While not exactly akin to a romp on white sands of South Beach, San Francisco summers mean late sunsets, provocative seasonal nibbles, and some QT hangin' alfresco with Mama Nature. So as that ball of magma orbiting through space continues to grace us with its presence (fingers crossed it continues!), take a peek at some of these nifty ideas for enjoying summer around the 415.
Outdoor Eats + Drinks:
Jones - 620 Jones Street, SF. (415) 496-6858
If a nifty patio hang is what you're looking for, you'll find a healthy dose of swank smack dab in the middle of the Tenderloin at Jones. This shadowy part of town is typically better known for its seedy dives and nondescript tap rooms, but amongst a sea of panhandlers and the not-so-faint smell of human waste lies one of the most impressive open air asylums in town. Here you can enjoy a sprawling rooftop deck, nibbles like chicken and waffles and Humboldt Fog pizza whipped up by Ola Fendert of Oola fame, as well as an array of beer, wine, and specialty cocktail selections to boot. It has a tendency to attract the fist pumping, LA types at times... so manage your expectations accordingly.
To get: Any of the $5 plates at happy hour (Tue - Fri, 5:00pm - 7:00pm), TL Punch, Street Heat cocktail, plenty of vitamin D.
Passion Café - 28 6th Street, SF. (415) 437-9730
This NKOTB to the skids sits high above the cowbirds and other interesting characters that occupy the Sixth and Market interchange, and features a cozy garden setting ripe for an extended stopover any time of day. Don't mind the howls of police sirens or high-pitched, single person conversations happening below; instead, focus on a chilled glass of pinot grigio or a hoppy pint of North Bay's Lagunitas IPA (beer and wine only here) while diving into French-inspired treats like artisan fromage, meaty baguette sandwiches, and a croque monsieur that's sure to impress any palate.
To get: Croque monsieur, assiette de fromage/charcuterie, $5 beer cocktails.
Bar Agricole - 355 11th Street, SF. (415) 355-9400
Quite possibly the only thing in San Francisco that's bigger than Bar Agricole's master proprietor Thad Vogler (who stands at a daunting 6'5") is the food and drink offered up nightly at his green-certified watering hole in SOMA. Open air abounds at the former SF Bar Star's inspired eatery, and on a warm night, the industrial-chic lanai makes for a nice escape from the usual concrete jungle of the city. You'd be a fool to skip on the chance to devour their squash fritters or seasonal corn pudding, and even more foolish not to wash them down with one of the many Mad Men-style cocktails with Y2K appeal like the Presidente (California agricole, Farmhouse Curacao, Grenadine, orange bitters), or the Moonraker (Brandy, peach whiskey, Cocchi Americano, absinthe).
To get: Really, any of their amazing potables, squash fritters, house pickles, corn pudding.
Stern Grove Festival - 19th Avenue & Sloat Boulevard, SF. (415) 252-6252
For locals, it's no secret that Stern Grove's free concert series is back, and with performances ranging from Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings to the San Francisco Symphony to English Beat, there's plenty of stereo gum for anyone to enjoy. The venue is at times shrouded in that cold, dense fog that you'd come to expect while hobnobbing this close to the Pacific Ocean, so when arriving early to procure your perfect spot atop the lush green grass of the meadow, be sure you've got some warm duds in tow. Because as my Norwegian ancestors once said, "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." In addition to warm wears, pack a picnic basket with your favorite foodstuffs, and be sure to include your favorite bottle of vino as well. Me thinks a nice bottle of robust Cab Sauv is a surefire way to keep those goosebumps at bay. Check out the entire Stern Grove season's roster of free outdoor performances here.
SF Chefs - August 1st - 7th in Union Square
Though for me there isn't a more irritating term than the gastronomous self-identification of being a "foodie," lovers of all things gloriously comestible best not miss out on SF Chefs. Taking over Union Square and beyond for a full week in the beginning of August, this is culinary indulgence at its finest where the brightest chefs and mixologists from around the city converge for a celebration of piquant, artisanal cuisine. Immerse yourself in flavor all week as both local and celebrity chefs alike from Michael Mina, Locanda, Foreign Cinema, Fleur de Lys, and Wayfare Tavern pair their grit with offerings from notable watering holes like 15 Romolo, Rye, Cantina, and Smuggler's Cove, just to name a few. The list of participants is quite impressive and impossible to cover in a small dose here, so follow this link and get ready to be amazed.
Outside Lands - August 12th - 14th at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park
This up-and-coming music festival that has featured the likes of Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Wilco, Jack Johnson, local heroes Further, and many others enters its fourth year with arguably the best, most well rounded line up to date. Club kids are already stocking up on MDMA in eager anticipation of Deadmau5, while hippies ready themselves for two full sets from the legendary jam band hailing from Ben & Jerry's backyard, Phish. If those don't tickle your fancy, catch acts like Arcade Fire, Black Keys, STS9, and Erykah Badu as well as nearly 100 other bands and artists making the trek into the depths of Golden Gate Park. Of course, San Francisco being a food Mecca, you won't have to settle for funnel cakes and corn dogs if your tummy starts rumbling, as upwards of 50 of San Francisco's top restaurants like Maverick, Woodhouse Fish Company and 4505 Meats make appearances on-site as well. Weekend passes are still available, but the promoters at Another Planet expect a sell-out... so grab your tickets while you still can.