7 Mile House was built circa 1858—but not as a mile house. It was first constructed as a toll gate approximately seven miles from Portsmouth Square. It is proudly the Bay Area’s last ‘mile house’ left standing in its original location.
Mile Houses, established in the mid 19th century, served as old stagecoach and wheel exchange stops, hotels, and sundry shops, where horses rested and riders or drivers took a break from the arduous travel. Later, mile houses evolved into popular neighborhood watering holes. In the case of 7 Mile House, it's said it even became a brothel.
The 7 Mile House has stood as witness to some of San Francisco’s more colorful, albeit sometimes notorious, moments in history. In the late 1890s, an illegal poolroom operated from behind the pub—probably the first recorded incident of the many illegal gambling activities that happened in 7 Mile. These continued from the early 1910s to the early 2000s, with cards, claw machines, and sports betting as the gamblers' choice of play, depending on the era.