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Aug 24, 2013 09:26 PM

Suggestions for Hot Spots to hit this coming SF Ghost-Town Week?

So the best week of the year in San Francisco starts on Monday - the week its actually possible to get into some of SF's most popular spots. Last year, we were able to walk into multiple Mission spots WITHOUT a wait and there was barely a line at Tartine!
(This is caused by the many San Franciscans are leaving town (Burning Man) PLUS the Closure of Bay Bridge means fewer incoming East Bay folks (8pm Wednesday until 5am Tuesday) PLUS the normal Labor Day Weekend exodus)
I'm putting together a list of normally uber-hot bars & restaurants to hit this coming week. Any suggestions?
FYI: I was totally bummed to realize State Bird Provisions is closed this week, it would have been on my list.

Current Possibilities
West of Pecos
Namu Gaji
Central Kitchen
Flour & Water
Mission Chinese Food
Park Tavern
Foreign Cinema

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  1. AQ
    Rich Table
    20th Century Cafe - must get honey cake & chocolate chip cookie - I just reviewed on another post w/ pics
    The Mill for Josey's bread
    Four Barrel Coffee

    1 Reply
    1. re: hhc

      Biergarten is the perfect example! I would normally never go there because of the crush of people. Today is Day One and we're meeting at MiniBar so a pit stop and The Mill might be nice.

    2. Looking online I don't see that it's much easier to get reservations than usual. Flour & Water has a table at 9:30 on Monday.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        It may be that my initial list is too upscale to be impacted by the exodus?
        Looks like we're going to hit some places in NoPa tonight, The Mission on Wednesday, Dogpatch on Thursday, with Tues & Fri TBD.

      2. Trick Dog
        Mission Bowling
        St Vincent

        (More of a drinking list. Can't wait till Thursday and Friday.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Windy

          St. Vincent's never hard to get into.

        2. I have my doubts about this effect but there was almost no line for Rosamunde's Tuesday burger from 11:30-12:30, and The Mill was nearly empty shortly after that. Two data points, anyway.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

            San Francisco feels empty on three-day weekends generally. To add my data points from last year's Labor Day weekend, it was a snap to park in the Mission on Friday thru Sunday. The City felt even more empty that usual for a holiday weekend. My friend ordered delivery from Mission Chinese Food for us, a staple for him, and it arrived in record time according to him. He attributed this to the burners-away effect.

            P.S. Everyone I know who's headed to Burning Man (and some already left last weekend) has a job, most in Silicon Valley tech.

          2. My suspicion is that, in SF, a lot of the sort of young, vaguely boho people who would go to Burning Man are being displaced by techies, who have jobs and such that prevent them from spending a week in the Nevada desert.

            But where it concerns SF restaurants... I mean, I'm sure there is some impact, but were those people ever the sort of who dined at places like Flour + Water? Also, most of those techies are, unfortunately, also going the opposite direction, and are not much affected by the Bridge closure.

            So I mean. This might be a good time to try to get into, like, the Hemlock, but I don't imagine the restaurants will be much affected.

            5 Replies
            1. re: dunstable

              Many SF hipsters are techies. There are certain bars, coffee shops, and casual no-reservation restaurants in SF where almost every conversation I overhear is about tech business. Many of those people get vacations and can afford $380 for a ticket.


              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Well... yes, exactly. There are a lot of techies in SF. And most of those people aren't going to Burning Man.

                This is a moot exercise. A quick glance at Frances, for instance, shows that it is no less crowded today than usual.

                1. re: dunstable

                  It's not entirely moot. As noted by Prabhakar, there are places that aren't as busy as usual. You just have to get the demographics right.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Yes, it was noted that two places in recently hip neighborhoods were less crowded in the middle of the day. This only convinces me more.

                    If I'm honest with myself, I probably am still a techie too (I'm a civil engineer these days; does that count?), and while I would not say I am knowledgeable about burning man (nor am i particularly hip), I do think a have a very strong grasp of techie culture... as well as the city I've lived in for nearly ten years. I should also point out that I did not say there would be zero impact; only that sf would not become a ghost town where normally full restos were empty.

              2. re: dunstable

                All my techie friends (and me myself) stopped going to burning man in about 2005, when it stopped being about Everyone is a Participant - No Spectators, and started being RVs and tours and required costumes and way too many cops. I probably only know a dozen people going this year, and most of them are working - building the man, DPW, that kind of thing. They all live in Oakland and are musicians and artists and partiers.

                I was reading the permitting for people serving food at burning man, which is closer to topic although out of region. Gone are the days of Sushi Camp. We always ran an open bar at sunset, were even sponsored by the Black Vodka company, whatever they were called.

                I can't quite tell yet if the peninsula is emptier than usual. In PA we have the Changing of the Students, which complicates everything.

                I was in SFO a few times the last 10 days, I saw a huge amount of europeans coming and going, especially italians. Not sure if they (were) cheering the america's cup or what. I bet those vacations are over and that slice of our restaurant going public is heading/has headed home.

                The conference in town mid-week is VM World, the VMware conference, which is a lot smaller than Oracle World.