FEATURES | MUSIC | BOOKS | DRINKS | FORUMS | GAMES | LINKS | ABOUT


advertise on Tiki Central

Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
  [Edit Profile]  [Edit Preferences]  [Search] [Sign Up]
[Personal Messages]  [Member List]  [Help/FAQ]  [Rules]  [Login]
Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Travel » » Visiting San Francisco
Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Next Page )
Visiting San Francisco
mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-06-13 1:40 pm   Permalink

The wife and I booked flights to SF for early November. We'll be there from a Tuesday to Tuesday with a detour to Yosemite (for possibly 2-3 nights) plus a day in Napa Valley to see the wine country and some friends up there. So we may only have three or four full days to take in as much of San Francisco as we possibly could. Our tentative itinerary includes the following tiki locales:

-Smuggler's Cover
-Pagan Idol
-Trader Vic's
-Forbidden Island
-Tonga Room

Smuggler's Cove is probably the one I want to spend the most time at and possibly go to on two occasions if time allows. We're flying in to Oakland in the late afternoon so first thing we'll probably do is stop into Trader Vic's in Emeryville for lunch and then depending what time we finish up and if traffic is still fierce, we could either kill some time at Amoeba in Berkeley or go down to Forbidden Island for a couple drinks, then head on over to the Cove. Not sure I want to cram three bars into one day though, especially since we will be driving. Is Forbidden Island still serving quality drinks? It's probably the most out of the way of the bars we've chosen.

I've heard mixed reviews of Tonga Room with many people saying the food and drink are terrible but it's worth popping in to see the place. If that's the case and only one drink is necessary, it should be easy to do that and Pagan Idol in the same day because of their close proximity.

We're also looking for other things to do, especially in the day time. We're perfectly content doing touristy things like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge but heard the Wharf is really not worth going to. What other activities, shopping, or fun things should be on our radar? Record stores? Vintage/thrift stores? What eateries should we definitely consider?

Oh, and does anyone have lodging recommendations? We don't want to slum it but can't spend a fortune either. Would like to find a reasonably priced place to stay that's not too far from the action. We're planning to rent a car since we are taking those trips out of town but heard it's a nightmare driving in SF so maybe we'll return it for the days we're staying in the city. What say you locals?

Would love to hear everyone's suggestions on how we could make the most of our time there. And of course would love to meet up with some of you.


 
View Profile of mikehooker Send a personal message to mikehooker  Goto the website of mikehooker     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
lunavideogames
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1856
From: San Diego
Posted: 2016-06-13 2:00 pm   Permalink

I think the Wharf is worth visiting. It is touristy, but the seafood is great! I generally go everytime I am up there.

There are two Amoebas to check out and also Rasputin Music is good.

Chinatown and Japantown are cool for strolling around.

Tonga Room is right by Smugglers Cove and is worth a visit in my opinion. I wouldn't miss Forbidden Island if you are already in Oakland. Haven't tried Pagan Idol yet but it is on my list. There is also a newish Gin bar by Martin, White Chapel -
http://whitechapelsf.com/

People like to ride the trolley, but in reality Uber is the best way to get around.


 View Profile of lunavideogames Send a personal message to lunavideogames      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-06-13 3:10 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-13 14:00, lunavideogames wrote:
I think the Wharf is worth visiting. It is touristy, but the seafood is great! I generally go everytime I am up there.

There are two Amoebas to check out and also Rasputin Music is good.

Chinatown and Japantown are cool for strolling around.

Tonga Room is right by Smugglers Cove and is worth a visit in my opinion. I wouldn't miss Forbidden Island if you are already in Oakland. Haven't tried Pagan Idol yet but it is on my list. There is also a newish Gin bar by Martin, White Chapel - http://whitechapelsf.com/

People like to ride the trolley, but in reality Uber is the best way to get around.



Thanks for the tips. Funny, the other night we were discussing ideas with our friends who now live in Austin but were from SF and when we mentioned going to the Wharf they simultaneously pleaded for us not to, so we were gonna scratch it off the list. Great seafood is up our alley though. Any particular restaurants you'd recommend? And I guess sourdough is a big thing there?

They did mention China and Japantown. And said to stay away from Haight St which is where the other Amoeba is. I had mentioned the gin bar to my wife but she shot it down since we have so many bars on the agenda already. Will have to save it for the next trip.


 
View Profile of mikehooker Send a personal message to mikehooker  Goto the website of mikehooker     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
lunavideogames
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1856
From: San Diego
Posted: 2016-06-13 3:20 pm   Permalink

I like the Haight st Amoeba better than Berkley, I have never seen that it was a dangerous area or anything, just homeless people and hippies. The whole area over there has a lot of cool shopping. Also, Tiki Bob is right around there I believe.

