Coming back to the same venues over and over for “research.” But seriously, the best part of the job is getting to talk to people who really know their stuff, learning about little bits of local history, underground hangouts and activities, and life stories everywhere you go – people in bars love to talk for some reason! And then, of course, there’s the free drinks.
Oh man, so many good stories – sampling literally everything at Chambers, impressing the lady friend when the boys serving wine at Amélie knew me by name, and hanging out on the waterbed at Kozy Kar – but the absolute top-notch experience, the one that really stands out, was a quiet night at Gino and Carlo in North Beach, when Ron took me around and introduced me to just about everybody in the bar. There were some old-school writers from the golden age of print journalism, a couple of local barkeeps on their night off, and the famous Carol Doda – the original topless dancer – and every one of them had a piece of advice for a young whippersnapper like me.
Beretta for brunch, no doubt about that. Thrift-store shopping with a bike and a backpack through Valencia and the Haight, then down into SoMa to check out what’s new on the shelves at Jeremy’s, or maybe to catch a new foreign flick at the Embarcadero. A quick ride up to North Beach for a Sazerac at Tosca, then it’s back to the Mission for tapas or a burrito, followed by many brews and late-night fried oysters at The Monk’s Kettle.