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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Travel San Francisco mini 2 day trip!
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San Francisco mini 2 day trip!
Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2011-08-03 11:09 am   Permalink

I am roadtrippin to Frisco for a two day adventure, and on a fairly tight budget. I am going to cram in what I feel I need to see, and so far here is my itinerary in no order...

-Fisherman's Wharf just because it is steps from where we are staying.
(mainly for Musee mechanique)
-ChinaTown to visit Uncle Gee and his Vital Tea Leaf shop.
-Embarcadero
-Boudins (because I love sourdough bread and want a loaf to-go!
-Ghirardelli Chocolate Company (because I love chocolate too!)
*I wanted to see the Walt Disney Heritage museum, but at $20/person just to walk in this time just seems a little too deep for my pockets, and doesn't even count what souvenirs I may want to come home with, but will probably not be able to afford. hahaha, So...I'm not going to go there, this time around.



Also, for my first trip to the bay area, I feel no need to see the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, or many of the other "must see" touristy destinations.
Instead, I want to explore the seedy underside, hit some dive bars, and even a couple tiki bars. Here is my list for those, reminding I will be on a strict budget, and some of the choices I've come up with should meet my budgetary needs;
in no order:

-21 club in the Tenderloin district!
(I gotta see this dive and the area it is in!The reviews on yelp had me cracking up!)
-Lucky 13
-Ha-Ra
-Mr. Bings
(Mr. Bings has some hillarious reviews too, and will be a must see!)
-International Sports Club(maybe)

Now, here is the "Tiki Bar" list, and where I would like some opinions and criticism
Are any of these worth checking out? I know they will not be any Tiki-Ti or Forbidden Island, but in their own right would they be worth a visit and a drink?

-Tonga Room! (100% for sure, even if it is only for a couple drinks!)
-Trad'r Sam
-Bamboo Hut
*I would love to see Smuggler's Cove, but again, this first trip money is an object, so it'll most likely have to wait for my second trip(Just like Walt's Museum will).

Anyhow, How does Trad'r Sam and Bamboo Hut fare in relation to vibe, value, and overall rating out of (5) to those who have been?
(Remember, I actually enjoy dive bars, so there are no fears here!)

Any feedback and suggestions would be kindly appreciated!

[ This Message was edited by: Tom Slick 2011-08-03 11:36 ]


 
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WooHooWahine
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Mar 04, 2005
Posts: 3138
From: Mission (Impossible) Viejo, Ca
Posted: 2011-08-03 4:56 pm   Permalink

It's been a few years since we have visited The Bay Area. But he did have an Awesome Trip!!!

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=22871&forum=16&hilite=woohoowahine bay area

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Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2011-08-03 5:16 pm   Permalink

Awesome! I just went through the photos, and it looked like fun! Can't wait to see the Tonga Room, Trad'r Sam's, and I now learned of a special mai tai made at Li Po's Lounge in Chinatown... Its a Chinese Dive Bar with Liar Dice games taking place daily, so I'm looking forward to that!(The mai tai, not becoming indebted to the Chinese mafia or anything like that!) hahaha
Thanks for that link, Karen!


 
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Dustycajun
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Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4431
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-08-03 7:16 pm   Permalink

Tom Slick,

If your dive bar crawling in Chinatown, be sure to check out the Buddha Bar on Grant.





We discovered Swans Oyster Depot last time in town.



I am going up to "The City" in a couple of weeks and going on the Alcatraz tour.

And DON'T call it Frisco!

DC


 
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amybean
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Posts: 434
From: Alameda, CA
Posted: 2011-08-03 9:05 pm   Permalink



What luck and timing! This fleet of vakas sailed into Clipper Cove at Treasure Island yesterday. I shot this today from my 2nd floor studio window. They will be there til the 14th, and I have heard rumors that they will be giving tours. They have sailed a LONG way ! Here's the Pacific Voyagers website:

http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/

Hope you get a chance to swing by the island - it's spectacular this time of year. (and free!)

PS- It's really hard to park near Bamboo Hut. Look for spots on Sansome St. past Broadway...

(I'm going to post another picture in CA events) Have a fun trip!




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Trad'r Bill
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Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-08-03 9:56 pm   Permalink

Sam Wo restaurant in Chinatown is a must-see for me when I visit... the character of this place is thick. Enter at street level through the restaurant's kitchen and head up the narrow staircases to the second or third floor... sit down at a heavily-worn table, and marvel at the stark decorations... I think I saw one map, scotch-taped to the wall last time I was there.



