Hap­pen­ings by the Bay

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Minia­ture golf and al­co­hol, to­gether at last. New lights on the Ferry Build­ing. Fire pits and pic­nick­ers on the Pre­sidio’s pa­rade lawn. Scream­ing scar­let walls on Nob Hill. A clam­orous neo- Hawai­ian feast on Sut­ter Street and a muted neo-

Los Angeles Times - - 101 - BY CHRISTO­PHER REYNOLDS chris. reynolds@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ mrc­sreynolds


The Pre­sidio, which cov­ers 1,491 acres that be­gin at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, has ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral up­grades since the Na­tional Park Ser­vice took over the his­toric prop­erty from the Army in 1994. In an April- throughOc­to­ber cus­tom that be­gan in 2014, the Pre­sidio’s grassy pa­rade ground comes alive from 5 to 9 p. m. Thurs­days with Twi­light at the Pre­sidio, when hun­dreds of pic­nick­ers queue up at food trucks and a pop- up bar, hud­dle near ca­banas and tem­po­rary fire pits and lis­ten to live mu­sic. Cost of a fire pit with eight chairs for the night: $ 150. Or you could wear a parka and f lop on the grass. And if you ar­rive on Pre­sidiGo bus ( www. lat. ms/ 1BbBAZZ) from the Em­bar­cadero area, the ride is free. If Thurs­day doesn’t work, there’s Pic­nic at the Pre­sidio ev­ery Sun­day from 11 a. m.- 4 p. m.

Info: www. lat. ms/ 1Gje6Bh

While you’re in the Pre­sidio, have a look at the old Of­fi­cers’

Club, which re­opened in Oc­to­ber af­ter ren­o­va­tion. The his­toric build­ing fea­tures mu­seum- qual­ity ex­hibits on the site’s history, es­pe­cially the Span­ish colo­nial years of the late 18th cen­tury. Con­sider a stay at the Inn at the Pre­sidio ( another his­toric build­ing, re­opened as a ho­tel in 2012). Grab a bite at Ar­guello ( at the club) or the

Com­mis­sary ( a short stroll), both opened in the last year. As you’re prowl­ing the ter­ri­tory, keep an eye out for the sly, na­ture- based works of artist Andy Goldswor­thy, who has made four site- spe­cific pieces in the Pre­sidio since 2008. ( The most re­cent, Earth Wall, is just be­hind the Of­fi­cers Club and Ar­guello res­tau­rant.)

Info: www. nps. gov/ prsf


The Scar­let Hunt­ing­ton, 1075 Cal­i­for­nia St., bet­ter known as the Hunt­ing­ton Ho­tel un­til a change of own­er­ship and name in 2014, has long been a Nob Hill lodg­ing with great snob ap­peal. Grace Cathe­dral looms across the street, and the ho­tel’s res­tau­rant, the Big 4, pays homage to the 19th cen­tury rail­road ti­tans who built their man­sions atop Nob Hill. Now you’ll see a splash of, yes, scar­let on this ho­tel’s lobby walls and couches, and a whole rain­bow of col­ors on pil­lows in the bed­rooms. When I checked rates, rooms for two be­gan at $ 300 a night. The new look felt a bit Ve­gas to me ( ex­cept for the un­changed Big 4).

Info: ( 415) 474- 5400, www. lat.


The at­trac­tive Ho­tel G now does busi­ness where the Ho­tel Frank once stood at 386 Geary St. near Union Square. It’s neigh­bored by new res­tau­rant Three 9 Eight Brasserie. Both opened in 2014. The G’s rooms are sub­dued but stylish, with a great use of space and light in the bath­rooms I saw. Most units have wood f loors. When I checked, rooms for two in mid- June were about $ 250 and up. In the brasserie, col­umns and walls have been roughed up to look like ru­ins, and some­one has scrawled provoca­tive city quotes high on the wall. Ap­par­ently John Stein­beck said, “San Fran­cisco is a golden hand­cuff with the key thrown away,” and John Len­non said, “Los An­ge­les? That’s just a big park­ing lot where you buy a ham­burger for the trip to San Fran­cisco.”

Info: ( 844) 986- 8017, www. hotel­gsan­fran­cisco. com

For years, the most com­mand­ing ho­tel- room views in the city have been from the guest rooms of the up­scale but al­most in­vis­i­ble Man­darin Ori­en­tal, oc­cu­py­ing the 38th to 48th f loors of a Fi­nan­cial Dis­trict sky­scraper at 222 San­some St. Through the big pic­ture win­dows, you get a panorama of the TransAmer­ica build­ing, Al­ca­traz, Coit Tower, the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then early this year, Loews swept in and bought the place. Now the ho­tel is called Loews Re­gency San Fran

cisco. Nei­ther the views nor the rates have changed ap­pre­cia­bly ( they start about $ 430 a night). And the rooms ( sub­dued and beige) are still out­fit­ted with binoc­u­lars in case you want to do your sight­see­ing with­out stand­ing up.

Info: ( 844) 271- 6289, www. lat. ms

/ 1QtCckF

There are more ho­tel changes afoot in Fish­er­man’s Wharf, where the 361- room Radis­son on Beach Street has be­come the Ze­phyr, with snazz­ier rooms aimed at younger, more pros­per­ous guests who want to be close to the bay. ( There’s a lot of red, white and blue in the new de­sign, and a mag­netic dart­board in ev­ery room.) The ho­tel is still largely sur­rounded by the T- shirt shops and odd­ity muse- ums that have gob­bled up the wharf. Dou­bles from $ 310 a night.

