Owner Harpreet “Happy” Singh—also known as “The Beer Baron”—oversees the thirsty work at Bottles as well as the Livermore Saloon and Perry’s Liquor and Craft Beer, in a quest to educate patrons about high-quality craft brews and amass a wealth of honorary titles and nicknames. Happy’s extensive knowledge, coupled with beer manager Diego Toscano’s diverse palate, ensures Bottles’ shelves are stocked with a plethora of rare and artisanal beverages, and any request for favored drinks are diligently ordered. Session ales from Shmaltz mingle peacefully with bourbon-barrel-aged stouts from North Coast Brewing Co. or tasty concoctions from Dogfish Head and The Bruery. Wines from Layer Cake and Paradise Ridge complement meals and soirees with fruity, complex flavor, and a stash of potent tequilas, such as Don Julio Real, or smoky scotches from Balvenie and Johnnie Walker enliven parties.
The Pedaler Bike Shop spruces up street steeds and their doting owners with an enormous cache of cycle-centric equipment, apparel, and accessories. Though the store prides itself on its expertise regarding road and mountain bikes, it supplies tubes, tires, wheels, seats, and footy-pajamas for two-wheelers of every breed. Outfit rigs with the 2010 Planet Bike Superflash/Blaze combo set ($59.99), which employs forward- and backward-beaming, superbright LEDs to, increase the bike's visibility for up to one mile. The 2011 Specialized Henge expert saddle ($99.99) coddles nether regions with a sleek shape and sturdy-yet-cozy Micromatrix top, and the 2010 Bell Faction helmet ($40) provides the resilience and protection of Sylvester Stallone's biceps. An array of clothing and shoes is also available, ensuring rider and ride are outfitted to a tarmac-pounding tee.
Far more than an emporium of colorful textile patterns, Urban Burp holds over 5 tons of vintage fabric dating back to the early 20th century, collecting original vintage threads that weave memory and nostalgia into their very fabric. The studio takes its unusual name from the intense experience of recognition that seeing and touching a piece of familiar pattern can bring. "All that emotion has been shoved down into the lower chakras and all of a sudden it takes one piece of fabric to bring you back to that place," owner Electra Skilandat told The San Francisco Chronicle. She continues to elicit that response with bolts of cloth decorated with the floral designs and abstract art of the 1920s, or the bold color mixtures and fractal patterns that were popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Skilandat traces her love affair with textile design back to her childhood in Boston, where her mother lovingly hand-crafted all of her clothes for school and play. Over the years, Electra amassed a collection of over 1,000 bolts of fabric and experience in interior decor. After the death of her only son, she rediscovered her creative instincts, opening the fabric shop with upholstery and drapery services that would precede Urban Burp's stunning display of warp and weft. As guests peruse the studio's ample supply of original vintage pictorial and patterned designs, sewing patterns, and notions, Skilandat unfurls her decades of wisdom during interior decor consultations.
While other graduate students buried their noses in musty library books, Laura Hanson and Diana Benner muddied their knees in the wetlands and eelgrass habitats around San Francisco. Their research led to their respective degrees—MS in ecology and systematics, MS in environmental science—as well as a deep understanding of the inner workings of California’s ecological systems. The pair opened The Watershed Nursery with the aim of helping those ecosystems flourish.
Together with a team of botanical specialists, Laura and Diana oversee habitat restoration and enhancement projects. They specialize in growing native and site-specific California plants, as well as drought-tolerant species that thrive on the sustenance found in sunlight and loving glances. In addition to ready-to-plant items, the nursery can grow site-specific plants for a difficult area or create custom seed selections, among other services.
To further The Watershed Nursery’s mission of “habitat enhancement,” team members participate in environmentally responsible projects within the community, such as the restoration of Breuner Marsh and mitigation projects in Sycamore Grove and Portola Park. Staff members also aid the Earth in everyday practices, as they collect used plant containers from customers for additional uses and second careers as eco-friendly badminton birdies.