The Love List: Where to Drink in San Francisco

I thought I’d interrupt this LA-centric programming of late to give a little San Francisco shoutout. With all my gushing about how much I loved LA, I’ve had a friend or two ask me if I’m going to pack up and move down south. Not only would I have to change my name to “LAista” (ugh), I’m pretty sure I could never leave my city. I might grumble about the fog and the tourists packing Union Square, but this is my home, and I freaking love it.

I developed a crude San Francisco guide on Google Maps last year, but I thought I’d start a littles series on here showcasing some of my favorite places in San Francisco- where to drink, eat, sit, shop, and play. Whether you live in San Francisco or think you just might come to visit someday, here’s where I would tell my best friend to go for drinks whilst in SF.

Zeitgeist

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If you want to sit outside while you drink your beer or wine, your options in San Francisco are pretty much limited to a table on the sidewalk outside a bistro or the coveted back patio. A beer garden-meets-punk concert, Zeitgeist serves up a formidable list of beer but doesn’t shy away from cocktails (you get to order a small or larger- choose wisely). They even have the Racer X on tap, which you should only order if you like having an invisible giant made entirely of hops pop out from inside your pint glass. Just close your eyes, listen to the heavy metal blasting from the outdoor speakers, and enjoy.

People-watching here is one of the best parts- you really will see all sorts. It’s busy pretty much all hours of the day, but the real crowd surge happens just after midnight when bargoers in the area remember that this place serves up greasy, plentiful late-night food. Don’t skip it- your stomach will thank you the next day.

The Bitter End

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To be fair, this bar is on my list partially because it’s one of Jim’s favorites in the city. But anywhere you can get an expertly-poured Snakebite for six bucks and sit at a great people-watching table while you wait your turn for pool earns an A on my list. Basically, it’s a classic Irish pub without the corniness that can come with the genre. Oh, and they’re more than happy for you to bring in outside food, which is a godsend after a few too many (affordable) pints. Go on a weekday or early on a weekend to beat the crowds.

Blondie’s Bar & No Grill

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Oh, Blondie’s. What a complicated relationship we have. Let me summarize by saying that they have one of the most creative and delicious martini lists in the city (four kinds of stuffed olives, among other things), and they serve their martinis in a pint glass. No, seriously- they pour you a regular-sized martini and then hand you the half-full pint glass and a strainer to serve your second (and sometimes third) portion. How the night goes is entirely up to you, but I recommend the Ruby Red.

I like to go there before dinner at Puerto Allegre to grab a drink, but it’s also fun later at night if you like to dance your butt off to some seriously loud music. Depending on the DJ, you might just get them to play some 90’s hits to shake up the night.

Palmer’s Tavern

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Sure, it’s been open for exactly one week, but this Pacific Heights watering hole has already shot to the top of my love list. Tucked away a few streets north of most of the action on Fillmore, Palmer’s is the newest establishment by the folks who brought you Leopold’s on Polk. The decor in Palmer’s Tavern feels warm and inviting, and I was pleasantly surprised at their musical choice of soft 20’s ragtime and jazz over something loud and clubby.

It has the Gatsby-ish feel of some of the swankier “ye olde pubs” in San Francisco, but so far the price tag is surprisingly sane ($5+ drafts, $9 cocktails). For those outside of SF, those prices almost certainly sound ridiculous, but I’ve been to other bars where I’ve ordered a Greyhound and then paid a shocking $14 for the pleasure. I haven’t been on the weekend yet, but here’s hoping it resists the bro-ey influence of being stationed between Harry’s bar and the Marina.

Tempest

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Just as dive-y as Zeitgeist but with the intimacy of a neighborhood bar, Tempest is where I go if I want a low-key night that refuses to stay a low-key night because we end up meeting some fantastic people and somehow participating in a pick-up football game. Seriously, though, this place is quietly exception, boasting an excellent but unpretentious beer selection and cocktails that are well worth your money.

I mentioned our visits to a friend who used to work at the SF Chronicle (one block away), and she described half a dozen Tempest regulars, all of whom I recognized from our evenings spent there. This is the bar where everybody knows your name, or at least vaguely what you look like. It’s friendly, it’s loud, and there’s always something fun happening inside.

I hope you enjoyed my list of some of my favorite places to drink in San Francisco! Which ones did I miss? Do you have a favorite?

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7 Surprising Trends at LA’s BeautyCon 2013

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Outside Siren Studios
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bareMinerals “Makeunders” – Photo by James Winstead

With the near-constant chaos and excitement of Hollywood, it’s hard to imagine an event drawing a crowd of thousands and creating such a stir that part of Sunset Boulevard has to shut down. But NYX Cosmetics, Style Haul, and The Platform found that magic formula in BeautyCon 2013, a weekend-long summit at Siren Studios celebrating the holy matrimony of beauty and tech. Drawing celebrities and fans alike, attendees mingled with top YouTube personalities, beauty aficionados, celebrities, social media mavens, and fashion bloggers. Fashion, beauty, and tech brands in attendance included Lulu*s, bareMinerals, Bellami Hair, See You Monday Clothing, BH Cosmetics, Minx Nails, Toni&Guy, Epoxy, Uber, Pose, and many more.

