The Muse turned to Mr. Muse Sunday evening over cocktails at the AMERICANO and said "If someone had told me 20 years ago that I would be sitting outside on the Embarcadero, sipping a cocktail and perusing a bar menu and that the temperature would be 70 degrees at 6 pm in July in San Francisco I would have called them a nut case". Yesterday’s nut case has become today’s prophet.
First, let’s talk about the flora and fauna of the neighborhood. To get an idea of what it looked like in 1968 watch the Steve McQueen movie BULLITT. The flophouse where Bullitt is assigned to protect a witness stood just a few feet away from the HOTEL VITALE. The movie gives you a good idea of what a dark and grimy part of town this was. The Ferry Building was a very scary place. Mr. Muse was once shooting photographs from inside the tower of the Ferry Building and he heard a loud hissing behind him. He turned around to face a cat-sized wharf rat up on its hind legs, baring its teeth. Lovely. Using his tripod to keep the rat with the glowing red eyes at bay, Mr. Muse escaped. Trust me. This was not an area that you would want to hang out in.
Now let’s talk about the weather. San Franciscans can’t talk about anything else but the weather these days. Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Got the picture? We are not set up for this heat. Unless you are in a high rise office building you probably don’t have air conditioning. Wealthy San Franciscans fled the COLD in the summer to cottages they built in the Oakland and Berkeley hills where the weather was warm. But still not hot. We can’t take the heat. We are the children of immigrants who lived in mild climates like the island of Madeira or colder climates like Ireland and Scotland. Not deserts.
Back to the Americano’s bar. Great drinks (especially the Cosmopolitans), yummy nibblies (we love the almonds and garlic fried in olive oil) and professional waitstaff. Get there early on these warm evenings for a seat outside on the patio.