.
It is for good reason that this is known as Jack London’s Rendezvous. As a schoolboy, Jack London studied at these same tables we still use today. Later, he would return to his favorite table and write notes for The Sea Wolf and Call of the Wild. At age 17, he confided to John Heinold his ambition to go to the University of California and become a writer. Johnny lent London the money for tuition and, although he never got beyond his first year, it was while studying at this saloon and listening to the stories of shipmates and stevedores that he developed his thirst for adventure. The theme of men bravely facing danger appears throughout the best of his works