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Need a "less cool" recommendation for out of town visitors/jazz lover/cocktail drinkers [San Francisco]

Ok my boss and hubby will be in city on their own for three days. He loves jazz, but is not one that likes a lot of walking or anything too trendy/loud/young.

I thought of Bix or Cafe Claude or even Le Colonial (theme - city) as they are staying in Union Square, but don't want to sacrifice a "can't miss" meal for jazz if there are better places.

They are from LA, so Asian/Mexican galore...

So, looking for some guidance on places with:
-Good food
-Relaxed ambience
-Comfortable for the over 50 year old crowd
-Not typical LA ethnic
-A good time for someone that has not been in SF for 15 years
They like German food, Jazz, and martinis...

They have one evening out at the Exploratorium and are at Cal Academy Saturday afternoon. Otherwise they are based in Union Square.

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  1. I think you have to separate out the music component and the dinner component.

    I'd go to dinner and just head to Yoshi's after. Or do dinner at Yoshi's and reconcile yourself to the food not being awesome.

    Perbacco is a bit more traditional without completely sacrificing the california-ness of it all. Do they like Indian? Dosa is very different from anything you can get in LA.

    I really like Suppenkuche for German but it's very very casual and reads pretty young.

    5 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      I did send them the Yoshi's link - my only thought was that combining meal/jazz would be better time wise....but looking at options, I would agree with you. Le Colonial just does not feel like someplace I would go in San Franciso.

      And I think casual is fine for them as long as they have some space and a DJ is not breaking beats (fun visual for me).

      1. re: myst

        On Suppenkuche, there's a wait - it moves decently quickly. You just have to get there early put your names in and hang out nearby at a bar if the wait is quoted as more than half an hour ( I don't know if they take reservations).

        No DJ. It's just loud and casual.

        1. re: myst

          One thing to keep in mind is that jazz is a hard sell in SF with the kids, so much so that SF Yoshis was having financial problems and was forced to stop putting jazz on every night. So be careful to check if the night they go is actually Jazz.

          1. re: myst

            I don't know the name of the act, but the Jazz at Club Deluxe (upper Haight) on Wednesday nights is really outstanding. No cover. It's a little bit on the young side and not as posh as a theater, but they do make nice cocktails. I'm only recommending Wednesday nights though - other nights they have had some pretty amateur acts (to put it nicely).

            1. re: sfchris

              Figured out who the Wednesday act is:

              Patrick Wolf Quartet

              Yesterday, the guest was Mike Olmos on trumpet:

              Insanely great!

        2. Rose Pistola, Harris'.

          Les Joulins is a mellow place, can't speak to the food.

          Yoshi's SF has a lot of non-jazz acts.

            1. re: foodeye

              That's just a list of Civic Center restaurants.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                It was referring to the Charles Phan's restaurant at the SF Jazz Center. The menu looks good, but I have not tried it yet. http://www.southatsfjazz.com/ Depending on when they are in town, the live music option there may be something they are interested in also.

                1. re: foodeye

                  I don't find any reports about South here yet. What I've heard about the food elsewhere hasn't been encouraging.

                  Like the SF Yoshi's, the SF Jazz Center books a lot of non-jazz acts.

            2. The SF Jazz center is spectacular. Really, its a great venue. If they love jazz, they should time their visit based on their calendar: http://sfjazz.org/events-calendar

              Lots of options near there. Zuni is in walking range and fits the bill. Rich Table? Maybe Ler Ros? Chez Maman? I agree that Suppenkuche would be too loud/young.

              1. Cafe Claude has live music (jazz-ish) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's a reliably good meal with French standards and California touches. Works well with your over 50, cocktails, and near Union Square criteria.

                1. Pläj is Cal/Scandinavian, and I think it satisfies all your criteria. It's just a few blocks from the SF Jazz Center, so it should work for dinner and a show. It's one of our favorite places to eat before the Symphony, and they are great and getting people out on time before shows. There's lots of good stuff there - I always get the herring, usually in their preparation with 3 different marinades, and have had lovely elk and venison entrees there.


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mdg

                    The SF Jazz Center doesn't have shows every night, and a lot of the shows on their calendar aren't jazz.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      OK, this is OT, but after the 2nd time making this dubious claim in the same thread, I have to challenge you on this.

                      SF Jazz programing is eclectic, but it is also quintessentially jazz. If you haven't followed the form in a few decades, or if you define jazz as something it once was that is now dead and gone, then sure, SF Jazz does not curate that cemetery. But the debate about 'what is jazz' is as old as the form, and the form is continually reborn. In that tradition, SF Jazz programming excels. And the space itself is astonishing. No matter what you prefer to call the music, Miner Hall is a visually and aurally stunning place to experience it.

                      1. re: BernalKC

                        Look at the calendar. The only jazz show there this week is the Django All-Stars. Zhukov Dance Theater is performing to a mix of classical music, electronics, and street sounds. Maceo Parker plays funk.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          dance + classical + electronics ++ == none of genres per se == jazz. Besiudes, the connection between dance and jazz goes way back.

                          Maceo has been blowing jazz ever since he left James Brown. Sure he brings the funk. So does (or did) Herbie Hancock.

                          Eclectic? Sure. Jazz? We can agree to disagree. Fun topic, but OT here.

                          1. re: BernalKC

                            On the right night, SF Jazz Center and a nearby restaurant might be perfect. I'm just saying check the calendar. It's not like Les Joulins, where you can walk in any night of the week between 7:30 and 11pm and be sure of live jazz that the most narrow-minded jazz fan would recognize as such.

                            Given "He loves jazz, but is not one that likes a lot of walking or anything too trendy/loud/young," I'm pretty sure that they're not looking for a modern dance concert or Maceo Parker (who describes his style as "2% jazz, 98% funky stuff").