At last! Here’s the Blog about the St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco in June 2014!
Throwback Thursday! My post from last week was the St. Paul’s Reunion Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco. I realized that I never finished the Blog about the weekend gathering in the city of old friends from the Renaissance Faire.
The reunion was a year ago. The pictures needed to be posted and the story need to be told. Actually there are a lot more pictures, some have been seen here on my Blog before, others were previously posted on facebook and Twitter, and still others will remain hidden from the eyes of both friends and strangers alike. There’s also more to the story, but those sordid details will have to remain private to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).
First, a little history:
Once upon a time, back in the 1980’s, there were a group of friends who all worked at the Renaissance Faire and Dickens’ Christmas Faire. They were street actors and members of the Guild of St. Paul’s (the thieves’ guild) and their close friends. Eventually, many would join the CREW and/or find other gigs at the Faire, but the bonds of friendship built during the “Crazy 80s” always remained strong. Over the years, some of the members moved away, disappeared or died. And so it was that a reunion was planned for June of 2014 in San Francisco.
Great weekend in San Francisco with old friends!
Highlights of the festivities included Lunch at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, Sushi Dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s, the “Pub Crawl” (Limo ride with stops at Smuggler’s Cove, Knuckles at the Wharf, the Pig & Whistle, and Tommy’s Joynt), Coffee at Sugar Cafe and a Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union.
Friends came from New York, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, northern and southern California to attend this long overdue reunion of the Guild of St. Paul’s from the Renaissance Faire!
I drove into the city of San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday morning, and after a stop downtown at the Civic Center, the California Statue and United Nations Plaza, I headed for Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to meet my old friends.
Read my previous Blog about the Simon Bolivar Statue>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1eH
Saturday at Fisherman’s Wharf!
After spending time walking around Grosvernor’s Square and the Civic Center, I drove down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Probably the most touristy thing you can do on a Saturday in San Francisco! There was a lot of traffic and a lot of tourists. Oh, and PARKING SUCKS!!!
RANT!!! PARKING SUCKS! TRAFFIC SUCKS! Let me repeat: PARKING SUCKS!
There is a parking structure at Pier 39 but it costs a lot to park! They do have discounts and “first hour free” type offers on certain days. But, IT WILL TAKE YOU 30 MINUTES TO PARK and at least 30 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE PARKING STRUCTURE….SO DON’T DO IT! There is metered parking nearby and it costs a lot too. (~$4-8 per hour). Park for free or for a reasonable rate far away and then take the trolley, bus or a shuttle.
p.s. There are huge crowds on weekends, visit midweek for a less crowded experience.
NOTE: Driving in San Francisco has gotten impossible! What’s with all the traffic and construction? People just stop and double park in lanes of traffic with cars behind them. Trucks double park and triple park to make deliveries. Pedestrians walk right in front of oncoming traffic and take their time crossing in front of cars. $10 per hour to park at meter? $30+ to park overnight? Just a driving nightmare, I don’t recommend it.
Meet at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf
After the parking experience, I walked down to Pier 39. The views of the city and the bay from the parking structure bridge were wonderful in all directions!
We met on Pier 39, and after 20+ years, at first, even in the “age of facebook”, it was a shock to see young friends grown old, in person.
Late Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. at Pier 39
We decided to get drinks at Bubba Gump’s, and after grabbing a couple tables in the bar, and avoiding the line of waiting tourists, Anchor Steam Beer and Maker’s Mark shots were consumed to begin the party! Soon, we were joined by more old friends, food and more drinks were ordered and consumed, friendships were renewed, and we made a few new friends with the restaurant’s staff.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Pier 39 – 39 Pier, San Francisco CA 94124 415-781-4867
We walked back to the parking structure and found the car. As previously mentioned, it took forever to get out of the lot and it was really expensive to park for a short time! It is definitely another example of the City of San Francisco “fleecing the tourist” at every opportunity. We spent a few hundred dollars on lunch, drinks and souvenirs and then got taxed again on the way out!
As I mentioned previously, driving in the city is impossible, even for a native of Los Angeles who has driven in the worst traffic imaginable. It took a really long time just to make a right turn out of Fisherman’s Wharf. There is no pedestrian or traffic control and there are just too many people and cars on a Saturday afternoon. I almost lost my mind trying to get to the hotel and then found a parking lot down the street, around the corner and down an alley near the hotel. After negotiating the “cash” rate with the attendant ($30 overnight – THAT’S CHEAP in SF!), I grabbed my bag and walked to the Hotel Beresford on Sutter, wondering if my car would still be there tomorrow.
My friend made the reservations and I was invited to share the room, and to be honest I really had no previous experience or knowledge about the hotel.
We checked in, went up to the room, rested a little and then got ready for dinner at Yoshi’s and the “Pub Crawl” to follow. Requested (optional) dinner attire: wear a Hawaiian shirt!
Hotel Beresford – 635 Sutter St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-673-9900
We called for a cab and taxied over to the restaurant, another experience in San Francisco that’s different from anywhere else. You just put your life in someone else’s hands and hope you arrive at your destination.
As scheduled, the gang regrouped at Yoshi’s for dinner, and we were joined by more friends who hadn’t made it to the gathering at Pier 39. Dinner, drinks and dessert were enjoyed and a very good time was had by all.
Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba
Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba
Yoshi’s – 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115
NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED, Yoshi’s in Oakland is still open.
Limo and “Pub Crawl” – Saturday Night in San Francisco!
After dinner, there was a shiny stretch Limousine waiting for us outside the restaurant.