The seemingly annoyed, (but actually sweet) waitress greets you by throwing some menus on your table while she runs past to answer the buzzzzz of the hand-operated dumbwaiter. This notorious rudeness was made famous by former head waiter: Edsel Ford Fong. From Wikipedia:

"An imposing man with a crew cut hair style, he also was notorious for seating people with strangers, forgetting orders, cursing, spilling soup on customers, hazing newcomers, refusing to provide forks or English menu translations, and busing tables before diners were finished.[5]

Fong was made famous by columnist Herb Caen, who often described the misanthropic Fong during his visits to Sam Wo. Caen would interview Fong on matters of local politics and gossip, then reprint Fong's Yogi Berra-like responses, which Fong would in turn proudly show to his loyal regulars."




The food is plentiful and cheap (under $10/person) and scores a strong "good" in my rating system. The restaurant is reportedly over 100 years old, but I haven't seen any hard evidence to support this yet. I've also heard this is a former haunt of Kerouac and his beatnik brethren.

Even Conan O'Brien
made a commercial for Sam Wo's... hehe.



Definitely worth checking this place out.

-Trad'r Bill



[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-08-04 16:21 ]


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Tom Slick
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Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2011-08-03 11:41 pm   Permalink

DC, thanks for sharing! When in "San FranCISCO"(Hey, if its good enough for Otis to call it "Frisco", then why the hell not, right!? hahah), but seriously, when I'm in SanFran's Chinatown, I will stop into Buddha Lounge, along with Li Po and eventually Mr. Bings...I think my trip is going to turn into a binge drinking trip more than anything else, but I'm sure that will only add to the fun scale! hah

Amy, I have sadface because I'm going to be there on the 20th and 21st(Weekend of T.O.11) but what a great shot you took! Where/what part of the city were you when you shot that? I have no idea relation of distance with Islands and suburbs of San Francisco, but the photo makes it look like you could walk to those boats in 20 minutes or so...Good news is they are coming to L.A., and I may just be able to get a glimpse of them!

And as far as parking goes, we are leaving the car at the hotel and either walking or using public transportation! I heard parking is a living nightmare, so as long as we plan to walk to where we can, and take buses,cabs and trolleys everywhere else, we should be ok. Thank you for the wonderful info, and on the pacificvoyagers site and mission!


Trad'r Bill, thank you for the Sam Wo food spot info! It definately sounds like my kind of place for an early dinner in between the bar hopping! And around $10/person sounds great to me! I like the fact they are open until 3am too!(just in case!)


 
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Trader Magnus
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Joined: Aug 22, 2009
Posts: 98
From: Stockholm
Posted: 2011-08-04 05:00 am   Permalink

I think you should choose Smuggler's Cove over Trad'r Sam and Bamboo Hut - by far the best tiki bar in SF.
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-08-04 4:19 pm   Permalink

Agreed - not to dis the source of my namesake, but Trad'r Sam's drinks aren't much cheaper than those at Smuggler's Cove, and the SC drinks far outshine the Trad'r's. I haven't been to Bamboo Hut.

I think having two drinks at mediocre bars is still less satisfying than having one drink at a good bar. Maybe just pre-party on bart before you get to SC

-Trad'r Bill

[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-08-04 16:20 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-08-04 16:23 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7418
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-08-04 5:13 pm   Permalink

Tom, when we were there a few years back we stayed near Fisherman's Wharf too. There is a Boudin's on the Wharf and Ghiradelli is within walking distance too (great desserts!). The city is uphill from Fisherman's Wharf, we took the trolly (cheap) uphill to Union Square and then walked downhill back. Saw the Trolly Museum, Union Square, China Town, Coit Tower, Lombard Street, a couple of huge old churches, and I can't remember what else for practically nothing.

The next day we rented a tandem bicycle and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, through Sausalito, to the redwoods in Mill Valley, and back to Sausalito where we caught the ferry back to SF. That was about a 30 mile round trip and it made my butt hurt!
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Mai Tai
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Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 1436
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2011-08-06 04:13 am   Permalink

Tom, if you're going to be staying right in or near Fisherman's Wharf, then it doesn't get any more touristy than that - although it's a nice area, it's the equivalent of staying right next to Grauman's Chinese Theater. Boudin's makes good sourdough, but you'll find good sourdough all over San Francisco, especially in Fisherman's Wharf. Try some clam chowder in a bread bowl - yum! Other places you could try are Tommy's Joynt for sandwiches - just shoot down Van Ness Ave from the wharf, and Tommy's is at Van Ness and Geary.

