Archive for the ‘Best Bars’ Category

Pretty, Well, Good


Maybe I went to Sunday’s Good Magazine party at 111 Minna with expectations that were too high. But last year’s subscriber event seemed to draw a bigger and more excitable crowd, not to mention a larger number of sustainable and creative companies. Nau was notably missing this year, but that could be part of their near-miss closing and upcoming restart.

Still, to be fair, the sidewalk party and its solar-powered stage are a fun excuse to spend an afternoon sipping Dark and Stormys (or chai if that’s more to your liking). I like the work the magazine is doing to make young people more aware of international affairs, even if it takes boxed wine vendors to get us to put our money where our mouths are.

New York Times, Meet Paxton Gate

0713-tra-websurfacingmap.gifI always get a little nervous when I see San Francisco listed on the front page of the Sunday New York Times travel section. A haute restaurant here, a travel deal there: frequently their writing about places outside of the greater New York area seems to have an air of superiority. When I was in Chicago they ran a piece about Wicker Park that seemed condescending (to the effect of “Look at these funky people who live here! How quaint.”)

Yesterday’s piece on Valencia Street, “Hipster Hunting Ground,” wasn’t quite as offensive, but it still seemed to view the Corridor through a Brooklyn lens. The Curiosity Shoppe, Paxton Gate, Spork, and Ritual Roasters were all featured, and fairly. I was surprised, however, that Dosa was featured while Range didn’t get a mention; the same for Little Star (maybe I’m just a sucker for the jukebox and heirloom tomatoes). The piece, while limited in length, doesn’t capture the neighborhood’s character and even gets lazy toward the end: “Like the street itself, [Amnesia’s] lineup is full of surprises.”

Travis Poh, Who/Where Are You?


With a shoulder that feels ripped apart courtesy of Chrome (that sounds very Valencia Corridor-esque), I’ve been looking for something to carry my items around SF in that won’t require Ibuprofin. That’s right: a backpack. No more shoulder bags; this time around, it’s an off-to-third grade two strap style. I noticed a heavy duty one from Freight Baggage at Freewheel, but the white would last about a week before I tried to leave for work with coffee before getting caught off guard by a stop sign.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time yesterday afternoon trying to track down Freight Baggage’s creator, Travis Poh. An online search for turned up one of those pages with a photo of a random lady and an offer to buy the URL. Uninterested in freight shipping quotes as well, I started asking strangers and messengers. “Oh yea,” one told me. “Travis. You can find him on Vallejo toward North Beach. By that cafe. Tell him Frank sent you.”

My fault for not getting enough information (or maybe the fact that it sounded a bit too much like a drug transaction). A Freight Baggage MySpace page says Mr. Poh is 100 years old–no big shock there. I was also told that he’s elusive and overworked. I could order one through a bike shop but it could take more than a month to arrive. Is it so wrong to want to end my search and find the maker in our seven-by-seven mile city?

All I want is a backpack, preferably in primary colors and within the range of my tax refund check. It doesn’t have to be big enough for me to fit in. You can stick that logo with a train car anywhere you want on it. But please, let’s end the search.

SF Cocktail Week Opening Gala tonight

As promised, here’s your social calendar reminder (for tonight and the rest of the week).

San Francisco Cocktail Week kicks off tonight with a heavenly event at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake. Tony Abou-Ganim, noted mixologist and former Starlight Room barman, will return to his old stomping grounds for another round of Cable Cars and well-heeled company. If you’re going to tax your liver anyway, you might as well do it with masterfully mixed cocktails overlooking The City at sunset.

The event runs from 6 pm to 9 pm. More importantly, admission is not only free but includes a complimentary cocktail upon arrival.

SF Cocktail Week

I’ll be posting a reminder on the 13th, but since you can never have too much prior notice…

The second annual San Francisco Cocktail Week is coming. Running from May 13th – 19th, SFCW celebrates, as the name suggests, cocktails and “the dynamic beverage culture of our community.”

From the Opening Gala at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room to the Closing Party at Absinthe, attendees will be able to learn more about the history of cocktails, observe San Francisco’s bar illuminati in action and, more importantly, sample the essence of their labors. Select restaurants will offer tasting menus with specially paired cocktails. Neighborhood-favorite Elixir will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a tribute to the Sazerac. On the 14th, you’ll even be able to imbibe with the best — renowned guest bartenders from across the country will display their craft at bars around The City.

So put on your drinking shoes (closed-toe highly recommended) and come celebrate San Francisco’s hallowed place at the altar of fine drinkables. Just don’t forget to designate a driver or MUNI navigator.

Party Like it’s Friday! Noc Noc!

Noc Noc

Noc Noc Exterior

When my friend told me he wanted to meet up at Noc Noc, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t think anything of it until I started asking around to see if anyone I knew had been there before. I started to get really excited.

I wanted to know what this cave-like burningmanesque bar located in the Lower Haight that only served beer, wine, and sake was all about.


Check this out! Brainstormer’s Grand Pub Quiz!


