Last night reignited feelings I hadn't felt about this city in ages. To say that San Francisco has changed over the last few years is an incredible understatement. While I try not to be a resident curmudgeon - the likes of those who post negative rants to Facebook all day - I have lived here for almost a dozen years, in which I've witnessed and lived at least three different versions of this city and myself. Time Out San Francisco's magazine launch party and Bar Awards Finale was just the flashback of feels I needed. It echoed the eclectically artsy, funky freshness of a city that has long since been either.
As an event planner, I can't not give it up for location, so let's start with the venue - The Chapel on Valencia. Imagine a next level, new era Amnesia. It's stunning, intimate yet spacious, and functional as hell. Of course, what's the first thing you do at a Time Out Bar Awards party? Hit the bar, obviously. My "Now We Both Have It" was freaking delicious and the name was perfectly irreverently SF. Even the food was bomb (which is harder to achieve in eventland than you'd think). I assume it was from The Chapel's restaurant, The Vestry. And if this says anything about which SF I choose to live in on a day-to-day basis, I tried my very first avocado toast! Not too shabby.
My favorite surprise that also made it feel that much more "San Francisco" was the live band, The Gentlemen Amateurs (pictured above). The music was super funky and danceable, so I looked at the stage from the back of the room, only to see my girl Sam Jackson singing her pretty little face off. The style, the soul. That's the SF I loved, and still do whenever I can find it.
Leaving the party, I noticed HYBYCOZO lamps above me, lighting up the lobby with that majestic golden glow they give off so well. What started as an experimental Burning Man installation by two of my friends in 2014, is now a profitable art project that is lighting up spaces across the world. If you're in San Francisco, do yourself a favor and check out Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley for a larger-than-life HYBYCOZO experience.
Walking home from the party, we passed Make-Out Room and could hear a woman playing an acoustic guitar and singing with one of those haunting, made-for-indie voices that cracks in all the right places. Past the $5 cover, she stood above a pair of pigeon toed feet as she poured her heart out before a mostly empty bar. It felt very "San Francisco," indeed.
The feeling stayed with me on my morning walk today, as an older gentleman passed by and gave me a quick shout of appreciation for the Barbra Streisand shirt I was still wearing from last night. I missed that feeling of not being able to walk five blocks without running into someone you know, or being inspired to make or be something. Happy thoughts these good Time Out vibes stick around for a while.