If you've only got two days in San Francisco, then I'd shoot for a couple of key areas. You could do Fisherman's Wharf in an hour or two, and the Ghirardeli ice cream and chocolate shop are at the end of Fisherman's Wharf in Ghirardeli Square - you can knock those all out together quickly. The other neighborhoods that I'd recommend to hit are The Haight, the Mission, and a couple of spots in or near the Downtown/Union Square area. Besides being the center of the cultural revolution of The Summer Of Love, The Haight has tons of cool shops, tons of cool bars and restaurants, and the original Amoeba Music record store, in what was formerly a bowling alley - it's huge! Too many coffee shops and ethnic restaurants to name just one, no matter what you pick it will be good. Lots of cheap eats, too, like Escape From New York Pizza. Bars that I'd recommend in that area are Hobson's Choice for such specialties as Victorian punch, and Alembic.

The Haight is up by Golden Gate Park, but if you venture further south towards Market Street, you enter an area called Lower Haight. The area is a little seedier, but there are some really cool places as well. One bar that jumps to mind is Toronado - they have a tremendous amount of great beers on tap, it's a true locals type hangout.

Another good area to check out is The Mission, which is a little south of Market, say around 16th and Valencia or Guerrero. Formerly a working class and ethnic neighborhood known for great taquerias like Pancho Villa, El Farolito, and many many others, it is being regentrified as a hipster hangout, with lots of American Bistro restaurants and hipster bars like Zeitgeist and Elixer. The really really hot spot is a sandwich shop called Ike's Place, on 16th and Sanchez - it's actually really good, and they bake their own bread for each sandwich, so you can get your sourdough fix there as well. I highly recommend The Pizzle sandwich, which has seasoned halal chicken, bacon, ranch, cheddar, and "dirty sauce" (home made aioli garlic and herb sauce). In fact, get it with extra dirty sauce!

San Francisco is considered a heavy hitter on the bar and restaurant scene, and there are good points and bad points about it. The good points are that there is always some new or old good place to go, although the older places seem to be slipping by the way side a little these days. The bad points are that some of these places are over-rated by foodies and wine snobs, (excuse me, Bartender, can you tell me if the grapes for this particular bottle of wine were grown on the gently sloping sunny side of the hill?), the Faux Hawk douche bag factor can be a little high at times, and to me all the American Bistro style restaurants are starting to taste the same, unless they do something really bizarre with their food (which isn't always great). Some places can be pretty damn pricey, too, but with such a great selection there is always a tasty bargain to be found practically anywhere.

If you go into the Tenderloin, then I would highly recommend that you go to Bourbon & Branch. Talk about a great place that has that throwback feel to prohibition and pre-prohibition, they make amazing cocktails that aren't too pricey. You can make a reservation for the main area, or better yet, just go to the "Library" section where you don't need a reservation, but you'll need the password to get in (check your pm's), and you can get anything that the normal section carries. They are trying to regentrify the Tenderloin as well, but I don't know if they will ever succeed, because doesn't every city need a place where you can pick up crack, smack, and a transvestite prostitute in a non-stop bender? It's safe during the day, but watch yourself a little there at night. There's a pretty cool bar called Whiskey Thieves, which is on the outskirts of the Tenderloin on Geary near Van Ness, and they have a daily special whiskey and cheap beer combo. Lucky 13 is okay - they opened one here in Alameda, too, so that took some of the specialness away for me , it's on the outskirts of The Castro, around the Duboce Triangle area, you could hit it on a trip to or from The Mission district. Other places like Whiskey Thieves or Toronado will have the same vibe.

Also, Smuggler's Cove is close to the Tenderloin/Civic Center area, and is accessible from the Fisherman's Wharf area, just shoot down Van Ness Ave a bit, then go west a couple of blocks, and you're there! The drinks are about the same price as what you would pay for at Bamboo Hut or Trad'r Sam's, but obviously of much much higher caliber. They also serve beer there too, Smuggler's Brew, and it's good.

