Healthy Spirits Now Open on Cortland, with a Grand Opening Sale on Saturday



It’s finally open. After weeks of curiosity and voyeuristic speculation, the Healthy Spirits liquor store has opened at 249 Cortland, inside the former Chuck’s Grocery space.

The opening of a liquor store would not typically warrant much attention, but Healthy Spirits is not a typical boozemonger; The new Cortland branch is the third outpost in the Healthy Spirits family, which is regarded as one of the City’s more esteemed purveyors of whiskey and agave spirits.

Store manager Nate Breed brings Bernalwood the 411, and extends an invitation to a special grand opening sale on Saturday, Nov. 28:

We’ve now officially opened Healthy Spirits Cortland.

So we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Bernal Heights community, and we look forward to what we can add to the neighborhood. Our first shop was founded in 1998 in the Castro District, so we’ve had about 17 years to perfect and evolve who we are and what we do. Our main areas of expertise are beer, whiskey and agave (tequila and mezcal), but everything we carry is hand-selected and extremely quality-focused.

One of our most important goals is consumer education. We strive to have the most knowledgeable and dedicated staff that can make beer and spirits consumption into an immersive, informative and exciting experience. This notion over the years has helped us provide great customer service, but it also breeds an environment that’s accessible for both the novice and connoisseur alike.

Another chance for education lies in our Beer, Bourbon and Agave Clubs, that feature advanced monthly selections with detailed write-ups and interviews with the distillers and brewers themselves. The clubs come with an awful lot of perks, including discounts, first shot at limited releases and occasional free tickets to beer and spirit events. We also strongly believe in supporting local breweries and distilleries while seeking out the esoteric and saving a special place for the classics. It’s important for us to not only understand how something is made and what it tastes like, but also where it’s made and by who.

Anyway that’s Healthy Spirits in a nut shell. And we’d like to extend a special invitation to all your Bernalwood readers to attend our Grand Opening Celebration on Small Business Saturday November 28th at 11am.

We will be giving away free swag all day and having some unbelievable sales: 10 to 40% off everything in the shop. We’ll also be raffling off the right to buy extremely rare bottles of whiskey like Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace Antique, Four Rose Limited 2015 and St George Single Malt the first 5 hours, and putting other rare and vintage beer and whiskies on the shelf when the doors open. Come early, as the best deals and rarest selections tend to go fast.

Store hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am to 11pm
Sunday: 11am to 9pm

See you at the shop!


PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Then and Now: Remembering Wild Days at the Motorcycle House on Moultrie


The Big Old Goofy World blog recently shared some vivid memories about the residents who used to live in this storied house on Moultrie, south of Cortland:

What a difference two or three decades makes. We called this “the Hell’s Angels house” or “the Cheech and Chong house.” On the top we see it c. 1980s, and on the bottom today.

This house had so much drama that my brother and I, who didn’t have a TV, would often turn out the lights in our living room and watch the fighting and drunkenness. Guns, knives, family disputes, and high speed chases ended up here. These guys were straight from the cast of Sons of Anarchy. But they were also good neighbors, when they were sober. Dave, the main occupant in the 80s, was handy with motors and installed our garage door, still in use today. And we were told to knock on his door if we were in trouble. After the 89 quake, when portions of the city were burning, he rustled up a flat bed truck, big TV, and generator, and the whole block watched the news there on Moultrie Street.

Sadly, Dave was murdered in a drug deal a few blocks away in the early 90s. The house remained a haunt of motorcycle enthusiasts until the early 2000s, I think. It then went through a series of improvements that gradually made it look a lot more respectable (such as removing that big chained dog visible in the lower left of the top photo).

Hat tip: MissionMission

PHOTO: Big Old Goofy World

City Outsources Lundys Landing Tree Problem to Irate Bernal Neighbor


This year, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works has been pursuing a euphemistically-named Tree Maintenance Transfer Plan that makes San Francisco homeowners responsible for tens of thousands of streetside trees that were, until recently, maintained by the city.

DPW says the crux of the plan is to “standardize maintenance responsibility such that, in general, fronting property owners will be responsible for the maintenance of street trees in the public right of way.” In plainspeak, DPW is basically outsourcing its tree problem to taxpayers, under force of law.

That’s how Neighbor Laura Gold of Lundys Lane, a schoolteacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann, ended up getting hit with a massive tree-maintenance bill recently.  Neighbor Laura tells Bernalwood:

We are fighting the city’s unfair assignment of tree care to the neighbors on Lundy’s Landing.

