Is Wild Side West Now San Francisco’s Last Lesbian Bar?

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Last week, the operators of the Lexington Club on 19th Street in The Mission announced that the bar will soon shut down. High rents and changing demographics were cited as the causes for the Lexington’s demise.

The announcement triggered some earnest soul-searching around San Francisco, because the Lexigton was, arguably, The City’s last true lesbian bar. Writing for the HuffPo, Jen Jack Gieseking says:

The only bar dedicated to serving lesbians in San Francisco, the Lexington Club, announced that it is closing after 18 years. You may be shocked that the bar is closing and/or that there is only one lesbian bar in that gay metropolis. As a researcher of lesbian-queer spaces and economies, I am not surprised at all.

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But wait! Is that true? Is the Lexington Club San Francisco’s last true lesbian bar? Or, is it the case, as a wise Jedi once said, “No. There is another.”

The Bold Italic points to Bernal Heights:

[The Lexington] has been a Mission staple for almost two decades, and when it goes so goes one of the city’s last lesbian bars in the city (Wild Side West in Bernal still stands, but it’s arguable whether it’s actually a “lesbian bar” anymore)

Journalist-about-town Steve Silverman is on the same page:

SFist replies, Yes but only sort of and not really so much:

Some may argue the case for Wild Side West, which remains a LGBT-friendly neighborhood bar in Bernal Heights, open since 1962, with a historic link to the lesbian community, but anecdotally we understand it is more of a mixed bar these days.

Bernalwood has considered this question of Wild Side West’s sexual credentials before, in the context of a larger discussion of the changing political economy of the Bay Area lesbian community.

Yet with the closure of The Lex, the subcultural role of Wild Side West is now a bit more of an urgent question. Please discuss.

PHOTOS: Wild Side West by Telstar Logistics. Lexington Club sign by Vintageroadtrip on Flickr

This Is What It Looked Like at Fiesta on the Hill When Bernal Neighbors Discovered Their Inner Race Car Drivers

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Sunday’s Fiesta on the Hill was rather exceptionally fantabulous.

For 2014, Bernal’s traditional street fair on Cortland got a thoughtful makeover, with a strong emphasis on local character and creativity. The generic street fair vendors and beleaguered farm animals were gone, and in their place Fiesta 2014 gave our neighborhood fest a more homespun feel, with smiling goats, and historic surrealist Doggie Diner Heads, and happy parents steering happy children on mechanized ponies by remote control:

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It was a Main Street USA celebration of 21st century urbanism, and the crowds on Cortland were bustling:

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People looked like they were having a good time. There was even dancing in the streets. REPEAT: Confirmed dancing in the streets!

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Truth be told, however, your Bernalwood editor was unable to make his usual quasi-journalistic rounds at Fiesta on the Hill, because as part of this new 2014 emphasis on local flavor, I was recruited to babysit the two mutant race cars operated by the Bernal Dads Race Team.

So for most of the day, I was parked on Cortland, right in front of Andi’s Market.

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Playing chaperone for America’s Most Badass Volvo Station Wagon and a Alfa Romeo disguised as a cookie was a hindrance to my wanderings. But it turned out to be a great way to meet a lot of awesome Bernal neighbors.

In particular, it was fun to watch Bernalese of all ages as they sat in the Volvo and visualized the adrenalin-fueled excitement of driving the car in wheel-to-wheel combat on a race track.

Here are some of the dashing future racers I met:

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Thanks to everyone who made Fiesta on the Hill 2014 so much fun. Bravo, stay sexy, and can’t wait until 2015.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Where Bernal Celebrity Chef Tim Archuleta Dines When He Dines in Bernal Heights

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Chef Tim Archuleta is now famous throughout the galaxy for the amazing food he serves at ICHI Sushi+Ni Bar on Mission Street in the Dominion of Bernalwood. But did you know that along with his glamorous wife Erin, the Archuletas also live right here Bernal  Heights? They do!

So when Chef Tim and Neighbor Erin want to stay close to home, they often dine at one of Bernal’s other fine eateries — just like us! The Tasting Table website interviewed Chef Tim recently to find out where he likes to eat in Bernal Heights:

Call it what you will, but the South Mission/La Lengua/Bernal Heights is all kinds of hot right now.

And there’s no better neighborhood guide than Tim Archuleta of ICHI Sushi + NI Bar, one of our favorite spots in town. He’s lived there since 2005, but lately, Archuleta has been keeping busy with a packed house, transforming the original ICHI space into an oyster bar and frequenting neighborhood favorites—when his wife and business partner Erin isn’t cooking, that is.

“She’s an amazing cook!” Archuleta tells us. “On one of our first dates she made me bacon-wrapped meatloaf with hard-boiled eggs running through it. I knew it was love at first bite.”

Here are some of his other local loves.

We don’t want to ruin the surprise, so read the whole article to compare Chef Tim’s list of go-to places on Mission Street with your own.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

This Is the New Bernal Heights Graphic from Artist Amos Goldbaum

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Pro Tip: If you’re heading to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday — and you are going to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday, aren’t you? — look for Bernal-born artist Amos Goldbaum’s booth on Cortland.

That’s where you’ll find the t-shirts with Neighbor Amos’s sexy new Bernal Heights graphic, shown above. So lovely! So detailed! So locavore!

Here’s the closer look:

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Globetrotting French Family Gets Proper Bernal Welcome Near Yosemite

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Remember that globetrotting French family that was parked on Bernal Hill last weekend?

Neighbor Dawn, the patron saint of El Rio, hoped to give them a proper Bernal welcome… but she arrived on the Hill after they’d already departed. Nevertheless, she did eventually succeed in her quest. Neighbor Dawn tells the tale:

I read your recent post on the French family in bernal and was thrilled, as I love those vehicles and folks making travels like this wonderful group. I immediately went up to the hill to say hello and offer them my house to park and rest, but they were already gone. I got the best surprise though…

I live part time in a small town near Yosemite, and as i came up this week, guess who i discovered along the road? I invited them to stay with me, and we just had the most wonderful couple of days visiting with them. They are on their way thru Yosemite now.

Thank you for saying hello to them to begin with, and the blog post. It was such a pleasure for me to meet them!

PHOTO: The Cébron Family, by Neighbor Dawn

Bernal Hill Stars in the Most Epic Display of Giants Pride the World Has Ever Seen

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Holy schmokes!  While things were going badly for the Giants last night, Daniel Leu, our favorite Bernal-watcher on Potrero Hill, noticed that we looked rather stunning during the sunset.

Daniel writes:

While the San Francisco Giants were battling the Kansas City Royals, the sky over Bernal Heights had its own spectacular show.

We may have lost the game, but it can now be said Bernal Hill put on the most epic display of orange-and-black Giants Pride the world has ever seen.

PHOTO: Daniel Leu