Downtown Traveler’s Top 5 Outdoor Bars in San Francisco

July 18, 2013 in Travel

Despite its reputation for chilly summers, San Francisco has its share of sunny days. When the sun does comes out, locals head to outdoor bars to get their craft beer and Vitamin D fix.

In a recent article in Downtown Traveler, I selected the top five establishments in San Francisco where you can drink outside—and you won’t necessarily need to bring a winter parka!

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>> This selection of watering holes is organized by ambience—so you can enjoy drinks with locals of every type.

Nob Hill Eats – Latest Reviews

February 11, 2013 in Alternative Cult-ure, Travel

These are some highlights from my latest dining experiences in San Francisco.

NEIGHBORHOOD: NOB HILL. It’s very hilly here; if have a hard time walking, dining in Nob Hill probably isn’t the best place for you.

Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

2 out of 5 Stars; Expensive

950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 772-5278

If you are looking for an experience that’s a cross between a tacky wedding reception and a luau, this place is it. There’s a band that plays classic hits from a boat. There’s also thunder and a fake rainfall. I ordered a $12 drink of the menu that appeared to be in a coconut. I asked, “does this drink come in a coconut?” The waitress said yes. But it was a fake coconut glass. The drink wasn’t bad. I went here on a date; it’s a local place at a very fancy hotel. We had no reservation so sat at the bar area, which wasn’t much different from the restaurant but there was a $7 cover per person. We ate from the full menu, so this fee was a bit silly, especially when 15 minutes after being seated there were a whole bunch of seats in the main dining room that opened up. The food was mediocre Chinese; the orange chicken was similar to a dish you can get order at Best Wok in Manhasset, New York (for a totally random reference point). I wouldn’t come back again, unless perhaps I took some LSD first. That would be a totally authentic San Fancisco experience. Prices: about $15/per drink; around $26/per entree.

Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery

4 out of 5 Stars; Inexpensive

599 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 351-2423

I have been here 10 times since moving to San Francisco proper. It’s delicious. Sometimes I order two breakfasts, such as a Nutella banana crepe and an egg dish. The crepe comes with a side of whipped cream or ice cream. (Yum, yum, yum!) I’m not too sure why I am not giving this 5 stars–I guess I reserve that for something I really, really love, but it’s definitely a 4.5 in my mind. Note that it is not full-service; you wait online to order and they bring the food to your table. There is some outdoor side-walk seating. Prices: I usually spend $10-15 on food and $3 for a coffee drink.

NEIGHBORHOOD: SOMA. It’s often sunny in downtown San Francisco.

Chaya Brasserie

3 out of 5 Stars; Expensive for Dinner / Excellent for Happy Hour

132 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 777-8688

I went to Chaya with a date; I planned something special for my new boyfriend’s 35th birthday. It was a bit of a disappointment for me that they didn’t seat us in the upscale section of the restaurant. Despite having a reservation, there was no table ready for us and we sat near the bar. In terms of food, I remember that the steak was good and not over cooked.
Previous to this experience, I went here for happy hour, which was a way better experience. A group of friends and I sat outside. I had the salmon skills rolls and thought that they were too hard and rubbery. I also had french fries that were excellent. (Salmon skin rolls and french friends, what a pair!). The atmosphere of sitting outside near the bay was great. I ignored the visibly intoxicated table of office workers who enjoyed the happy hour for too many hours.
In conclusion, I highly recommend happy hour, but I won’t be coming back for a fancy dinner.

>> Read more reviews on my new Yelp account (I think I signed up for Yelp four times, so: Yelp,  it would be cool to be able to combine those accounts somehow.)

Pedalfest: A Free Event for Cycle Lovers in Oakland’s Jack London Square

August 19, 2012 in Alternative Cult-ure, Events, Travel

AUGUST 18, 2012 — OAKLAND, CA: Pedalfest offered a line-up of bike-related activities with no cover charge.  Free ferries from San Francisco brought bike-toting passengers to the event at Jack London Square (Oakland’s hip/romantic waterfront area).

According to Pedalfest, all proceeds went to benefit the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, an organization that “works tirelessly for safe, convenient and enjoyable bicycling for all!”

One of many bicycle demonstrations included The Whiskey Drome, featuring ‘Oaklandesque-overall-trucker-hat-style, fun-loving men’ riding their bikes sideways in circles.

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On-hand at Pedalfest were circus-types and theatrical performers.
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Other cool activities included:

  • Bike stunts
  • Live music and dancing
  • Beer
  • Pedal-powered food vendors
  • Local shop representatives, hand-made bicycles, and art

Learn more about Pedalfest on their website at: | Jack London Square in Oakland hosts many events that are often free to the public. Check them out here: