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Top Five SOMA Bars for Happy Hour

Whether you’re capping off a hard day at work or catching up with family and friends, you need to check out these SOMA establishments. This diverse downtown neighborhood, located south of Market Street, is frequented by tourists, tech workers, baseball fans, and business people. Out of all the dive bars, sports hangouts and upscale watering holes, here are the top five SOMA bars for happy hour.

Tempest
431 Natoma St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Walking through a sketchy alley to get one of San Francisco’s best dive bars is definitely worth the risk. Tempest is a great place for sports fanatics to catch a game. Inside you’ll find newspaper clips of the San Francisco Giants winning the MLB championship in past years and neat art and graffiti hanging on the walls. With Box Kitchen next door for snacks this is a great choice for affordable happy hour. The bar has a good number of TVs for sports fans, and an awesome pool table and video arcade. Its drink combos are a popular choice, including $5 PBR, Hams, or Busch with a shot of Jim Bean or Dickle. If you love tequila, the “Donkey Show,” combo only $8 comes with a refreshing pint of Modelo and a shot of Pueblo Viejo Blanco. The “Industry Special,” comes with a seven ounce Miller High Life and a shot of Fernet for $5.

Jillian’s San Francisco
175 Fourth St. San Francisco, CA 94103

Jillian’s is huge and friendly bar with a lunch and dinner menu, a plethora of TVs for watching sports events, plus an abundance of pool tables. It is located right in the heart of the Metreon; it attracts a mixed crowd of tourists, office workers and convention attendees. Walking in, visitors are instantly drawn to a huge TV, while back wall is highlighted by colorful and surreal cartoon figures. The prices are a little high but the bar has an well-priced happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm which includes $5 cocktails and a wide selection of bottled and draft beers and appetizers.

The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant
198 Fifth St, San Francisco, CA 94103

The Chieftain is an Irish pub and restaurant with a rich history. First built in 1912 and named the M&M Tavern, it was the hot spot for reporters of the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. The pub is one block away from the Metreon and is within walking distance of The San Francisco Center and Moscone. Interestingly enough, a bronze plaque at the handsome mahogany bar says that the bar was built using Belgian castle stone. The pub is great for watching sports and even has live music on certain days. It serves traditional dishes like fish & chips, Irish stew, burgers, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. The pub has a convenient happy hour from 3-6 pm daily. It’s a great place to wind down after work and have a few drinks with colleagues. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Irish pub if it didn’t have Guinness on tap.

Local Edition
691 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Have you ever watched a scene in a movie in which the characters walk through an alley to a hidden door which leads to a secret bar or club? Well, that is what it feels like to walk into Local Edition; located on busy Mission St. there is no sign, but look for a big clock inside the window. Local Edition is a speakeasy decorated with old news paper clippings and typewriters; it has has an elegant, yet relaxed ambience that makes it a great spot for after-work drinks. Plush red booths are available with reservations; otherwise the bar is first-come, first-serve. Monday through Wednesday you can see live jazz starting at 8:00 pm. Cocktails are priced from $12 to $13 and feature a variety of exotic ingredients. For instance, the “Town & Country,” contains white rum, amburana aged cachaca, lime, blanc vermouth, red grapes, thyme, poppy tincture, egg whites, tonic, and is shaken and served on the rocks.

The View 39
39, 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

To-die-for View 39 is located on the 39th floor of The Marriot Hotel on 4th street. Once you enter the bar you will see panoramic views of the city from different angles. The bar is open Sunday through Wednesday from 4 pm till 1am and Thursday through Saturday from 4pm till 1:30 am It serves cocktails, craft and bottled beer, food, and wine. It is a sophisticated bar often frequented by business people attending events at nearby Moscone. However, the bar’s welcoming atmosphere and attentive servers make it a great place for locals to bring out-of town visitors. The drinks are pricey, but the mesmerizing views of the city bring serenity. Here are some of the small plates of food the bar serves like warm cheesy bread, cage free deviled eggs, focaccia bruschetta, and Strauss family grass-fed meatloaf sliders. Try their Golden Gate cocktail with Jameson, St. Germaine, cranberry, and ginger ale. The bar is stylishly decorated with white leather sofas and marble tables it’s truly a refuge from the busy, noisy streets below.

Off the Beaten Track: San Francisco’s Hayes Valley

‘Great Adventure’ is painted in giant marquee letters on the side of a Victorian mansion on the corner of Hayes Valley’s Octavia and Page Streets. This Ben Eine mural is a constant reminder of the district’s steadfast spirit. Since suffering a crucial blow from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and subsequent fires, the community has continued to surmount itself. Bold entrepreneurs moved into the area after big-scale renovations had tidied up the neighborhood. Now, twenty-five years later, a unique ambiance has spawned with exciting shops, mural masterpieces, food truck dining, blossoming public gardens, and a relaxed atmosphere. Hidden away in the shadows of Civic Center’s domes, Hayes Valley has risen to contain all ingredients that make San Francisco so special.

When approaching the neighborhood from the east, coming from City Hall, picturesque Linden Street offers the prettiest entrance. Rather than lined-up cars, planters dominate this lively alley. Appropriately titled ‘While You Wait’, a monochromatic mural by Zio Ziegler offers the perfect distraction while waiting in line for Blue Bottle Coffee. Stashed away in a garage, this coffee hut is believed to have the best coffee in town. The New Orleans-style iced coffee, in particular, gloriously kick-starts your morning. The stretch of greenery that lies ahead is Patricia’s Green, the epicenter of neighborhood life. When sun bathing on the park’s lawn, give in to one of Smitten Ice Cream’s many surprising flavors. How about brown cinnamon shortbread or strawberry white balsamic for a change? Consume your icy delight away from local razzle-dazzle in the narrow public gardens flanking Octavia Street. Quoting one of the sayings painted on pieces of wood, ‘let your thoughts pass thru you like wind’ when you perch down on a bench in these fenced botanical retreats. Pass through Page and Laguna Mini Park and zigzag up to Koshland Community Park before fueling up in Samovar Tea Lounge. Sumptuous lunch dishes along with artisan teas are guaranteed to provide you with the kick of energy needed to further explore Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley

Photo by Flickr user: Charles CC2.0

Tree-topped Hayes Street accommodates the area’s trendiest stores. One of the most notable ones, Flight 001, is a traveler’s Valhalla. Decorated to look like the inside of an airplane, this swanky shop sells everything from international power adapters to stylish travel bags. With branches in major cities like Tokyo and New York, setting-up shop here demonstrates the upturn of Hayes Valley as an up-and-coming destination. Styling the city’s most fashionable residents, Undefeated has a diverse selection of the coolest sneakers, clothing, and caps. Shop for vintage one-of-a-kind items and apparels at Reliquary, just around the corner. This neighborhood trump feels both enchanting and unhurried. Comic book nerds and aficionados meet at Isotope on Fell Street. More than just a comic book store, Isotope is also a place for art, workshops, and relaxation. Chill out on one of their comfy sofas with a graphic novel in hand while discussing the latest adventures of Spider-man, Batman, and the X-men.

Just as diverse as the district’s shopping scene is the munchscape, ranging from casual eateries to posh diners. On sunny afternoons people line up for one of the many food trucks that cruise the city. Within these mobile mini-kitchens talented rookies and established chefs cook up the most delicious meals for the most satisfying prices. Baking a mean Arugula pizza, Casey’s Pizza truck has been spotted regularly on Saturday afternoons. Derived from ‘mazza’, meaning small dishes of appetizers in Arabic, Lebanese corner restaurant Mazzat serves hummus and tapas-like dishes. Every morning, grandma prepares fresh meals for the day, making this family-enterprise highly authentic. Souvla on Hayes St. is the newest addition to the exclusive Greek dining scene in San Francisco. In this rather modern walk-in, a communal table for twelve replaces the typical ramshackle seats that one might expect in traditional Greek diners. With all those enticing fragrances, choosing between pork, chicken, or lamb (or veggie) has never been this hard. No place else screams bearish German food like Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Haight Street, just west of Hayes Valley. Head here for a hearty sausage on a bun or gigantic burger, only served on Tuesdays. Expect little space to maneuver yourself to the counter as this joint is gaining popularity.

Acknowledging the great marriage between sausage and beer, next-door Toronado allows you to bring in your grilled meat. Their infamous selection of beers and divey vibe make this place one of the Bay area’s finest beer bars. If you’ve become intrigued by San Francisco’s street art scene don’t forget to take a quick peek at the mysterious ‘Two Beauties’ mural on the corner of Steiner and Haight Streets. For tall mugs of German beer, descend back to central Hayes Valley’s Biergarten. The dozens of picnic tables, alongside the shipping containers that house the bar and kitchen, are packed with people looking to spend a carefree, sunny afternoon. Cross the Atlantic in the belly of a pirate ship in Smuggler’s Cove. Looking like the set of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, this tiki bar serves up great cocktails and ensures a fun time. One of the lesser-known music venues, Rickshaw Stop, is the go-to place for live music of your favorite indie band or underground DJ. This venue on Fell St. gives you the opportunity to see up-and-coming acts before they go viral.

If it’s department stores, Michelin stars, and nightclubs that you’re after, you came to the wrong place. But if you are looking for trendy shoes, finger foods, and happy-go-lucky drinking, Hayes Valley will win you over. The neighborhood’s unconstrained atmosphere provides a breath of fresh air compared to downtown’s fast pace. Together with the community’s appreciation of innovative ways of living, this completes the recipe for San Francisco.

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Director : Eric Lavaine.
Writer : Héctor Cabello Reyes, Eric Lavaine.
Release : June 1, 2016
Country : France.
Production Company : TF1 Films Productions, Same Player, Appaloosa Pictures, Pathé Productions, Scope Pictures, Chabraque Productions.
Language : Français.
Runtime : 97 min.
Genre : Comedy.

‘Back to Mom’s’ is a movie genre Comedy, was released in June 1, 2016. Eric Lavaine was directed this movie and starring by Alexandra Lamy. This movie tell story about At 40, Stephanie loses her job and is forced to move back in with her mother. She is welcomed with open arms to the joys of overheated apartment, Francis Cabrel playing on loop, Scrabble games and precious motherly advice on how to behave at the table and live her life.

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Chinese New Year Parade: a colorful cavalcade through downtown SF

When I arrived in San Francisco, one of the first things I noticed was the huge Chinese community. In my home country–France, Chinese people represent a very small part of the population, but here in San Francisco, they form the biggest immigrant community. Chinese-Americans represent more than 21% of the city’s population. Chinese culture was so foreign to me; all I knew about it was dragon puppets and sticky rice! Naturally, I was very curious to learn more, so one day I decided to visit Chinatown.

Sentinel building. Photo by Laura Damase

Sentinel building. Photo by Laura Damase

Located right in the heart of downtown and covering 1.34 square miles, this area is an important part of San Francisco. In fact, it is the largest Chinatown outside Asia, and the oldest in North America. When I ventured to Bush and Grant streets, I found the grand entrance to this famous neighborhood. I walked through its lovely gate, which is the only authentic Chinatown Gate in North America. Upon entering, I was surrounded by indecipherable Chinese characters, small stores, typical tiny restaurants and stalls selling fruits I didn’t even know existed. Behind their little windows, bakeries offered the best prices on fortune cookies–my favorite! This day, I literally felt transported to a land that is over 6000 miles away from the City by the Bay. Afterward, I realized that was nothing compared to what I was going to see later during my stay in this incredibly diverse city.

Food vendors on the street. Photo by Laura Damase

Indeed a few weeks later, I read on the Chinatown website, “Saturday February 15,Th 5pm, Union SquareThe Chinese New Year Parade will go from Market Street to Powell, then Kearny to Colombus. “What is that?” I wondered. I had no idea what to expect, but reading that people were coming from all over the world for this celebration, I really didn’t want to miss it.  Nowadays the parade is a major annual event in the Bay Area. The parade began more than 150 years ago to when the first Chinese immigrants arrived here in 1848. At that time, the California Gold Rush attracted a mass of Chinese people to the area to work as gold-miners. The parade quickly became a way for them to celebrate and share their culture.

UC Davis Marching Band at the Chinese New Year Parade. Photo by Laura Damase

UC Davis Marching Band at the Chinese New Year Parade. Photo by Laura Damase

On the day of the event, I arrived just on time, right when the first loud firecrackers were lighted to announce the celebrations launching at Union Square. A vast crowd was already gathered and I understood that being on time only means accepting to stand behind people who arrived hours in advance. As soon as the first trumpets sounded, the processions began without interruption. From the beautiful dancing girls to martial arts groups, the parade was so varied! It included stilt walkers, boy scouts and church groups, all smiling and holding huge flags, wearing costumes and uniforms. I also saw glimmering classic convertibles with politicians who greeted people and waved while passing the crowd. High school bands marched down the street, preceded by big banners announcing their arrival,  as well as lion dancers and acrobats.  Suddenly, loads of floats passed in front of us, all impressively decorated with glittering paillettes,  painted flags and with amazing imagery of dragons, every single detail of the floats was resplendent. Some floats were quite long, beautiful and moved slowly. Other floats carried wonderful women who posed like movie stars in their incredibly refined dresses—they looked perfect! I noticed a common theme among the handmade paintings and statues that decorated the floats . . . horses! Everywhere, of all sizes, all shapes, all poses imaginable, horses. Why? Well, in China, the horse is the symbol for 2014. In fact, this animal is a part of the 12-year-cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac, which is also associated with one of the five elements. 2014 is the year of wooden horse, which in Chinese culture means good luck and prosperity. The wooden horse, also, should make people who are born this year more likely to be energetic, bright and intelligent.

2014 is the year of the wooden horse. Photo by Laura Damase

2014 is the year of the wooden horse. Photo by Laura Damase

But let’s go back to the parade! A few minutes past 8pm, the dragon I was anticipating finally arrived. With a big head and long red and yellow tail, it was even more impressive than what I was expecting. When I saw it emerge from the well-known Sentinel building corner, I imagined it was going to be very long. In fact, I had the feeling it was just never-ending. Like a snake, it twirled from one side of the street to the other, in a crazy dance.  At this point, the parade truly looked like it may never end; a whirl of participants continued to walk in front of us. The parade proved to be amazingly diverse with more than 100 groups marching. After the dragon, the cutest part came: kindergarteners! Riding in wagons or proudly walking, they were wearing traditional makeup on their eyes and very sophisticated outfits. Some of them were dressed in traditional silky red tunics trimmed in black, with thin belts tightened around their waists. Other kids wore a very traditional Chinese outfit, called a Hanfus, which is also red, but with many other different colors! Their outfits boasted shiny beads and lovely embroideries that formed gorgeous geometrical patterns. The color gradients in the patterns were so elaborate that they almost looked unreal. Right above those pretty ensembles, their sweet little faces were capped by Phoenix crowns–colorful hats covered by stones and strands of beads.

 

Kids participating in the parade. Photo by Laura Damase

Kids participating in the parade. Photo by Laura Damase

On my way back, I finally realized how big the event actually was: hundreds of pedestrians were walking around the closed streets, holding balloons or sparklers. In fact, almost 1 million people were celebrating the Chinese New Year in San Francisco on this Saturday . . . and it doesn’t include those who watched it on TV!