Info: ( 844) 617- 6555, www. ho­tel

zephyrsf. com


Hun­gry? BDK Res­tau­rant &

Bar, another ca­sual eat­ing op­tion near Union Square, opened in March ad­join­ing the Ho­tel Monaco at 501 Geary St. The site used to be the Grand Café. The din­ing room, much- ren­o­vated since then, has high ceil­ings and black- and- white tile f loors, and the staff lays out four news­pa­pers for your break­fast- time pe­rusal. ( The ini­tials BDK are a nod to the late Bill Kimpton, a pi­o­neer in the bou­tique ho­tel trade.)

Info: www. bd­krestau­rant. com The Mis­sion Dis­trict’s Cal­i­for

nios, barely iden­ti­fi­able as a res­tau­rant from its 22nd Street façade, is a bold, rig­or­ous experiment: a Mex­i­can fine- din­ing es­tab­lish­ment in a long­time Mex­i­can neigh­bor­hood known for grit and zest. The hushed res­tau­rant, which opened in Jan­uary, seats about 25 at ta­bles and seven or eight at the bar, and there’s no real menu. You sub­mit to chef Val M. Cantu’s wishes, and for $ 75 you get 11 smallplate cour­ses of re­mark­able food: peas, grits, egg yolk, hal­ibut, sea­weed, sour­dough tor­tillas, fen­nel, at least three kinds of pota­toes. The chefs use tweez­ers a lot. It was a bit pre­cious, but it was also the best meal I’ve had in months.

Info: www. cal­i­forniossf. com

Across the street from Cal­i­fornios is Ur­ban Putt ( 1096 S. Van Ness Ave.), which just cel­e­brated a year of mini- golf, booze and food. In the bar’s rooms and hall­ways, owner and chief greenskeeper Steve Fox has ar­ranged 14 ec­cen­tric holes ( there wasn’t enough room for 18), many of which are more in­ter­ac­tive art than tests of ath­letic prow­ess. ( Cost of a round of golf is $ 12 for ev­ery­body age 13 and older, $ 8 for kids 6- 11, free for the younger ones.) There are holo­grams and an homage to Jules Verne. Kids are welcome in the golf area un­til 8 p. m., when the min­i­mum age be­comes 21. Up­stairs there’s a pleas­ant, pubby res­tau­rant serv­ing Cal­i­for­nia com­fort cui­sine ( and pou­tine, for some rea­son). Next time my fam­ily is with me and the hour is right, I’m steer­ing us to Van Ness and 22nd Street.

Info: www. ur­ban­putt. com

Li­holiho Yacht Club, a play­ground of Pa­cific cuisines, opened in Jan­uary at 871 Sut­ter St. The din­ing room is deep and nar­row, the kitchen is wide and open, and the f loor is a mod­ernist pat­tern of blue and white, with tiles spell­ing “ALOHA.” The night I vis­ited, a tuna poke dish ( very Hawai­ian) shared the menu with beef tongue, lamb ribs and mar­i­nated squid. I sat at the bar and chose the ribs. Tremen­dous.

Info: www. li­holi­hoy­acht­club

. com

The Mar­ket, just down­stairs from Twit­ter’s head­quar­ters at 1355 Mar­ket St., is a burst of af­flu­ence on the long- trou­bled mid­dle stretch of Mar­ket Street near the Civic Cen­ter. The core is a wayup­scale gro­cery store ( Span­ish ham, $ 27 a pound; French cheese, $ 20 a pound) with eater­ies around its perime­ter — a ta­pas bar, ta­que­ria, cof­fee mer­chant, wine shop, juice ven­dor, pizze­ria, sushi and oys­ter bar — ev­ery­thing you wish you had in the build­ing at your job but don’t. The Mar­ket opened in Jan­uary ( ex­cept for the res­tau­rant and bar Dirty Wa­ter, to open this month) and seems to be mak­ing peace with its neigh­bor­hood. I ar­rived around 4: 30 p. m. and saw three se­cu­rity per­son­nel be­fore I spot­ted a cus­tomer, but the servers and se­cu­rity were friendly and adept. And my $ 3.75 carne asada taco was tasty.

Info: www. visit­the­mar­ket. com


The Ferry Build­ing at the foot of Mar­ket Street dates to the 1890s. But through Dec. 4, its clock tower is de­voted to 1915. Since early March, a string of lights has spelled out that date, pay­ing homage to the Panama- Pa­cific In­ter­na­tional Ex­po­si­tion the city staged that year. Be­cause that expo sig­naled the city’s reemer­gence af­ter the quake and fires of 1906, there’s a lot of expo nos­tal­gia in its cen­ten­nial year, in­clud­ing an im­age- rich ex­hi­bi­tion, “City Ris­ing,” at the Cal­i­for­nia His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety ( 678 Mis­sion St., www. cal­i­for­ni­ahis­tor­i­cal

so­ci­ety. org, through Jan. 3).

Info: www. fer­ry­build­ing mar­ket­place. com The Mu­seum of the African

Di­as­pora at 685 Mis­sion St. was born in 2005, then born again in De­cem­ber af­ter a six- month makeover. Through Oct. 11, it’s show­ing “Por­traits and Other Like­nesses,” a col­lec­tion of about 50 works bor­rowed from the nearby San Fran­cisco Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art ( which is closed for ex­pan­sion un­til 2016). It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing show.

Info: www. moadsf. org

Christo­pher Reynolds Los An­ge­les Times


in the Mis­sion Dis­trict is a year- old bar and res­tau­rant that makes room for 14 ec­cen­tric holes of mini- golf.

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