Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival—the longest-running film festival in the Americas—San Francisco Film Society feeds the cinematic passions of fans, filmmakers, and students, showcasing more than 300 films every year. The Film Enthusiast membership entitles movie mavens to a plethora of perks worth rubbing in the noses of adversarial cinephiles who won’t stop boasting about how much popcorn they can eat in one sitting. Members also get the skinny on San Francisco International Film Festival special events and screenings, running April 21-May 5.
Inside a frameless glass room with a glowing TV screen and a long table surrounded by a low wooden bench with padded seats, you know you're going to open your mouth. But you might not know if more things will be going in or coming out. The space is Sakesan Sushi & Bistro's private karaoke room, and there, large parties can belt their hearts out in between sipping a variety of sakes and munching on party trays loaded with sushi. The large glass wall separating this room from the dining room allows groups to have their privacy while still being able to get a passing waiter's attention by fogging up the glass and writing a message.
Smaller groups can perch at low tatami dining tables out in the dining room or head to the sleek white sushi bar. There, they can watch chefs tuck avocado slices into a seaweed wrap or assemble the Aloha roll, which is built with shrimp tempura, tuna, fresh mango, tobiko, and unagi sauce.
With an eclectic vibe that mishmashes everything from punk rock to early 20th-century lounges, 540 Club draws drinkers from all walks of life and social classes. The no-frills beer selection and fun weekly events also go a long way in luring folks inside. Here’s a few facts to keep in mind when visiting this off-beat, yet unpretentious watering hole.
Taking its name from a Sean O'Casey play, The Plough and the Stars wears its Hibernian heritage on its sleeve as it captivates visitors with an atmosphere of Irish whiskeys, heady beers, and live music. The owners and most of the staff hail from the Emerald Isle, charming their guests with authentic accents and a mastery of pouring Guinness the Irish way—easing the black ambrosia into a glass as they recite On Raglan Road while drinking a cup of water. Patrons sip perfectly mixed irish coffees as they watch Celtic set dancing on Thursdays or raise their glasses of draft Kilkenny and Smithwick's to live bluegrass, blues, and traditional Irish tunes almost every day of the week.
Taylor Maia grew up in a small town in central Brazil, but moved to San Francisco to follow his dream: opening a pizzeria. Together with Gina Gochez, he soon founded Pizza Orgasmica & Brewing Co, an enterprise that has since spread to five locations throughout the San Francisco area. At each, these childhood friends fuse their passion for pizza and the cuisine of their native land, blending Brazilian and Italian ingredients into colorful specialty pizzas with names such as Latin Lover, Girl from Ipanema, and Hot Mama. They also give diners creative free rein, helping them create their own using more than 50 toppings and the local library's thesaurus. At the San Rafael location, traditional Brazilian dishes such as stews and rice platters represent the flavors of the founders' childhood. Accompanying all of these dishes are Pizza Orgasmica & Brewing Co's 10 house-brewed beers, which range from a light kolsch to a hearty porter.