After 20+ years of spending Memorial Day Weekend down the shores of New Jersey, Leann and I decided to head out west to the great city of San Francisco, California.
She’s been a number of times but not I. Needless to say she knew some really sweet spots to check out. I’m weird when it comes to visiting new cities. I have no interest in seeing your typical tourist attractions. In this case, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard street, etc will not be focused on here. I was way more interested in visiting bars mentioned by Bay Area artists than anything else.
We wasted no time landing and headed to the hostel we’d be staying at Music City Hotel. This place was bare bones but had some really great features. It was plastered with high resolution images of famous Bay Area musicians and even had a rehearsal studio that was totally free to use.
From there we headed out to find the closest dive bar we could find. Kozy Kar Bar did not disappoint. With $3 PBR and some very interesting decor it felt very familiar to some too the Philadelphia dive bars we are used to.
Then my buddy Victor suggested we hit a bar called Soda Popinski’s. Another fantastic spot full of super friendly people who made us a part of their group as we spin the wheel determining what drinks were on deck.
The next morning we’d get up super early (who needs sleep?) and grab some grub at
Mr. Homes Bakehouse. I really knew nothing about this place but based on the line that we luckily avoided it’s extremely popular. Met even more great people waiting in line. San Francisco is a very friendly city.
From there we ventured up through the financial district toward the ferry building. Very similar to Reading Terminal Market the Ferry Building was full of vendors selling local food, drinks, coffee beans etc. Leann got her Blue Bottle Coffee and we were off to explore some more.
We filtered in to the outdoor area of the Ferry Building and of course there were four gentlemen playing music in the market that caught my ear and eye right away. By the way just a rule of thumb. If you take the time to listen to street music or if you’re like me and snap a photo or two you better be ready to tip them.
From there the buzz from last night was starting to wear off. I knew we weren’t far from AT&T Park where the Giants play so as we made our way over there we found a great little spot to refuel a bit.
After a brief walk around the ballpark Leann had Timbuk2 as a must hit spot to pick up some new bags to ride with. I’m not much of a shopper and was even able to resist the temptation of a new backpack or messenger back so I thought it was time to treat myself. What better way than a stop at Southern Pacific Brewing.
As many of you know I’m not much of a beer snob but this place was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t help but start drinking some local beers and shooting some photos.
It was at this. point we found it best to relieve ourself from the weight of our purchases and head back to the hotel for a bit. After a quick drop-off we headed right back out to do some more shopping at the sports basement as Leann prepared for her triathlons.
It was at this point I first sold the Golden Gate Bridge. Guess what? It’s still there.
At this point I was starving and ready for a real meal. We ventured over toward North Beach. North Beach is a very Italian section of San Francisco full of simple pizza places to very nice Italian restaurants. It was at this point we spared no expense. North Beach Restaurant is where we landed and man was that food excellent. Service was also top notch.
At this point we summed up day one. I feel like we covered a ton of ground in just a single day but I was so stoked for day two.
Getting up early again we thought it best to grab some local grub at MyMy and head out exploring some more. After a day and a half of walking these insane hills, I was starting to feel in my legs.
We headed down to the Fisherman’s Wharf with tons of shops, In and Out Burger, and kinda touristy things to do but we were pretty thirsty at this point which lead us to Beer 39 on Pier 39. There wasn’t much special about the place other than the fact we were the first customer of the day. No shame there. We were anxious to hit some breweries but none of them really opened until 11am so this did just fine.
If at this point you’re noticing a trend of any kind you’d be absolutely correct. We like to drink. And why not? After killing some time here on local beers and flights we finally made our way to the breweries. First stop 21st Amendment.
This place was fantastic. We timed it just right, leading up to a Giants game so there were tons of fans our pre-gaming with out. Hell or High Watermelon in very popular in Philly but they server it with a big ass slice of watermelon. A nice touch. After having an excellent bar pie and some amazing brews with even more fun people we headed on down the street to another local brewery.
Thirsty Bear Organic Brewery. Should have just called it Thirsty Bust. The place wasn’t very busy at all and the service was slow and not very good at recommending beers at all. We didn’t even finish our beers before moving on.
To Anchor Brewery. A place we wanted to hit. We actually stumbled upon this the first day we were near the ballpark but didn’t realize it. Anchor was responsible for setting up an amazing outdoor spot right near the ballpark with great food, amazing beer, and outdoor games. We quickly met some fun people who made us feel at home and really enjoyed the outdoor atmosphere of this spot during the game.
From here we headed off to meet some old friends at another bar and finally back to the hotel.
We were leaving extremely early the next day so I had the idea of basically staying up all night and sleeping most of the way home. Not my greatest idea but there was one important stop I really wanted to make. The Dalva Bar.
Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind has pointed out the Dalva Bar in a song that has always resonated with me so I thought it would be awesome to check the place out and really feel more in touch with the song. Sure enough it did and our all nighter began!
We met up with some more friends whom I used to work with. They took us around a bunch of bars in the area before ending back up at which bar? You guessed it Kozy Kar. Couldn’t think of a better bar to start and end the trip at.
With little or no sleep we made our way back to the SFO first thing in the morning and hopped on a plane back to Philly. I’m very lucky that Leann was able to organize this trip in the way that she did. We had a ton of great food and beer, made some fun new friends, and most importantly memories.
I love that city and can’t wait to get back.