Slow streets make the best spaces for our bars and restaurants to spill out into the public space. To think, spilling out into public space used to be extremely illegal, frowned upon, one of the few perversions that could actually put you in jail in the city. (Just kidding, they would just pour your drink out and slap the business with a strong warning.) As long as you are in an established ‘perimeter’ and seated-ish, it’s encouraged these days. On a slow street with a wide sidewalk, just slap some tables down, put up a two-foot-wide three-foot-tall immobile ‘diversion’, and you have what Europe has had for…centuries? For us dwellers of the east side, I think Page Street is the favorite: near us, not downtown, a pleasant portal to the park, the rebeginning of the hills, not too steep to walk but too steep to start a casual bicycle ride from the bottom of.
All this to set the scene at a favorite platform in the city at one of my favorite bars in the city. A real holdout in the before, now somehow rebirthed and Instagram friendly but with concrete instead of carpet as the floor, something the bar‘gram tourists would post a story about if they knew. The same ones who probably don’t sit at the bar, or talked to the guy who pays with fresh crisp sheets of two dollar bills straight from the mint, or the fact that you can show up at 1:30 am on a Monday night and they’ll still take care of you, or even that until our mascot of these times made a showing, plastic squares were for getting more paper rectangles to buy more glass cylinders.
Supposedly there is a wait on weekends with a tablet-driven online list thingy, but we all know the tablet is for the host to play games on between sanitizer sprays and to poke at and say “uh sorry, seems there is a wait of….3 hours for parties of 6” and then immediately seat three parties of two, with dogs in tow. They are one of those places that love a party of one.
I lean towards getting a full chip spread and starting with something Pliny-esque and moving towards “what’s hot and toddy” as the afternoon progresses. Being one of “those places” on Russian River Brewing’s distribution list, I hope we get outdoor dining back in February.
(oh their Platform on Page Street has art including a chandelier, but that’s just a bonus, they were cool even when it was cold out there)