Category Archives: San Francisco

San Francisco Fairmont Roof Garden—Hidden Public Park

Inside San Francisco’s upscale Fairmont hotel, there’s a little rooftop garden open to the public (a public park?) that affords a view of the downtown San Franicisco, the bay and Coit Tower.

As described in this SFGate article:

san-francisco-s-14-best-rooftops-a-bunch-of-which-are-totally-secretThe Fairmont’s contribution to the greening of San Francisco is a turn-of-the-century oasis with the style of a private estate. Royal palms spread enormous canopies. The wind-tossed fountain spray and the distant view of the bay add to the grand air as to the olive trees, the birds-of-paradise, and manicured lawn. Notice the granite facade of the Fairmont Hotel. On the top floor you can see the terrace belonging to the Penthouse Suite, rumored to be San Francisco’s most expensive set of rooms. Inside the hotel, wander the corridors on the lobby level where historic photos are exhibited.

Naturally, Marta and I have been there several times. Here are some views from a couple of years back. I’m still using one of the photos from that day as my avatar, though it’s getting a bit out of date…

IMG_8342 IMG_8353This place is incredibly easy to get to and surprisingly unknown. Just walk into the lobby and toward the bathroom on the ground level. You’ll pass lots of historical photos along the way. Then there’s an entrance to the park, and that’s it. You’re likely to see next to no one there, but there’s an occasional wedding or outdoor party.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 21, 2015 in San Francisco, Tourism


Proposed demolition of San Francisco’s Elbo Room makes a NIMBY out of me

In the news today was an alarming story that San Francisco’s Elbo Room might be demolished to make way for a new condo development.

Of course, this one’s personal: Elbo Room is where I walked up to my future wife and made enough witty banter to get her to go to the next bar with me.


Living in San Francisco for this long, it’s not surprising that finally one of the many changes here will affect me personally and force me to become a stick-in-the-mud NIMBY.

Honestly, I’d really hate to lose Elbo Room. It’s quite possibly the only place in the city with strong $3 drinks from 5-9 every weekday. My kind of watering hole.

More details:

The owners of the two-story Mission district building at the corner of Valencia and Sycamore which is currently occupied by the Elbo Room have quietly drafted plans to raze the bar and construct a new five-story building in its place.

Early plans for the development include nine (9) residential units, three one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms, ranging in size from 500 to 1,000 square feet over a 770 square-foot commercial space and parking for six (6) cars on the ground floor.

There’s only two types of housing they build in the mission: luxury housing and low-income housing. Regular working stiffs just don’t get new places to live in the city. I can’t really tell which one this is going to be, but either way, I’ll be shut out.

But wait, there’s a slight chance of blocking this development. The building might be deemed “historic.”

While the existing building at 645 Valencia Street wasn’t deemed to be historic when reviewed as part of the Inner Mission Historic Resource Survey in 2011, the Planning Department has since “received additional information that suggests that the subject property may have associations with the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in San Francisco.”

As a bar in San Francisco, that sounds reasonable. Let’s hope it works.


RE: Things you’ll never hear San Franciscans say

Funny article up at The Bold Italic.

Some notable things you’ll never hear an SF’an say (in and round town):

Fernet? Meh.

I just get such good vibes from the Marina.

I love hanging out at Fisherman’s Wharf to get the real San Francisco experience.

Heh. I think it’s a given that you have to at least shown an appreciation for Fernet, even if it tastes worse than Jaegermeister. As for the Marina, all I ever hear about is how “fratty” it is, but I’ve never really gone to a bar there, so I pretty much just assume it’s true. The last time I went to Fisherman’s Wharf was when I was working for the SF Water Department and had to test the ocean water nearby.

Some other notables:

I’m sure the bus is late for a good reason. I’m happy to wait.

Google is using technology to make the world a better place.

I don’t care if you call it Frisco or San Fran, it’s all good.

MUNI=slow (but improving, I must contend); GOOGLE=bad (but we all still love their products); people who say FRISCO=unforgivable, while San Fran is merely a faux pas, so I’d let it pass. “The City” might be ridiculous, but it has a nice ring to it, and it’s what I use. For American English, San Francisco is pretty long and clunky sounding, so we have to have something else to call it. “SF” is OK, I suppose.

Speaking of other places (as if they existed).

San Francisco is so much like New York.

San Jose has great bars and it’s so close!

LA seems like a really nice place to live.

Sprawling San Jose and LA spark the ire of San Franciscans generally speaking. But the lack of growth belies the major San Francisco problem: housing.

What’s that new building? Must be more affordable housing.

I just bought my own home!

Sometimes I think my apartment is TOO big.

My rent is totally reasonable.

On that note …

Move to San Francisco. There’s room for everyone.




Leave a comment

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in California, San Francisco, USA