Wednesday: Bernal Heights History Show and Tell

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Your time-sleuthing neighbors from the Bernal Heights History Project are having an open-mic night for history geeks at the Bernal library tomorrow night, and you should geek-out with them:

Our regular monthly show-and-tell meeting is on Wednesday, April 15, at 7 p.m., downstairs in the Bernal library meeting room. Bring your photos and stories to share.

We’re hoping to have a mini-slideshow of our latest finds, including details on the artist who painted the mural at the Cherokee bar (now The Lucky Horseshoe) and some more Bernal Mystery Project pictures via the SFMTA Photography Department and Archive. If you have pics you’d like us to include and talk about, email them to us at info@bernalhistoryproject.org.

PHOTO: Folsom at Precita, 1943, via SFMTA

After 30+ Years, Departing Bernal Neighbor Breaks Up with San Francisco

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Neighbor David lives on Coleridge, but he won’t be there much longer. He’s has lived in San Francisco since the 1970s, yet soon Neighbor David moving to Japan. It will be a big change, he says, but after all these many years it also feels like it’s time. To explain why, Neighbor David recently wrote a “break-up letter to San Francisco,” and we invited him to share it here with Bernalwood:

Dear San Francisco,

I am so breaking up with you.

When I first met you it was love at first sight. I have been with you longer than anyone I’ve ever known. You loved live music, funky art, and sideways culture. You loved to have drinks late at night. You loved late night gallery openings and performance art. You loved to play music. Funky ass music. You used to be a blues lady that was bluer than the sky right before dawn after a foggy night. “Only in San Francisco’ used to mean a black Jewish leather transvestite doing the funky chicken to Sylvester, with a straight guy wearing a jock strap at the Stud on a Friday night.

We would go out for cheap eats at Sparky’s or the Grubsteak after the bars closed. We would walk home because you couldn’t find your late night transfer and the bus would take forever anyway. We could go places. We could hang out. The Fab Mab, Nightbreak, I beam, All night dancing at the Trocadero or the deaf club (181 Club), Oasis, The farm, Wolfgangs, The Stone, Chi Chi, Nickie’s BBQ, Kennel Club, Covered wagon, Blue Lamp, Paradise. Most of them put to sleep.

We both know where you are now. As the drought tightens its grip, the water (coughcough housing) shortage serves as a metaphor for the grassroots cultural and artistic drought. Authorities give it a year before there is no more water. I am afraid that the artistic scene is pretty much parched. Unless of course you have 65 million dollars for a “members only” jazz venue. “Only in San Francisco” now means valet parking for potential buyers of the house next door. Clubs closed because it was noisy at night. Business after business closed down by jacked up rents and greed. A down payment was made for cultural indifference and it’s about paid off. Diversity diversified and moved to the east bay . Or further east. People of color are being squeezed out. Imagine the Bayview and 3rd Street as a boutique destination. Soon the bay area will be called LANO. LA of the north. The cultural landscape has changed so that there really is no place here for the likes of me. I’m not sure if I ever fit in here but for a while that was the beauty of it.. I can’t watch the SF version of the zombie techster apocalypse any longer. It’s too painful. (There is no hip in hipster)

By the way, I got a call from an old friend the other day. Her name is Japan. She said she may still have a thing for me and asked me to move in. So I am going. I will miss Bernal Heights something fierce and the friends I have made here over the years. Alas, It is time. Don’t wait up for me. I’ll leave the key under the mat. See you around.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Coming Soon: A New Golden Age for Beer in Bernal Heights

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Though you’d hardly know it from walking down the street right now, Bernal Heights is poised to enter a new Golden Age of high-quality beer. That’s right: craft beer, in many varieties, and great abundance… all coming to Bernal, and very soon.

Bernal neighbor Lessley Anderson of Baja Cortlandia is an ace reporter and ardent beer lover, and she files this exclusive report:

Once upon a time, Bernal had it’s own local beer at 3314 Army/Cesar Chavez, called North Star Brewing Company. (You can even see it in this photo.) But that was pre-prohibition, when San Francisco had almost 100 small breweries, and almost every neighborhood had at least one place pumping out fresh beer for the locals.

Joyfully, it appears we’re heading back to those days. According to SF Brewer’s Guild stats, the number of breweries is set to double in San Francisco next year, and cool beer bars are opening up faster than strip-mall cupcake concept stores in 2003. Beer is so hot right now, and the good news for Bernal beer lovers is that one of the hottest hotspots in this hot trendy trend, is… you guessed it, glamorous Bernal Heights.