So for Tiki bars, I would say that Tonga Room is a must, especially if you have never been before. Trust me on this. The drinks are nothing to write home about, and priced about like the Tiki Ti. You can buy their happy hour buffett, but it's basically overpriced Costco egg rolls and noodles and such - nothing to write home about for the price. You'd be much better off eating at Sam Wo's instead. Although Trad'r Sam's is historically significant, it is way out in the middle of nowhere, and not really worth the hassle of going out there, unless you have a car and extra time on your hands. The drinks are also Tiki Ti prices, and they pretty much suck - the best drink they have, that giant "volcano" drink with orange sherbet that they serve in a giant goblet, looks like a giant baby aspirin, and tastes like one too. There is a reason that we schedule that place "first" at 3:00pm on the Tiki Bar Crawl. The Bamboo Hut is going to be tremendously crowded on a Saturday, and way high on douche bag factor as well, and the drinks are also sub par, along the lines of what you'll get at the Tonga Room.

For Chinatown, I have to echo Trad'r Bill's recommendation of Sam Wo's. That's a cool place that was a favorite hang out of mine in college. And why was it such a favorite? Because not only do they have cheap tasty food, but you can also bring your own booze! No lie! I've seen frat guys carry a pony keg into that place, and set it in the middle of the table, no questions asked! My only recommendation is that you don't try to look around too much as you enter the place on the ground floor through the kitchen!

My last neighborhood recommendation is North Beach. You can hit that easily from the wharf area, just go down Columbus on your way towards downtown, and you will go right through North Beach. Lots of great Italian restaurants, such as Fior di Italia, Calzone's, the Stinking Rose, plus tons of cafes and coffee shops like Cafe Vesuvio. A couple of great bars in that area are Specs, the Saloon, and the Grant and Green Saloon (both on Grant street), for a taste of old timey Barbary Coast bars. Hiting a couple of these older saloons, plus taking a quick stroll down Broadway in the evening, where there are a ton of strip clubs and such left over from the Barbary Coast days, and hitting Bourbon and Branch or Whiskey Thieves or other places in the Tenderloin should definitely satisfy that desire to explore the seedy underside.

I could ramble on and on, but that should be more than enough to choose from, especially with your other choices in mind. Hope it helps. If you had more time, and more money, I'd have an entirely different list of recommendations. But you should be able to hit most of those places on a fairly tight budget. I'll be at Tiki Oasis that weekend, otherwise I'd meet up with ya. I'd also drag you over to Forbidden Island, because that is a MUST on your next trip to the Bay Area! Have fun! (and don't call it "Frisco", unless you want the Ghost of Herb Caen to give you a beat down!) lol Cheers,
-Bill
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Mai Tai
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Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 1436
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2011-08-06 04:26 am   Permalink

Oh, and another area that you can check out, that will be fairly close and convenient to you is Polk Gulch. Polk parallels Van Ness, and right around the intersection of Polk and California is the heart of Polk Gulch. Again, lots of cafes, coffee shops, nice restaurants and cheap eats. A couple bars that come to mind are the Red Devil Lounge, and the Bigfoot Lodge (same owner of the one down in L.A.), and there is a favorite late night donut shop we all usually hit after a night of drinking called Bob's Donuts - try their cinnamon crumb donut - super yum!
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Bruddah Bear
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Joined: Apr 07, 2011
Posts: 629
From: Los Angeles Basin, Westside
Posted: 2011-08-06 10:31 am   Permalink


If you're a fan of history I can recommend a few places to visit.

The
USS Pampanito (SS-383) is right there at Fisherman's Wharf.

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is also not too far away.

Last, but certain;y not least, part of San Francisco's 1850s history that's still standing, Fort Point.


Bear



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Mai Tai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 1436
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2011-08-25 4:32 pm   Permalink

Well???

 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2011-09-05 11:41 am   Permalink

Quote:

[i]On 2011-08-06 04:13, Mai Tai wrote:
The Haight is up by Golden Gate Park, but if you venture further south towards Market Street, you enter an area called Lower Haight. The area is a little seedier, but there are some really cool places as well. One bar that jumps to mind is Toronado - they have a tremendous amount of great beers on tap, it's a true locals type hangout.




In Lower Haight, I highly recommend the watering hole Noc - Noc for a colorful & fun voyage into a post nuclear war carnival.
http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/JlhJM4ulY5sHsLcUiENpCQ?select=TRjXrl5fgP9GxT81KVhyjg


In Golden Gate Park, there are windmills, a Japanese tea garden and the Conservatory of Flowers.

http://www.golden-gate-park.com/


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