It was “close quarters” inside the limo but we all fit. The plan for the “Pub Crawl” was not mine. I was just along for the ride and it was great fun! The limo was fully stocked and had music and LED lights. It was like riding through the streets of San Francisco in a VIP booth filled with friends with bottle service at a trendy nightclub.
Our first stop was the world famous Smuggler’s Cove! One of the best bars in America, or so they say, I couldn’t tell you because it’s a tiny 3 level Tiki bar that packs them in like sardines. It was still very early and light outside, but the place was absolutely filled with too many humans…and then they let all of us in too. We made our way to the bar, but a few of us just couldn’t hang with the lack of seating (due to injuries and old age) and a lack of personal space.
Smuggler’s Cove – 650 Gough St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-869-1900
Another limo ride and we reached our second stop Knuckles at the Wharf, at the Hyatt. I’m told it’s a great sports bar, but it was pretty empty on Saturday night. We sat at a long table in the “dining area” and ordered drinks from the waiter. It was really nice to be able to talk with my old friends and catch up on the past 20 years (a little).
Knuckles at the Wharf – 555 North Point St, San Francisco CA 94133 415-486-4340
After a round (or two) of cocktails, and some good fun, we called for the limo. We all agreed that Knuckles was very nice, but too nice for our purposes and so we instructed our Driver to take us to our next stop, the Pig & Whistle!
The Pig & Whistle is a dark place with an English Pub theme and it was a perfect place for our third stop. We took command of a few tables and ordered the next round of drinks from our hippie waiter. We took a few group pictures and got a little bit “wild”. We were also forced to remind one of our friends PLEASE NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!
The Pig & Whistle – 2801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94118 415-885-4779
After more drinks and fun, around midnight we all climbed back in the limo and rode to our next stop. By this time, it seemed like we had been driving in circles all over the city and it turns out we had!
After dinner, drinks, three stops, and another limo ride we arrived at our fourth stop, Tommy’s Joynt! Late night-early morning drinks and food were on the menu. There’s a full bar on one side and an order & pickup restaurant on the other side of the main room. It’s pretty well known for it’s sandwiches and other tasty food and for being open very late.
We got our food and took over a few tables in the upstairs dining area. I had a meaty pastrami sandwich, which I remember was really good. We had some more fun and made a little trouble, but not so much as you’d notice…because we’ve all gotten old and mellow.
After a leisurely meal and some serious (drunk) conversation, we called for the limo and took a few more group pictures before stumbling back in to our rolling disco lounge.
Tommy’s Joynt – 1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94109 415-775-4216
Return to the Hotel Beresford
We dropped almost everyone off at their different hotels on the way back to the Hotel Beresford. We enjoyed the amenities and the space inside the limo as our friends departed along the way. I’m not sure exactly what time the rest of us finally got back to the hotel, but there was a lot of noise on the street from the crowd leaving the club and pub up the block. We paid and tipped our driver (who did a really great job running us all over the city on a Saturday night), collected our belongings and stumbled upstairs to our rooms. The street noise was clearly audible in our hotel room, but it didn’t matter.
And so a great time was had by all on our San Francisco Saturday night adventure. Everyone got home safe and just a little worse for wear. Good food was eaten and many drinks were imbibed. Our 30+ year friendship was renewed in person and there was much shared fun and mischief throughout the evening.
“May the Four Winds Blow Them Safely Home”
NOTE: Missing friends were mentioned and remembered. Some are MIA, some were not able to make the reunion, and unfortunately others have passed on. The recent loss of a couple of our friends is one of the reasons this party was planned. Throughout the night, there were bittersweet moments as we toasted absent friends and friends we’ve lost.
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! (the morning after)
Sunday morning I woke up too early! We packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel. I walked my bag back to my car, which was where I parked two blocks away at Cosmo and Ophir. I could have valet parked at the hotel for $27, but then you don’t know where they put your car. Our friends Erik and Sharon were late to brunch because they had to file a police report…the valet at a different hotel allegedly stole Erik’s Bluetooth from the car when he parked it.
Urban Blight! In the space of two blocks, I passed four or five seriously “homeless” people. Desperate, dirty, drug addicted and mentally damaged humans who now claim a piece of sidewalk as home. The walls along the major streets as well as the alleys were covered in graffiti and they were just dirty and littered with trash. It made me sad.
Then we met up for Coffee and Espresso at Sugar Cafe, just up the street from the hotel, before getting a couple taxis to drive us to brunch.
Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s
Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco!
At 11:40am we all taxied over to Perry’s on Union for our Brunch reservation at noon.
Jones, Party of 10! We were taken to the back room and seated without waiting again. I brought a bottle of champagne to the reunion, and since we didn’t drink it in the limousine the night before, we brought it with us to the restaurant. There’s was a $15 corkage fee, and we spent another $12 on fresh squeezed orange juice in little teapots, so we all had MIMOSAS with brunch!
On The Menu: I had eggs benedict with their special bacon instead of ham/canadian bacon and shared a fruit plate with a couple friends. My brunch included potatos and I also ate one of my friend’s side of toast with butter and jam because they didn’t want it.
Perry’s Restaurant – 1944 Union St, San Francisco CA 94123 415-922-9022
After Brunch we taxied back to the Hotel, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I walked over to The Pub on Sutter on the corner, had a beer and waited for the World Cup game to start.
After the game I jumped in the car, made my way through traffic and drove out of the city and back south towards San Jose.
All (well, most) photos copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel.
Our Reunion Dinner at Yoshi’s! READ THE BLOG>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba (NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED)
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