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    Dining, Distillations Distillations: La Vie Boheme

    Distillations: La Vie Boheme

    If a café serves beer, does that make it a bar? If a bar has a dance floor, does that make it a club? These might seem like trivial distinctions — a rose by any other name would be upcharged…
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    Dining, Distillations To Live and Die at The Alley

    To Live and Die at The Alley

    "I'm getting used to the idea that I'll never have children," Jess told me as we approached The Alley in Oakland. "It took a while for me to say 'Okay, this a reality I'm accepting rather than something I'm fighting.'"…
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    Dining, Distillations Distillations: Boxing Room

    Distillations: Boxing Room

    The Boxing Room is underwhelming at first, an open and very wood-filled space with New Orleans kitsch that manages to stay on the right side of "tasteful" but the wrong side of "bland." I sat at the bar, near two…
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    Dining, Distillations The Inadequacy of Noire Lounge

    The Inadequacy of Noire Lounge

    As a live pianist played vaguely familiar tunes at the Noire Lounge, I tell E. that if I ever go back to grad school, I think I'd like to write a dissertation on the semiotics of hipster bar decorations. Take…
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    Dining, Distillations Distillations: The Liberties

    Distillations: The Liberties

    Cocktails on draught are becoming increasingly popular at the kind of bars that want to keep ahead of — or at least in the vicinity of — the cocktail curve. The Liberties, an Irish pub on the edge of the…
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    Dining, Distillations When Great Bars Serve Shitty Drinks

    When Great Bars Serve Shitty Drinks

    "I know this awesome bar in the Mission," Eric said as we hunted for parking. I knew we'd find it. Eric has a 10-word parking mantra that, I swear, always works. "It's got an awesome dive exterior," he said, between…
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    Dining, Distillations Chino, Where Patrons Help Bartenders

    Chino, Where Patrons Help Bartenders

    Where would you be if you weren't here? Have you got an escape plan in mind, when San Francisco's market forces come for you? The question has been on my mind. I'm feeling my fingers slip off the ledge, and…
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    Dining, Distillations Keeping the Patient Alive at the Pilsner

    Keeping the Patient Alive at the Pilsner

    There's a table by the entrance to the Pilsner Inn saying that it's offering unlimited drinks from four beers on tap for $10, with the proceeds going to support AIDS research. They're prosaic beers (I stuck with the Boont Amber…
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    Dining, Distillations

    Every Past Lover at Trad'r Sam's

    Caitlyn saw me on the street, and called out. There was a long pause while we decided whether to hug. We kept a safe distance. But I surprised myself by saying "we can grab coffee while you're still in town."…
    Dining, Distillations The Knockout Channels the Odeon

    The Knockout Channels the Odeon

    I'm going to tell you a ghost story. It's about a bar. About 13 years ago my friend Colin went to the Odeon. It was locked. He and his friends knocked on the door. Somebody answered. "What time do you…
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    Dining, Distillations Drowning in Options at Press Club

    Drowning in Options at Press Club

    "This is the nicest basement I've been to in months," Mari said as we descended the stairs into Press Club with my father. The room is impressive, big with several different bar areas and "living room couch"-style setups — if…
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    Dining, Distillations Behind the Paywall at Fat Angel

    Behind the Paywall at Fat Angel

    Recently, I wrote an article for a publication that has an online paywall. My friend Michael wanted people to read it, so he pasted the entire article into a Facebook post for all his friends. "On the one hand, this…
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    Dining, Distillations Lalita and the Crisis of Authenticity

    Lalita and the Crisis of Authenticity

    Eric is debating whether coding is an art form. On the one hand, coders these days have artistic temperaments — they see themselves as prima donnas rather than as engineers. They keep artistic hours. And code unquestionably has an aesthetic…
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    Dining, Distillations Pondering Cafe Culture at Vinyl

    Pondering Cafe Culture at Vinyl

    Flippit is in town from Chicago for a few days, and he's regaling me with stories about his time in the Chicago improv scene over coffee at Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar. Flippit has stood this close to greatness. Half…
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    Dining, Distillations Failure Succeeds at Iron & Gold in Bernal Heights

    Failure Succeeds at Iron & Gold in Bernal Heights

    The Black Manhattan has gone from a drink that prompts inquisitive looks to one that's begun appearing on the hippest menus across the city. I've heard three different stories about its origin — including one from a guy who said,…
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    Dining, Distillations Ruthless Inefficiency

    Ruthless Inefficiency

    Sitting at the bar, nursing a glass of absinthe, Lapo tells me that as a Berkeley student he'd wanted to design his own interdisciplinary major. Then he discovered that if you declared as such, you were forced to take a…
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    Dining, Distillations Awkward Moments at Churchill

    Awkward Moments at Churchill

    Years ago, as a cub reporter in a Midwestern college town, I was sent way out across the cornfields to cover the 125th anniversary of the town of Chalmers, Indiana. There, I met plenty of old-timers who proudly told me,…
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    Dining, Distillations Is It Ever OK to Send a Drink Back Twice?

    Is It Ever OK to Send a Drink Back Twice?

    Some of us can spend time with people we dislike just because we think they're pretty. I find that terribly, terribly depressing. It's why I almost never hit on women in bars: I don't like most people. The road from…
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    Dining, Distillations Lovely Day for a Guinness

    Lovely Day for a Guinness

    Not very far up Kearny Street from Market, sharp-eyed observers will discover alleyways filled with tent-covered tables and communal café seating. Turn down one such alley and the neighborhood feels suddenly Continental — like you're in Paris or Venice, waiting…
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    Dining, Distillations

    A Book-Themed Bar by Way of Borges

    Some ideas are always bad, no matter how many new twists you apply or how much technology you throw at them.  Eugenics.  Theocracy.  Trusting Google with personal data.  Swiping right on a picture of a guy with a tiger.  Regular…
    Dining, Distillations LiPo Lounge Says ‘Fuck You, Tourist’: Asian kitsch

    LiPo Lounge Says ‘Fuck You, Tourist’: Asian kitsch

    You can tell the tourists from the regulars at the Li Po Lounge in Chinatown. The regulars come in alone, look haggard as though they've just had a hard day selling insurance or tea, and connect easily with the bartender…
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    Dining, Distillations Keeping Heroes Alive at Pissed Off Pete’s

    Keeping Heroes Alive at Pissed Off Pete’s

    "People who say life isn't fair are usually trying to screw you," Sam told me, early into his first beer. "If someone has to explain that life isn't fair, they're probably the ones causing the trouble." We're sitting in longtime…
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    Dining, Distillations Noe Valley Is Pretty, but How Many TVs Does One Bar Need?

    Noe Valley Is Pretty, but How Many TVs Does One Bar Need?

    Why does anybody go to Noe Valley? I tried to figure that out as I walked through it the other day, on my way to the Valley Tavern. One could ask the same question about my neighborhood, the Inner Sunset,…
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    Dining, Distillations Not Exactly Novel: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done.

    Not Exactly Novel: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done.

    In the hour she spent waiting for me to show up at Novela, a book-themed bar on Mission Street, Alaric decided that Novela really ought to be a book-themed strip club. I'd have been better off stealing her wallet or…
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    Dining, Distillations Distillations: Armchair Drinking at Kezar

    Distillations: Armchair Drinking at Kezar

    It's such a cliché not to judge a book by its cover that it's a wonder books still have covers at all. But even most digital versions do. I must have walked past the Kezar Bar & Restaurant at Carl…
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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"

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