As far as the Wharf, just their little street vendors are good. My wife swears by the clam chowder. Comes in a sourdough bowl and has cured her hangover on numerous occasions I always get the steamed crab, fresh and steamed in front of you. There is also a resturant that you have to get a boat to over there, with a bar but I have never been.

Hotels are spendy so whatever you can find for less than $200 a night might be the way to go.


 
View Profile of lunavideogames Send a personal message to lunavideogames      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JenTiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 2345
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
Posted: 2016-06-14 08:44 am   Permalink

There's info here: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=49446&forum=16
More here: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=48045&forum=16

Tonga Room is close to Pagan Idol, so you can do those both in one evening easily. Pagan Idol opens at 4:00, so start there, then if you can pry yourself away from their awesome drinks and décor, head to the Tonga Room for dinner. The food and drinks at the Tonga Room improved greatly a few years ago when they hired a new F&B manager. Unfortunately for them, their head bartender left to open Pagan Idol, but I doubt they've gone downhill that much in a year. If it were me visiting San Francisco for the first time, I would walk two blocks from Pagan Idol to California Street and hop on the Cable Car up the hill to the Tonga Room. It's a little pricey at $7 per person, but it's fun, and easier than hiking up that hill on foot.

Smuggler's Cove is best if you get there when they open at 5:00 (if it's not a Monday or Tuesday, you should get there before they open if you want a seat). Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are particularly busy at "the Cove" and it can be hard to really appreciate its beauty when it's so crowded you can't really see the décor. Also, there are no servers at Smuggler's Cove, so you'll want seats at one of the two bars if possible. Once you're there, introduce yourself to your bartender and allow them to guide you if they're not swamped. The drinks are unparalleled, as is the skill of the bartenders and the décor. Take your time there and soak it all in.

I do really encourage you to check out Martin Cate's Whitechapel when you're near Smuggler's Cove. Even if it's only for one drink and a look around. The space was created by Notch, the same guy who did Smuggler's Cove, and it is AMAZING! It's also fairly large so getting a seat is not difficult early in the evening. Oh, and they have fantastic food too.

The original Tiki Bob is at the southeast corner of Post & Taylor, just a few blocks from the Tonga Room if you care to drive by (it's nowhere near the Haight).

If you like authentic Italian food, the North Beach neighborhood is the best place for that. There are also some very nice restaurants along the Embarcadero for a good view of the Bay Bridge lights. You'll want to make those reservations very early. Let me know if you want specific restaurant names. Just for reference, the Embarcadero is on the east side of the city with views of Oakland and the Bay Bridge, Fisherman's wharf is along the north side of the city with views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge.

If you have time during the day, and if the weather is cooperative, you might want to go out to Lands End and see the Cliff House. They do a very nice (but a bit pricey) brunch on weekends. From there, you can take a walk down Ocean Beach. If you have a car, drive south along the beach, then head inland to Golden Gate Park. If you're a Disney fan, you should also check out the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio (the former military base around the San Francisco end of the Golden Gate bridge.

When choosing a hotel, you really should do your research. While I understand that budget is important, there are some really shady places in the city. In general, you'll want to avoid the Tenderloin neighborhood. The hotels near Fisherman's Wharf tend to be a bit more reasonably priced than other areas, and they're relatively safe and clean. You'll be lucky to find anything under $200 in a decent neighborhood though, so plan on spending closer to $300 for something you'll not hate. I've heard good things about Hayes Valley Inn and Inn at the Opera, both just a few blocks from Smuggler's Cove. Make your reservations as soon as possible so the rates don't get crazy high as they fill up.

Parking is its own circle of hell in San Francisco, so you probably will only want a rental car on the days you leave the city to go to Yosemite, Napa, or Emeryville and Alameda, and maybe one day in the city to visit Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and the Disney museum.

Hope this helps.


 View Profile of JenTiki Send a personal message to JenTiki  Goto the website of JenTiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Captainwhoopass
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 33
From: Edmonton AB
Posted: 2016-06-14 08:52 am   Permalink

I agree that the Haight St Amoeba store is rad and in a great shopping district. Plus its super close to my favourite daytime non-tiki place in San Francisco - Golden Gate Park. I could spend days there and I recommend checking it out if you are nearby at some point.

City Light books is really cool too, and down the street from Club Fugazi where they do Beach Blanket Babylon. Beach Blanket Babylon is just SO San Francisco and a great way to kill a couple hours if you are into that sort of thing.

I personally hate the wharf area, but I also hate seafood, so what do I know?

I have had great experiences at the Hotel Donatello. Huge rooms, fantastic staff, and clean as a whistle. It's near Union Square and a short downhill stumble from the Tonga Room.

Your trip sounds awesome. I think you have all the tiki places right.