Tonight! Check out Brainstormer’s Grand Pub Quiz at your local pub!

Click the link above for more info and to register your team!

Brainstormers have weekly quiz nights at bars all over SF. I’ve been to the one at Elephant & Castle over in the FiDi and it’s loads of fun!

This week-long tournament begins tonight! So head on over to Valley Tavern, Blackthorn Tavern, Fishbowl, or Monaghan’s, and while you’re at it, go ahead and order up a round of shots of Patrón or Cazadores for your team! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo and get your game on tonight!

Party Like it’s Friday! 111 Minna Gallery!

111 Minna

111 Minna

Who says your after-work happy hour excursion needs to be at the closest pub from your office building, or at the cantina at your local Chevys Fresh Mex. (These are all valid choices, mind you.) But, every now and then when the big hand is at number 12 and the little hand is at number 5 (translation: 5 o’clock), I crave something a little bit different.

111 Minna Gallery offers just that: something a little bit different.


Party Like it’s Friday! Beale Street Bar and Grill!

Greetings dear readers! I’m happy to present to you a weekly addition to SF Metblogs! Every Wednesday, I’ll pick a bar to write about and present my take and experience in hopes of giving you options for your everyday after-work Happy Hour needs so that you can effectively “Party Like it’s Friday!”

Why should you care what I have to say, you ask?

Good question!

Let’s just chalk it up to the fact that I’m pretty passionate about the after-work Happy Hour ritual we all like to partake in on occasion. You don’t have to agree with everything I have to say, but I hope to get the chance to introduce some new places and perhaps a new perspective on what San Francisco has to offer!

Comments are always welcome and please feel free to throw some suggestions my way! I’m an equal-opportunity drinker and always looking for new spots to check out! As this is a San Francisco blog, let’s try to stay within city limits. Although, I’m no stranger to the East Bay and would love to venture out that way on occasion.

Beale Street Bar and Grill

Beale Street Bar

I was first introduced to Beale Street Bar and Grill when my roommate invited me to a thing his co-workers were having one night. Working in the Financial District in San Francisco has taught me never to turn down an invitation to a bar I’ve never been.

We’re so limited to what bars there are to go to in the area that it seems we tend to flock to the same ones repeatedly after work. I do get it; certain people have certain tastes. That much is… well, certain. But, I’m the type of guy that likes variety. I tend to not have a favorite type of anything. The Financial District seems to provide a certain specific type of venue for your happy hour needs. Sure there’s variety, but like any district in SF, it’s pretty limited. In the Financial District, there are mainly pubs and bars catered to those hard working people we like to affectionately (and sometimes not so much affectionately) call Yuppies.

I tend to really like dive bars. It’s not a preference in the sense that I’ll be opposed to go anywhere else. It’s just that I feel like they have an environment that’s much more comfortable than any stuffed up fancy place can provide.

Beale Street provides the happy medium. It’s still the Financial District and even their slogan says it’s “The Financial District’s Neighborhood Bar” and that tells me they can provide that comfortable dive bar experience you may want.


No Stress Express brings reggae to SF free of profanity, misogyny and negativity?

It was recently brought to my attention that tonight diminutive Jamaican based musician Half Pint is appearing @ tiny lil’ Pier 23 as part of Club Dread.

Unlike many of the popular dancehall scene faves currently, he’s one of the few successful artists I know of in the genre who eschews the worst cliches & prejudices espoused in rap lyrics these days. He’s out promoting a new release called “No Stress Express” in which he shares the spotlight with guests including Miki Howard, Sizzla. The new single “Unity” recorded with Jack Maness formerly of Sublime offshoots Long Beach Dub All Stars is a call for harmony within the family of man.

Half Pint is a relatively humble artist active since the 80’s who’s been covered/copied by some pretty big white acts including the Rolling Stones (his song Winsome under their 1986 title “Too Rude”), and the aforementioned Sublime hit the big time in 1996 with Half Pint’s “Loving”, that you know better as the multi-platinum “(Love is) What I Got”. Half Pint is one of the few dancehall artists that consistently refrains from profanity, misogyny and negativity. The lyric book of his new CD even has section on stress relief that includes soaking one’s feet in epsom salts…

His other radical viewpoints include the horribly unhip and seemingly forgotten concepts like interpersonal respect , individuality, and (gasp!) family stability. Half Pint has even complained about the lyrics of other contemporary acts.

“There’s just raging and rebelling and they’re not realizing it’s not getting them anywhere. It’s better to be cool, calm and collective and do your homework and deal with one situation at a time. A lot of rap is still disrespectful to women, also. They’re saying things like, ‘Alright, Mama, do your thing. Keep selling your body.’ And I’m like, ‘Whoaaaah. No, mama don’t sell your body. Stick to me and let’s try to work things out without resorting to that.”

Whoa, crazy!!!

if you want to give Big Ups to the Half Pint, he’ll been making Pier 23 sweat after 10 pm til late tonight…

There’s some mp3 samples below for y’all


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