Posted by: Ginny Prior | January 27, 2012

Smokin’ good time on the San Mateo Coast

By Keegan Rohan

What in the world is a Double Decker smoking bus?

That was the first thing I asked myself as our class pulled in to the famous Cameron’s Inn and Restaurant.  It was our final adventure together, and after trekking around downtown Half Moon Bay and hiking near the former site of World War II Nike missiles, our group of travel writers had worked up quite an appetite.

Luckily, Cameron Palmer, founder and owner of this coastal hotspot was expecting us, and oh boy had he prepared a feast.  But before sitting down for this said feast, we were granted open access to look around this jaw dropping establishment and take in all of the incredible decor that Cameron had collected over the years. More than 2000 beer cans that Cameron has personally collected from age 10 climbed the wall. He also has various British memorabilia hanging throughout this local pub and for those who smoke he even has two of the “World’s Only Double Decker Smoking Buses.”

Cameron started out in the restaurant business at around the age of 20 when he decided take a loan out to open a burger a shake place.  After roughly 10 years of great service and little profits, he eventually decided to purchase the Inn.  Before Cameron, the inn had already built its own history; in the 20′s the Inn supposedly housed Al Capone’s slot machines,  the 30′s brought illegal bootlegging and 3 murders, during World War II the Army took over the Inn, in the 40′s and 50′s the Inn saw drunken pistols shot at the wall and plenty of underage drinking, and in road the Hell’s Angels during the 60′s, literally, they were such a hurry that they rode their bikes into the bar.  Although Cameron acknowledges the illustrious History his Inn has, he hopes to create new memories and traditions moving forward.

After attempting to play shuffle board and losing more than a few quarters to a machine housing bouncy balls, it was time to eat.  We had a spread that looked like it was meant for the Army brigade back during World War II.  Cameron prepared fresh salad, three different kinds of pizza, crispy french fries, and of course, one of his most famous dishes, Fish and Chips.  Now, it is important to tell you, I am by no stretch of the imagination a fan of seafood.  But, with that said, I actually liked the Fish and Chips.  These lightly battered strips of Cod come out of the kitchen hot, crunchy, and just down right tasty.  Aside from these golden brown fishy morsels of comfort, Cameron’s “Pub Grub” would make for the perfect compliment to any of his beers, which he currently offers 18 draft beers and 60 more by the bottle.  And below his towering wall of beer cans hangs a sign that says it best,”We Offer 60 Bottled beers and 20 on Draft.  If You Can’t Find One Here, You Must Not Like Beer.”

With an extensive vintage beer can collection, arcade games from yesteryear to today, a savory menu, memorabilia from all over the world, live Karaoke and even an intimate fireplace to help keep warm, Cameron’s Inn provides an ambiance anyone can enjoy.  So whether its Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patricks Day, or the last Thursday in January, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on the beautiful coast of Half Moon Bay, make the right move, and head to Cameron’s Inn.  Where it really doesn’t matter if you are a beer slugging soccer fan or a tourist looking for shelter from the fog, Cameron’s Inn has something for everyone to enjoy.  Thanks to Cameron’s hospitality I know I’ll be headed back as soon as I can.


Phone #: (650) 726-5705


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