 
View Profile of Captainwhoopass Send a personal message to Captainwhoopass      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-06-14 2:27 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the tips guys! Really appreciate the info. I think we've decided to keep the Yosemite excursion to just 2 days and only make the Napa trip a half day detour to allow for more time in SF.

Thanks for the location of Bob! Can't wait to see that poor green bastard in person. Has anyone ever eaten at the Honey Honey crepery that's there now? Wondering if it's worth grabbing lunch there.

As for lodging, my wife's been doing a ton of research and although we were advised to stay away from the tenderloin, there's a place called the Phoenix Hotel that seems promising. It's on the outskirts of the tenderloin and on the same block as Whitechapel. The price is right and there's free parking. And we'd be fairly close to Smuggler's Cove as well. Maybe we'll do one night there and other nights closer to the Wharf?

Do any of the bars have happy hour specials we should be privy to?


 
View Profile of mikehooker Send a personal message to mikehooker  Goto the website of mikehooker     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
swizzle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 1179
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2016-06-14 7:16 pm   Permalink

I only had 3 days in SF when i visited in 2012 and really only got to see about half of what i really wanted.

I stayed in a cheap hotel only about a block away from Chinatown so i was quite central in the city and did a lot of walking but i did catch the cable car down to Fishermans Wharf (where i got off at Lombard Street on the way also) which i did enjoy. I would have loved to have crossed the Golden Gate bridge and also do a tour of Alcatraz but unfortunately with my limited time there i only got to view them from a distance. I would have loved to have seen the 'painted ladies' but again, i just didn't have the time to squeeze them in.

As for the bars, Trader Vic's is definitely worth seeing if you can get out there. I fortunately met someone at Tiki Oasis who lived in SF and they drove me there (and to the Kona Club which sadly has now closed) and if it wasn't for them i would have missed that as i have no idea how i would have gotten out there on my own otherwise. I personally don't like drinking when i'm eating so i only had one drink (i'm not sure what and can't remember what it was like) but i do remember the food being good.

Tonga Room is a must for the history and decor. I was warned to only order a beer when there but because i'm not really a beer drinker and was also already a little drunk, i ordered a zombie. When it arrived about 10 seconds later i probably should have taken that advice, but as has been mentioned, the drinks have supposedly improved since then.

Forbidden Island was my favourite. I really loved the decor and the layout of the room and also the drinks were very good.

As for Smugglers Cove, i didn't enjoy it as much as i hoped i would and here's why. I had spent the day pretty much from 12:00 onwards drinking cocktails at Kahuna Kevin's house (if you own any of his books and/or have had some of his drinks you know what that means). We went and had an early dinner and got to SC maybe 30mins after they opened and had to wait outside for a little bit. Whilst the decor is very cool, it really is a 'nautical' bar, not a 'tiki' bar. And it is quite small and i wasn't a fan of the actual layout of the place. It also seemed overcrowded which is something that makes me not want to stay at places. I understand that that is to be expected with such a popular place but i prefer a quieter bar with less hustle and bustle.

As far as the drinks go, i 'think' i only had two before we left but couldn't tell you what they were like but no doubt, considering the popularity of the bar and the amount of lists it is on as one of the best in the world, no doubt they would have been good. I would love to make it back there one day and experience the place under different circumstances on a quieter night when i had more time to soak it all in.

So that's my two cents on my brief time in SF. I hope that helps somewhat.

_________________


[ This Message was edited by: swizzle 2016-06-14 19:23 ]


 View Profile of swizzle Send a personal message to swizzle  Email swizzle Goto the website of swizzle     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JenTiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 2345
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
Posted: 2016-06-15 07:21 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-14 14:27, mikehooker wrote:

As for lodging, my wife's been doing a ton of research and although we were advised to stay away from the tenderloin, there's a place called the Phoenix Hotel that seems promising. It's on the outskirts of the tenderloin and on the same block as Whitechapel. The price is right and there's free parking. And we'd be fairly close to Smuggler's Cove as well. Maybe we'll do one night there and other nights closer to the Wharf?


I forgot about the Phoenix. Yes, that place is the one exception to the Tenderloin rule. I know it was the official hotel for one or two of the SF Bay Tiki Crawls that used to happen years ago. If the rates are good, that's a good location, just don't wander to the east on foot at night.

[ This Message was edited by: JenTiki 2016-06-15 07:21 ]


 
View Profile of JenTiki Send a personal message to JenTiki  Goto the website of JenTiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JenTiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 2345
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
Posted: 2016-06-15 07:31 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-14 19:16, swizzle wrote:
(and to the Kona Club which sadly has now closed)


I believe Swizzle may have meant the Conga Room. Kona Club in Oakland is still open, but the Conga Room has closed.

