North Beach Rising - Neighborhood Rallies With Series Of Events

Spring Wine Walk, Doors Open Events Enliven North Beach

By Joe Bonadio

North Beach is a special neighborhood for many reasons. The events of recent weeks illustrate just one of them: Since the tragic fire of March 17th hollowed out the historic building at the 600 block of Union Street, North Beach has responded with grace, and with unity. 

In the days after the conflagration, as San Francisco was still reeling from the news, North Beach went to work. A few determined locals quickly organized a series of events to support the beleaguered neighborhood. SF Phoenix Week, organized by Nils Marthinsen of Belle Cora and Laura Thompson of Columbus Cafe, brought together a lineup of the neighborhood’s best bars, restaurants and retailers. Kicking off at North Star Cafe on April 15th, a serious raffle offered up uniquely-North-Beach prizes (to give you some idea, a VIP trip around the Bay on the SFPD Fire tugboat was among them). The week wrapped up with a raucous live-music finale at Tupelo the night of April 21st. They’ve raised thousands already with donations still coming in, with all proceeds going to the Tel Hi Neighborhood Center.

And that’s not all: We’ve also got the Doors Open project from Nick Floulis and Elmer Mejicanos, the team behind the Deck The Halls holiday pop-up (soon to become Lillie Coit’s). Now underway in the old Washbag space at 701 Powell Street, Doors Open has created a menu of dishes and cocktails inspired by The Salzburg, Ferry Plaza Seafood and Tuk Tuk Thai. The benefit is set to run until July, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to displaced employees of those three businesses, along with those of Coit Liquors and Rogue Ales. We salute these efforts, and encourage everyone to support them in any way they can. 

In other news, after falling prey to heavy rains earlier this month, the first Spring iteration of the North Beach Wine Walk is now set for next Friday, May 4th, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. That date also happens to be a First Friday, and all thirteen of the venues from December’s walk are coming back–so you can count on a very lively event. 

For the uninitiated, the Wine Walk pairs North Beach businesses (galleries, shops, bars and restaurants) with local wineries, who provide tastes of their wines for the roving participants at each stop. It's a legit event and a great night out, and the perfect way to meet a whole new set of neighbors while checking out some of North Beach’s best spots (many of which are normally closed during these hours). For tickets and more details, visit the North Beach Spring Wine Walk webpage

It’s also a big weekend for our friends at storied local bar Specs’, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Sunday. That’s quite a milestone, befitting of a proper blowout, and you’re guaranteed a choice assemblage of regulars and locals at this one. There are no hours posted, so feel free to contact them for more details.

Lastly, I’m extremely pleased to report that work has begun at 600 Union. While I’ve heard no timelines, there are teams of workers on the scene, scaffolds in place, and a fresh load of steel girders laid out on the pavement. It’s heartening to see, to say the least. Here’s to a speedy renovation, and the rapid return of our neighbor businesses to their homes.