We all want a green city with an appropriate canopy. That is one of the many reasons we promptly pay our city taxes and support new ones when they are designed to beautify or improve our city. However, this shifting of responsibilities to citizens puts an unfair burden on already strained wallets. It also makes public spaces unsafe as homeowners scrape to come up with piecemeal solutions for city streets, easements and open spaces. Our budget is already strained by having to pay for the costs of replacing the sidewalk in front of our house and by caring for the street tree near our front door. We, in no way, can afford to take on the city’s responsibility nor its liability for a large shared public area that falls between our house and several of our neighbors.

I am a public school teacher in the Mission. I work 10-12 hour days. I make less than $3800 a month; my husband and I have put thousands of dollars of our own money and countless hours of our free time into providing materials (books, school supplies, snacks) for my classroom, since despite the fact that I work with kids whose families lack the basics to survive in this city, San Francisco has decided that it doesn’t want to take responsibility for them.

Now, it seems like city government has also abdicated its responsibility to the homeowners. A year ago, it was reported that due to high tax revenues, San Francisco was running a budget surplus of $22 million dollars — where is the money in this city going? It’s not helping the kids, and it’s not providing basic services to homeowners that other cities take for granted. Is it to further subsidize Google buses at the expense of the neighborhoods? I don’t teach math, but I know when things don’t add up.

Here is what my husband and I have done so far:

1) We have emailed and called Director Mohammed Nuru of DPW and requested a meeting and had no reply or return of our calls. Instead we have received yet another computer generated letter saying the trees are our problem. (see email below and feel free to quote as needed),

2) We have also contacted Supervisor Campos’s office, and while we have had responses, we have no evidence that anything is in the works, and the clock is ticking. (we were informed in a letter dated 10/30 we had 30 days to deal with the issue), and finally we have contacted people at the SF Chronicle, and are hoping they, too, can raise awareness about the issue.

Apparently both Supervisors Avalos and Weiner are taking up the cause,  The issue may end up on the ballot next year.

At what point does city government stop existing to benefit the citizens, and instead exist to provide a steady source of income for a few powerful people? What does that make the rest of us who thought we were participating in the San Francisco community, not working for San Francisco, Inc.?

This is the letter I sent to Director Nuru:

From: lauragold
To: “Mohammed Nuru”
Cc: “David Campos”
Sent: Sunday, November 8, 2015 2:14:40 PM
Subject: Trees on Lundy’s Landing Public Space

Dear Director Nuru –

I am writing to request an immediate meeting with you at Lundy’s Landing (DPW property at Lundy’s Lane and Esmeralda) with regard to our ongoing request for the city to maintain its trees on its land, and the patently false posting of signs designating that the owners have “requested to remove” the trees in 30 days from city land.

As I have indicated in my 311 request, we are asking the City of San Francisco to honor their responsibilities. As I indicated in my 311 response:

1) This is not our property. It is the City of San Francisco’s property. It is listed as a street and therefore the City of San Francisco’s obligation.
2) We did not plant these trees, put in stairs, etc. It belongs to the city.
3) We pay taxes for the care of public space. This is public space and therefore not our responsibility as homeowners.
4) Finally, and perhaps most insultingly, the city is asking us to request and pay for a permit to do work on THEIR land. We do not plan to request this permit.

I am also a city employee. A public school teacher that can barely afford to live here and pay taxes. I cannot afford to take on the city’s multi thousand dollar obligation.

I look forward to hearing from your office in the next 48 hours in order to arrange a meeting.


Laura Belfiglio Gold
Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8
Teacher, 7th grade, National Board Certified Teacher

PHOTO: The tree assigned to Neighbor Laura, by Neighbor Laura

Help a Bernal Artist Find the Art That Was Stolen With Her Car


You might remember Neighbor Carrie Ann Plank; she played a starring role last April’s post about Bernal Heights artists at the Hunter’s Point Shipyard. Well, Neighbor Carrie Ann’s car was stolen on Saturday night, and some of her art was in it.  Grrrrrrrr.

She tells Bernalwood:

My car was stolen from in front of the house last night over on Bronte. I’m an artist, and unfortunately, several pieces of valuable artwork were inside the car.

Car thieves probably are not interested in art pieces, so I’m hoping they were dumped somewhere nearby. Can we put out a call to my fellow Bernal dwellers in case anyone sees them? I’m desperately hoping my good neighbors have some information that may lead to recovery! Additionally, I’m the artist in residence currently at Bullseye Glass and all of my notes and sketches were in the trunk. Would love to get those back too!

Fingers crossed! Thank you for the assist in getting the word out.

