Your Hot Summer in SF
San Francisco is throwing off her foggy cloak and welcoming summer in a blaze of new gastro eats, a craft beer boom, a science museum for adults and more. Jess Blumensheid checks out what’s new this season in the City by the Bay
1. SF Moma’s Satellite Series
As it embarks on a three-year renovation program, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is “thinking outside the building” in a series of satellite art exhibitions and installations. Catch a slew of free events from May 30 – June 2, including a summer rooftop party with live music, a 24-hour art variety show and all-night gallery access, and don’t miss Mark di Suvero’s red dust-colored painted steel sculptures set against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge.
2. Science for Adults
TheExploratorium opened its new 330,000-square-foot campus on Pier 15 last month — the culmination of a $300 million project that took nearly three years to complete. The new space features more than 600 exhibits, 200 of which are new, including glass-encased artificial tornadoes, a collaborative Pac-Man game and a new observatory at the pier’s end with knockout views. The first Thursday of the month is Exploratorium After Dark, an after-hours school special for adults featuring cocktails and curated art and science events.
3. Gastropubs in Oakland
On the ground floor of the former Oakland Tribune tower, Tribune Tavern is East Bay restaurateur Chris Pastena’s latest outpost in Oakland. Sidle up to the bar like a real muckraker with a stout-braised chuck roast and a pint of Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA. Or wait a month for Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout’s Oakland debut at Box & Bells. The menu will feature serious pub grub that’s not for the faint of heart, from fried chicken with raw-oyster mayonnaise and poutine with blood pudding gravy, to date cake with apple and vanilla Chantilly.
4. James Beard Hearts SF
The Bay Area scored big at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala this month, with the Nation’s Best New Restaurant accolade awarded to State Bird Provisions, and Rising Star Chef of the Year given to Mission Chinese’s Danny Bowein — a decision that will make perfect sense to anyone who’s tried his Kung Pao Pastrami with “explosive” chili and roasted peanut. Word on the street is that Bowein is returning to SF from NYC to open up a new Asian-inspired restaurant.
5. New Cocktails
The latest addition to the Mission’s artisanal food camp is Trick Dog, a dual-level spot for pickle boards, brawn tacos and creative cocktails like the rye-heavy Gypsy Tan. Over on Pier 5, Michael Chiarello’s new 48-seat Coqueta restaurant mixes creative Spanish tapas with a long list of cocktails made from housemade shrubs, tonics and sherry. Still need a nightcap? Head to SOMA’s newest late-night hangout, Southside Spirit House, for truffle popcorn and a Corpse Reviver #2 (gin, Lilet, lemon, Cointreau, absinthe rinse).
6. The Bridge Lights
Described as the “world’s largest LED light sculpture,” the 25,000 lights strewn across the 1.8-mile-long Bay Bridge will shine well into 2015 as part of artist Leo Villarreal’s exhibition marking the bridge’s 75th anniversary. Inspired by the city’s daily motion, the abstract light sequences ripple from one border into the next, without repeating a single pattern.
7. Bay Area Craft Beer Boom
The warm hops and malted barley wafting from Wine Country’s backyard highlight the Bay Area’s favorite new tipple — craft beer. Rob Bailard’s Oakland pub and brewery, Diving Dog Brewhouse, is scheduled to open later this summer with over 30 beers on tap and the chance to create your own, while Headlands Brewing Company is putting the finishing touches to three new varieties — a Belgian rye IPA, a West Coast Pale Ale and a hoppy pils — set to make their debut in June.
8. The New Vintage
Sartorially-minded San Franciscans equate street smarts to knowing how to tap into the city’s vintage vault. Stock up menswear accessories like leather-band watches and hammered metal belt buckles at Elder & Pine, the sibling store to Pretty Penny in the heart of North Oakland. Make a pitstop at Bay Area Vintage Antiques & Collectibles Fair at Cow Palace, where dealers sell one-of-a-kind goods, from Shawn-Harrison plastic box cameras from the ’50s to chrome-trimmed diner table sets.
9. SF Jazz Festival
After opening to much fanfare in March, the impressive SF Jazz Center will host the city’s 31st annual Jazz Festival next month. Opening highlights include Italian pianist Stefano Bollani and Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento, plus pianist Ahmad Jamal who will perform at the Davies Symphony Hall, just down the street.
10. Waterfront Concerts
San Francisco kicks off this year’s America’s Cup with the release of its new (and first) waterfront concert series on Piers 27 and 29. This summer’s lineup goes well into October, with performances by Brit pop crooner Sting, ’90s alt-rock darlings Weezer, ’70s heartthrob duo Heart and the coffee house-born singer-songwriter Jason Mraz.