Ask anyone who follows Doug Dalton on social media and they’ll tell you that this guy knows how to have a good time. The Fairfax, Va., native is now a dyed-in-the-wool Californian, and photos of him wearing a cheetah suit and going to Burning Man, cocktail parties, and rock concerts might lead you to think he is just a playboy.
He is also the owner of 9 very successful, very popular, very trendy bars in San Francisco, as well as 3 stores.
How — and why – does a former “dot com guy” end up as a bar entrepreneur? “I was working at Estee Lauder as the Chief Technology Officer living in San Francisco and New York City. New Yorkers would often speak poorly about San Francisco saying there was nothing interesting to do there. I wanted to contribute to San Francisco because I felt it was a wonderful town. San Francisco at the time was full of incredible restaurants and dive bars but nothing in between, so I ventured to make an elusive but not exclusive high-end bar experience on par with the New York nightlife scene.”
Doug and his partners venture into areas that some businesses are reluctant to consider (like the Tenderloin District) and his successes are reinvigorating long-ignored areas. “Our bars are bringing new life and other businesses to the area, helping to better them and make them more inviting.”
If you know a student who is interested in identifying a problem…and working for a solution…encourage him or her to look at Emory & Henry’s Ampersand project. Maybe they’ll grow up and be like Doug Dalton: an answer to community challenge.
“I wanted to contribute to San Francisco because I felt it was a wonderful town…so I ventured to make an elusive but not exclusive high-end bar experience on par with the New York nightlife scene.”