In the coming months, three new and ambitious beer-focused establishments will open on Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street. Plus, word on the street is that still more beer projects are in development. Taken together, Bernal Heights is poised to blow up into a full-on craft beer destination. But you have questions, and I’ve tracked down lots of answers, so here are the details on what coming:

Name: Bel
Where: 3215 Mission (in the former Locavore space)
When: Plans to open by end of this month
What: This will be Belgian beer bar and bistro from Jennifer Garris and Richard Rosen, of Pi Bar fame, with 12 tap handles. Four of those taps will be dedicated to imported Belgian ales. The others will rotate, including local versions of Belgian-style styles. Bel will also be a full-on restaurant, serving Belgian dishes like moules frites (YES!) , steak frites, and fish waterzooi (which is a stew with an intriguing name).
Fancy/Kid-Friendly: More schwank than Pi Bar, but not fancy. And yes, bring the kids.
Fun Fact: The bar has purchased a replica of Manneken Pis, that famous statue of the little boy peeing into the fountain in Brussels. They’ve also commissioned a seamstress from the SF Opera to make him special outfits for important days, such as Pride, or Elvis’ birthday.

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Name: Old Bus Tavern
Where: 3193 Mission (in the former El Patio space)
When: Slated to open by early June
What: As Bernalwood previously reported, this will be a brewpub and chili-focused restaurant with a separate-but-related VW party bus project. That’s a lot to take-in… so here’s the breakdown: First, these guys will make their own beer (on a small, 3.5 bbl system, for all you beer-geeks out there). They will produce a range of styles, but their flagship beer will be a lemon-basil Saison. They’ll also serve a full menu of “California elevated bar food” that will highlight different chilies, and they’ll have cocktails. Lastly, as mentioned, they’re crowdfunding the purchase and transformation of a vintage Volkswagen bus into a beer/food truck/party mobile.
Fancy/Kid-Friendly: Won’t be fancy, but may be a little hipstery. And yes, kid-tolerant.
Fun Fact: Inspiration for the menu came from an epic roadtrip the partners took through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, where they sampled regional chilis.

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Name: Old Devil Moon
Where: 3472 Mission (in the current La Terrazza space)
When: Hopes to open this fall
What: After La Terrazzo passes the torch, Old Devil Moon will be a bar, first, and foremost. Yet it will also have a limited menu on the side. (A great burger, and some Southern food they say.) They’re not making their own beer, but rather serving other people’s, with 20 rotating taps and a cask ale system, plus cocktails and a deep-dive into whiskeys. Founder Chris Cohen says he wants this place to rival the “best beer bars in the city.” He certainly knows what he’s talking about; Cohen founded the San Francisco Homewbrewers Guild and literally wrote the book on how to become a certified cicerone (which is like being a sommelier for beer). He wants it to be a cozy neighborhood spot with lots of wood and warm colors. They will also serve brunch.
Fancy/Kid-Friendly: Not fancy, and technically, yes, kids allowed. But this will really be more of a bar, FWIW.
Fun Fact: The name comes from an old jazz standard, originally from the musical Finian’s Rainbow. Cohen liked the “dark-yet-comfortable” vibe it conjured up.

BONUS! More more more! Fresh from the rumor mill!! 

Name: Hop Oast
Where: 2887 Bryant (at Cesar Chavez, in the former D&J Furniture store)
What: The ABC license says it’s going to be a “small beer manufacturer” and “Pub and Brewery.” And right now, the windows are covered up with recycled bags of beer-making malt. Lisa Marie Delgadillo, owner of the Lucky Horseshoe Tavern on Cortland, is one of the masterminds behind the project, but she says it’s too premature to discuss: “It would be like someone taking a home pregnancy test, then sending out baby shower invitations for a date nine months out,” she explains.

Tonight: A Reception for Local Artists at Secession

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Eden Stein from the freshly reincarnated Secession Art & Design studio is having an artist reception tonight, and you are so invited:

Please join us on Friday, April 10, 6:30 – 9:30 pm to celebrate our brand new show featuring Jon Fischer and Rob Sakovich. Both artists draw from their own experience to identify moments that made them who they are and the parallel between personal path and urban change.

Secession, now with roots at 3235 Mission, is finding its balance and growing. Thank you for being our biggest supporters. Thank you spring for the longer days, beautiful light that fills the new gallery, and hopefulness. It’s all a perfect combination for an amazing night to experience local art, shop, and be part of our community.

IMAGES: Top, a view of 29th Street looking east toward Mission by Rob Sakovich. Below, From the Hill by Jon Fischer.

Bernal Filmmaker Creating Documentary About San Bruno Mountain’s Butterflies

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Neighbor Gail Mallimson is a filmmaker who lives on Moultrie. She’s working on a film about San Bruno Mountain — that very tall thing covered in rocks and grass and butterflies and radio antennas (that’s not Bernal Hill) you pass on your way to the airport. San Bruno Mountain is actually home to some very unique butterflies, and Neighbor Gail’s film documents the effort to save them from extinction. From her media release:

San Francisco documentary filmmaker Gail Mallimson’s newest film, The Edge of the Wild will be released this Spring, and premiere at the San Francisco Green Film Festival (dates to be announced). A Bernal Heights resident, Mallimson has set her sights on a local issue – the 30-year land-use battle over endangered butterflies on San Bruno Mountain. The film is a labor of love for this accomplished filmmaker who has worked in the past on documentaries about diverse subjects like Sudanese refugees, homophobia in womens’ college basketball, the state of mental healthcare, and mindfulness in an underprivileged middle school.

