Bourbon and Branch, Wilson and Wilson, Rickhouse... I've frequented (and written about) each since they opened. Though some tire of the speakeasy concept, Bourbon and Branch led that trend, remaining one of the more transporting places to drink anywhere. I value owner Future Bars' emphasis on setting and will always adore a setting from another era or place, whether you call it speakeasy or not. Taste and quality is crucial, but I'm grateful for that rare bar I can escape to, to feel as if I'm in another time or world, preferably with an excellent drink.
Future Bars' brand new bar, Local Edition, opened yesterday off bustling Market Street near Third (in what was the Manhattan Lounge), full of retro spirit. I visited a couple days before opening to check out the space, and again opening day for drinks, when the line to get in wrapped around the block (hopefully not a sign of things to come?) The underground space has a 1950s-era jazz club feel and is surprisingly large (over 5000 square feet), so even after the throngs entered, it was not full. The bar is sexy and candlit with a stage, restored vintage chairs surrounding low tables, and red bench seats lining the walls.
HERBWISE Say "cannabis," not "weed." Couch discussion in the language of medicine, not intoxication. There are a lot of rules when it comes to talking about marijuana — and the country's most beloved cannabis publication breaks most of them.Read more »
CHEAP EATS The morning after Piggy and the Conch Shells got bonked in the first round of the playoffs, I packed a bag of ice and some turkey jerky and boarded a train for here. I had three days on that train to study my San Francisco team's playbook, but of course I didn't. I hobnobbed with stranger-than-life strangers, listened to Utah Phillips albums, wrote half a book, and just generally stared out the window.Read more »
VISUAL ARTS The aura of old wars was in the room. Sock-footed, sitting on the floor eating bowls of ramen in the old barracks of the Marin Headlands, we were cozy and well-defended from the coastal fog. Once, these barracks were used to keep the Japanese out. But now we were welcoming them in, with every slurp of soup.Read more »
Heaven’s Dog has been a haven for superb cocktails since it opened, with excellent bartenders like Erik Ellestad (Savoy Stomp) and pre-Prohibition era cocktails ($10 each) from Charles H. Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion, aka "Jigger, Beaker, and Glass." The bar still serves Baker classics, and with new bar manager Trevor Easter on board, receives a fresh infusion while keeping to its roots. Easter came from some of our city's best bars (like 15 Romolo and Wilson & Wilson inside Bourbon & Branch), and used to trek up from San Diego where he lived prior to SF for cocktails at Heaven’s Dog by bar director Erik Adkins.
CHEAP EATS One of my favorite places to be is at the foot of Potrero Hill in Jackson Park, where I played pick-up baseball in the 1990s and soccer in the 2000s. It's very unclaustrophobic around there, maybe you've noticed. Although: the air is thick with Anchor Steam hops and, for me, memories of athletic style glory such as grounding out to third.Read more »
APPETITE Southern food has a profound hold on me. No, I'm not a Southerner — but few cuisines the world over elicit in me such yearning and comfort. Finding the real deal in the Bay Area is tricky, although a recent Southern trend has helped. Aside from my beloved Brenda's and delightful Boxing Room, the following spots fulfill cravings.