Quote:

On 2016-06-14 19:16, swizzle wrote:
I would have loved to have seen the 'painted ladies' but again, i just didn't have the time to squeeze them in.



The "Painted Ladies" are not far from Smuggler's Cove, so if you want to put them on your agenda, it would be easy to see them late afternoon before heading to Smuggler's Cove for their 5:00 opening.


 
View Profile of JenTiki Send a personal message to JenTiki  Goto the website of JenTiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4546
Posted: 2016-06-15 08:41 am   Permalink

"Chinatown and Japantown are cool for strolling around"

We try to go to any Chinatown we see as they are most time from the fifties and not changed much.

SF Chinatown is very cool.
_________________


 
View Profile of tikiskip Send a personal message to tikiskip      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-06-15 09:45 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-15 07:21, JenTiki wrote:

I forgot about the Phoenix. Yes, that place is the one exception to the Tenderloin rule. I know it was the official hotel for one or two of the SF Bay Tiki Crawls that used to happen years ago. If the rates are good, that's a good location, just don't wander to the east on foot at night.




Awesome! It's under $200 so we'll definitely stay atleast one night there. She also found a place called Cova a little deeper into the tenderloin which looks nice and is a bit cheaper. Should we just spend the extra bucks at Phoenix? I heard they have a nice pool area. Not sure if the Cova does.


Quote:

On 2016-06-15 07:31, JenTiki wrote:

The "Painted Ladies" are not far from Smuggler's Cove, so if you want to put them on your agenda, it would be easy to see them late afternoon before heading to Smuggler's Cove for their 5:00 opening.



Added to the ever changing itinerary.

Quote:

On 2016-06-15 08:41, tikiskip wrote:
"Chinatown and Japantown are cool for strolling around"

We try to go to any Chinatown we see as they are most time from the fifties and not changed much.

SF Chinatown is very cool.





Sweet. Any suggestions on food in either China or Japan town? We've got most of our activities planned, now to figure out what to put in our bellies besides rum (and gin).



 
View Profile of mikehooker Send a personal message to mikehooker  Goto the website of mikehooker     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JenTiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 2345
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
Posted: 2016-06-15 12:32 pm   Permalink

[quote]
On 2016-06-15 09:45, mikehooker wrote:
Quote:

She also found a place called Cova a little deeper into the tenderloin which looks nice and is a bit cheaper. Should we just spend the extra bucks at Phoenix? I heard they have a nice pool area. Not sure if the Cova does.



Cova must be relatively new since I've never heard of it (I moved across the country almost two years ago after a lifetime in the Bay Area). The website makes it look very nice, but I would not want to sleep in that neighborhood. Those streets (and the activities thereon) are not the view you want when you look out your window on vacation, nor will you enjoy the sidewalk aroma when entering/exiting the hotel. I'd say stick with the Phoenix. As for the pool ... it's San Francisco ... in November. It only gets warm enough for a pool in that city about 3 weeks out of the year, and those weeks are usually done by mid-October. Most of the really high-end hotels in SF even have their pools indoors, if they have one at all.


 
View Profile of JenTiki Send a personal message to JenTiki  Goto the website of JenTiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4546
Posted: 2016-06-15 12:53 pm   Permalink

We stayed in Chinatown and went to a place to eat.
Man everybody in there did not appear to speak English, even the menu was in Chinese.
We pointed to two things that looked like they were appetizers and got out.

We went to Chinatown in Hawaii to Wo Fat restaurant glad we went as I see it is closed.
But they walked some kart around and said we HAD to try this thing, I am to
this day sure it was Cow Balls.
They seemed to be interested that we eat it.
Did not like it really.

Peking duck house in New York was good!
Man around dusk all these Cop cars started rolling in so we left.

Go to Taco Bell.


 
View Profile of tikiskip Send a personal message to tikiskip      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
HopeChest
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2015
Posts: 268
From: East Bay, CA
Posted: 2016-06-21 2:36 pm   Permalink

If you find yourself in Chinatown in search of food, this place is a hidden gem that's been around for almost 100 years:

http://www.hangah1920.com/

I also highly recommend stopping by the infamous Li Po Lounge (with their Chinese Mai Tai) whilst in the neighbourhood:

http://www.lipolounge.com/

Warning: I remember every time I've gone to Li Po, but rarely remember leaving.

The Phoenix has gotten fairly expensive in the past few years (you can find better rooms and rates at Hotel Kabuki in Japantown) but it's a cool place if you're music-centric. I hung out with Duran Duran here many years ago...




 View Profile of HopeChest Send a personal message to HopeChest      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Next Page )
U-Moderate:
  
v1.5

[ About Tiki Central | Contact Tiki Central | Advertise on Tiki Central ]
(c) 2000-2017 Tikiroom.com (tm), Tiki Central (tm)

Credits & copyright infomation