Three perfect patios for warm weather boozing
RUGGY'S YELP Lately the weather around San Francisco has been more akin to what you'd expect in a city like San Diego. Or San Antonio (remember Pewee, there's no basement in the Alamo!). Or heck, even San Felipe, Mexico.
Feel free to insert your own tropical "San" destination as a point of comparison, but the fact remains: we've been as spoiled as a Kardashian sister in an NBA locker room over the last couple of weeks with this delicious abundance of California sunshine. When those warm days and nights take hold in our usually mild metropolis, the low hanging fruit for al fresco assimilation frequently ends up being Zeitgeist. But believe it or not, that's not the only gunslinger in the Wild West of outdoor indulgence.
Looking to take a break from slugging bloody marys among a sea of tight-jeaned counter-culturalists? Check out a few of these lesser-known destinations for exoteric irrigation.
Taking up residency in an area of town better known for its seedy rathskellers and nondescript, shadowy tap rooms lies one of the most impressive open air asylums in town. With enough room to play a round of jai alai with every last member of the Polyphonic Spree, Jones is easily the most sprawling rooftop deck you'll find anywhere in this seven-by-seven-mile playground. Featuring nibbles by Ola Fendert of Oola fame, the menu includes everything from fried chicken and waffles and Humboldt Fog pizza to lighter fare of seasonal soups, steamed mussels, and ambrosial salads, accompanied by an array of beer, wine, and specialty cocktail selections. Jones does channel a bit of the fist-pumping Ruby Skye scene at times, but don't let a few spray-tanned fashionistas deter you from one of the best hangs under the stars for a balmy, cloudless night.
620 Jones, SF. (415) 496-6858, www.620-jones.com
This relative newcomer to the skids sits high above the curbs of the Sixth and Market interchange with a cozy garden setting ripe for an extended stopover any time of day. While pigeons fight over discarded bones from nearby Louisiana Fried Chicken and free-spirited drifters engage in heated debates with various inanimate objects, dive into a chilled glass of pinot grigio or a frothy pint of Lagunitas IPA (beer and wine only here) while devouring French-inspired treats like artisan fromage and meaty baguette sandwiches. While most menu selections don't necessarily give Thomas Keller a run for his money, the croque monsieur is not to be missed if you know what's good for ya.
28 Sixth St., SF. (415) 437-9730
In the space where the parking lot for the KFC that previously called this space home once stood is a finger-lickin' good outdoor veranda, perfect for throwing back a few adult libations in the heart of the Mission. Few are aware of Spork's hidden bucolic surroundings, so if it's date night and you're looking to impress your boo with an under-the-radar retreat, it will do the trick nicely.
And it ain't no parking lot ambiance, either. The vintage record player that spits out tunes in the corner makes for a easefully hip aura perfect for tipping back a gaggle of hard-to-pronounce barley-malted bevies. In the event temperatures dip a little beyond your comfort level, the crew will gladly fire up the heatlamps to ensure that your goose bumps don't get too out of hand. (Of course you could always take the opportunity to keep your dining companion warm with some old-fashioned 98 degree body heat, but we'll leave that up to you, player.)
1058 Valencia, SF. (415) 643-5000, www.sporksf.com
The raffish Ruggy Joesten is senior community manager at Yelp.com.