Mallimson filmed The Edge of the Wild over eight years, climbing San Bruno Mountain with her camera to capture this beautiful wilderness that is one mile south of San Francisco, and completely surrounded by urbanization. The film is told through the eyes of Michele Salmon, who has lived her whole life in the small town of Brisbane, which is tucked into a canyon on the mountain. In the 1960’s, Michele’s family played a major role in foiling development plans to scrape off the top of the mountain for a new city. The Edge of the Wild follows Michele as she picks up where her parents left off – battling to uphold the Endangered Species Act and reverse a national policy that allows landowners to kill endangered butterflies. The story is a touching portrayal of small-town democracy and of residents’ emotional bonds to a local butterfly and wilderness that are at risk of disappearing forever.

Mallimson has a few more hoops to jump through before The Edge of the Wild is completely done, and she has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to pay for finishing costs of the film.

The Edge of the Wild will screen at the San Francisco Green Film Festival in early June (date to be announced soon) and will be shown throughout the country as part of an outreach campaign to defend the Endangered Species Act against attack in Congress.

Here’s the trailer:

Ichi Kakiya Is Now Open and Now Oysterlicious

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It finally happened! Bernal neighbors Tim and Erin Archuleta, the glamorous celebrity duo who created the intergalactically famous Ichi Sushi+Ni Bar, have officially opened their new oyster bar. It’s called Ichi Kakiya, and you’ll find it in their ancestral storefront at 3369 Mission, across the street from Safeway in Bernal’s burgeoning NanoTokyo district.

If you remember the ancestral Ichi storefront, you’ll recall that was a small space. It remains so to this day, with seating for just 21 cozy Ichinauts inside. The interior has received a nice freshening up, however, along with some sexy new wall murals.

But why oysters? Inside Scoop tells a cute part of the tale:

As Jonathan Kauffman reported last fall, [… ] Erin Archuleta and her husband had a very sweet and romantic reason for turning the original restaurant space into an oyster shop: They fell in love eating oysters.

When Tim was a sushi chef at Tokyo Go-Go, he convinced his new girlfriend, who was born in Michigan, to try oysters: First tiny kumamotos, then larger varieties, then trips to local oyster bars. “On Sundays we would go have glasses of champagne and oysters, and that was our courtship,” she says.

You can peruse Ichi Kakiya’s full menu here. Meanwhile, the Bernalwood Action News Cuisine Team’s undercover reporting has revealed that the oysters are highly delicious.

Indeed, your Bernalwood editor managed to infiltrate an exclusive, celebrity-filled pre-opening party at Ichi Kakiya last week by by cleverly disguising myself as (… wait for it…) the editor of “a fashion-obsessed Bernal Heights news magazine.” This ruse worked like a charm, and before long Bernalwood was sampling more than a few of Ichi Kakiya’s delicious ponzu-dressed oysters while sipping a very large glass of very delicious cold sake. #winning!

Chef Tim was in fine spirits (as you might have noticed in the image above), and it was great to see him behind the counter again in Ichi’s ancestral restaurant space. Also, we can confirm that he has mad oyster-shucking skillz.

Ichi Kakiya is highly recommended if you are bivalve-inclined, and big congrats and best wishes to Chef Tim and Neighbor Erin.

PHOTOS: Exterior and Chef Tim by Telstar Logistics. Oysters by Anna Hale courtesy of Ichi Kakiya

Which of These Murals Should Help Visitors Discover Bernal’s Lost Tribe of College Hill?

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The  Bernalese peoples from the Lost Tribe of College Hill hope to be less lost. Or, more found. Or, at the very least, clearly branded.

This desire is now being expressed in the form of a mural the College Hill Neighborhood Association has commissioned with artist Josh Talbott. The mural will be installed on a cinderblock shed at 3600 Mission Street (at Appleton), and it will act as a visual point-of-entry for southbound traffic. The College Hill News says:

All three of Josh’s designs are meant to make you take notice of our corner of South Bernal—the Lost Tribe of College Hill is ready to be found. And our new College Hill logo—with wayfinding to the Bernal Cut Path—will be incorporated into the winning design.

Want to see Josh’s designs up close? Please join the College Hill Neighborhood Association at the Glen Park Library on Sunday, April 26th, at 4 p.m. to see his artistic inspiration and to log your vote in person.

“Discovery” is the name of the proposed design shown above.

Below, we see two other alternatives, “For Love” and “The Arrow of Time,” respectively:

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Which is the most fabulous? Which will do the most to put our College Hill neighbors on the map? All Bernalese are invited to learn more about the proposed designs and vote for your favorite online by April 30.

PHOTOS: by  Josh Talbott