Although I could wax poetic about the styles I saw for fall, I was even more interested in seven key cultural trends I noticed.

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DIY station sponsored by The Platform

7. Color, color, color. From the eye-popping hues on the racks at Lulu*s to the psychedelic pigments in BH Cosmetics‘s eyeshadow palettes, bright hues were everywhere at BeautyCon. Monochrome may still be chic in some circles (New York society, I’m looking at you), but BeautyCon attendees dream in absolute technicolor. From phone cases to flip-flops, no accessory was left unadorned.

6. Video killed the photography star. The Millennials may have Facebook, but this generation’s teenagers are taking online social interaction further by skipping selfie pics in favor of video. Their older siblings may love blogging, but today’s teens would much rather vlog. Top vloggers spoke about how video lets them showcase their personalities and develop a cult following. Watch out, Mark Zuckerberg.

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Kandee Johnson (vlogger), Rebecca Black, and P*Trique (vlogger)

5. It’s all about the individual. The days of identical LBD-wearing fashionistas are over, and BeautyCon was the absolute proof. Guests strutted the pink carpet in everything from floor-length sequins to vibrant crowns of freshly-cut flowers. P*Trique rocked her inimitable signature look, drawing waves of cheers from the crowd as she worked the catwalk with her fellow vloggers. Although this summer’s trends of leather shorts, flatforms, and rompers dotted the crowd, attendees stood out with their own personal style.

4. All access. Just as Twitter allows us to talk to celebrities and have them actually answer back, BeautyCon’s panels were a real-life opportunity for guests to interact face-to-face with their idols. YouTube and Hollywood stars alike took questions directly from the audience and chatted casually with attendees post-panel. The line that separates celebrity from fan went down for the day, and the guests expected nothing less.

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Kelly Osbourne arriving at BeautyCon Los Angeles

3. Let’s be real. Although the weekend celebrated all things beauty, the content of the panels dove beneath the surface. Kelly Osbourne touched on her life challenges, focusing on the importance of embracing your identity and remaining authentic. When asked about her self-acceptance, she simply stated, “As hard as you try, you’ll never be someone else. Accept yourself.” Kelly was honest with the audience, admitting that she wasn’t nearly as confident as she sometimes seemed. She implored the young women in attendance to “be a girls’ girl” by supporting other women, not tearing them down.

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Blogger panel at BeautyCon 2013

2. Be your own brand. Top fashion and design bloggers spoke about branding and the unlikely paths that brought them to their current career successes. Geri Hirsch of Because I’m Addicted started her blog when pulling thirteen-hour workdays and had no idea it would explode into a successful business. Bri Emery of designlovefest leveraged her experience in graphic design and her blog’s success to start a series of Photoshop tutorials for aspiring bloggers. Regardless of their path, industry leaders emphasized the importance of figuring out your identity and staying true to it.

1. No limits. Sure, the event focused on beauty trends and techniques, but the resounding message was that social media has made notoriety and success more accessible today than it’s ever been before. The panel speakers weren’t telling the audience what to wear to look slimmer or how to change the shape of their nose with makeup; they were encouraging the mostly-young guests to find their own beauty and identity, embrace it, and build a brand to become as successful as their idols.
No longer are celebrities the people to be like; now, they’re the people to become.

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Clockwise from upper left: Kelly Osbourne, P*Trique, Wendy Nguyen (Wendy’s Lookbook), Shenae Grimes with husband Josh Beech

By Sunday evening, I was positively vibrating with energy and inspiration. As a new-ish fashion writer, it’s easy to get intimidated by all the bloggers who have been writing longer, who have more followers, or who seem to have fresh content bursting forth seven days a week without batting an eye. But every successful businesswoman starts somewhere, whether it’s reflecting on what you learned as an insecure teenager or squeezing time out of an impossible schedule to find a moment to write a post.

BeautyCon taught me many tips on looking my best, but the glow radiating from within me on Sunday evening had nothing to do with makeup.

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Want to know more about my trip to LA and what I wore while I was there? Stay tuned, folks- this is just the beginning of the LA Diaries!

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sanfranista at the bareMinerals booth – Photo by James Winstead

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Photo by James Winstead
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NYX beauty station

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bareMinerals “Moxie” demonstration – Photo by James Winstead

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Photo by James Winstead
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NYX Face Awards

All images, unless otherwise noted, Alex Wyman, A/P.

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Five Quick Snaps

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Change is in the air, and it’s not just the scent of spring. Whether it’s as monumental as the arguments being heard today and tomorrow in the Supreme Court or something smaller like a change in life’s direction, I feel completely surrounded by bodies and ideas in motion.

I know I’m being a bit vague (and not for the first time), but I promise to explain myself this week! For now, all I can say is that just like in the picture above, sometimes childhood dreams really do come true.

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I snapped this shot mere seconds before my final interview that has now led to my dream job. Armed with my favorite purse and look-at-me horizontal stripes, I had all the confidence that clothing could possibly bring. Mint: it’s not just for gum anymore!

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I raised my iPhone high to grab this shot amidst the crowd marching down Market Street from Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro to City Hall in the Civic Center. Members of the LGBTQ community and their allies marched in a show of support and hope that marriage equality will be upheld this week.

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She said it better than I ever could. Live + let live, love + let love.

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Happy Spring!

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