Sometimes it takes an epiphanous moment for an alcoholic to see the light. In Joe's case it happened as he walked downtown one day and caught his reflection in a window.
Then ... Four years have passed during which time Joe has been fired from five jobs because of his alcoholism. He is seen walking near Union Square along Maiden Lane (map), originally Morton Street and once a red-light destination for bars and brothels but by the 1960s an up-scale street of cafes and high-end boutiques. Nothing to do with the movie, but let CitySleuth draw your attention to the interesting building across the street - the one with the archway entrance ...
... and Now, that building, at 140 Maiden Lane, housed the V.C. (Vera Chase) Morris Gift Shop. Back in 1948 it had been renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright who designed its interior circular ramp as a prototype for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Now the home of the Xanadu Gallery, this is the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in San Francisco.
Then ... He pauses and catches sight of himself in the window of the Union Square Lounge at 177 Maiden Lane.
... and Now, the shop front has been remodeled and that window has been replaced by the entrance to Spectacles, an opticians.
... and Now, a recent photo of the store. Al fresco tables of the Mocca cafe next door (Bab's women's clothes store when the movie was shot) take advantage of Maiden Lane's traffic-free status today.
For the first time he confronts himself, recognizing the bum he has become.
He heads straight back to their shabby rooms and drags Kirsten, it's daytime but she's already drunk, to a mirror. In an emotional outburst he confronts their reflections - "Look at us ... see? ... a couple of bums! ..." and tells her they have to get sober and stay sober.