Here are the details:
2007 graphite Prius with a carseat, and here’s a few images of the missing work:




Sunday: Join Your Neighbors for a Seasonal, Celebratory Bernal Hill Cleanup

For tens of thousands of years, the wizened druids who once populated our lands marked the arrival of the rains and the season of thanks by joining together on our hill to manicure the terrain and make it more beautiful.

This Sunday, Nov. 22, Neighbor Brian Cronin invites you to carry on this hallowed tradition by participating in a volunteer clean-up on Bernal Hill:

Hello neighbors,

The Bernal Hill Engreening Clean Up is this Sunday, November 22nd, from 9:30 am-noonish.

A group of your neighbors will be on the Hill this Sunday to spruce it up before the budding grass becomes too tall to see, and the rains become thick! Join forces with your lovely neighbors to give Bernal Hill some much needed TLC by cleaning up trash and debris. Weather should be bright and clear!

  • Meet at the bulletin boards on the SOUTH SIDE of Bernal Heights Park (closest intersection is Bernal Heights Blvd. and Anderson St.) or the NORTH SIDE of Bernal Heights Park at the Folsom gate, at 9:30am.
  • Bring all the stuff you need to be sun smart and comfortable: snacks, water, sunscreen, sunhat and gloves, and maybe a coffee cup as some neighbors have promised to bring coffee!
  • Bring shovels and brooms, if you have them, to push eroded material back off the walking path, and other tools such as pickers to get the job done more easily.
  • Wear boots if you plan on wading through the ivy below Bernal Heights Blvd. to dig out the booze warrens and summer hovels.
  • There will be some garbage bags, and nitrile gloves. But consider bringing your own bags and gloves (such as canvas work gloves) as we may not have enough.
  • All ages welcome. Parents, you’re responsible for monitoring your children and making sure they don’t stray onto steep slopes or grab broken glass.
  • When you’re done, bring your bags to the garbage bins near your original meeting places by the bulletin boards. DPW will do an extra garbage pickup the following day.

Thank you for helping keep Bernal Hill beautiful, and we look forward to seeing you there!

PHOTO: Bernal Hill, 2012 by the Bernalwood Air Force

Neighbor Gillian Wants to Make Thanksgiving Pie for You



Attention, lovers of pie! We have a friend in the pie business. Neighbor Gillian of Black Jet Baking Company would like to put a pie on your table during Thanksgiving. She says:

I’m Gillian Shaw, and I used to be the baker at The Liberty, where I made Thankgiving pies for many loyal and wonderful Bernal residents for many years.

I now own my own lil’ baking company, but I still live in the hood on Ellsworth. This year, I’ll be slinging pies at the Epicurean Trader on Cortland, offering pumpkin, apple crumb, and chocolate pecan piece for $24.99 per pie.

Epicurean Trader is now taking orders our pies, for pick up next Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25.

Just talk to Mat at Epicurean to place your pre-order.

PHOTOS: Pie and Neighbor Gillian, courtesy of Black Jet Baking

Friday: Buy Drinks at El Rio to Benefit Art for Bernal Kids


Neighbor Beth O’Connor brings word of a fundraiser for the Greet Art Workshop program that will happen tomorrow, Friday, November 20, at the fabulous El Rio (3158 Mission @Precita).

Neighbor Beth says:

Have you noticed the children’s artwork in window displays at Good Life Grocery?

That artwork was created by students right here in Bernal, at Paul Revere School. K and 1st grade students learned about the butterflies, bears, owls, trees and ferns of the redwood forest during this ten-week Pop-Up Habitat program. Each week they created a new redwood forest creature using previously discarded materials, such as old boxes, folders, coffee filters, corks and scrap paper. While discovering new ways to “up-cycle” these materials into art pieces, the students also learned how they can help protect this local ecosystem.

Green Art Workshop is homegrown right here in Bernal Heights, and founded in 2010. Paul Revere School was their first residency site back in 2011, and GAW continues to provide art programs each year. Elizabeth O’Connor (resident of Prospect Ave) and Susan Lynn Smith (resident of Bradford St) are Co-Founders/Co-Directors of GAW, and they are based right down the hill at everyone’s favorite creative reuse center, SCRAP. GAW heads up the classroom space and program development at SCRAP in addition to their mobile workshops.

Come meet Beth and Susan and the rest of the folks that make up the Green Art Workshop ecosystem for their Fall Happy Hour Fundraiser tomorrow November 20th from 4-6pm at El Rio. All bar proceeds will be donated to GAW, and GAW will be showcasing their Mix and Match Marionette making workshop.

GAWElRioFundraiser (1)-1

PHOTO: Top, scene from the windows at Good Life, courtesy of Green Arts Workshop