Mondays are the real sacred days of the week. Your friends who work in the service industry know this to be true, as their only competition for cafe and laundromat space remains moms, millionaires, and the work-at-home. And Monday nights are even better; rare is the bar that is overfilled and noisy, and the bridge and tunnel set that revels in North Beach's naked lady neon is notably absent.

Tourists, of course, are a constant, especially given that it's July, but use this to your advantage and do what the tourists do.

Every Monday night at 7pm, SF City Guides is hosting a North Beach by Night Tour. You may be surprised to discover a number of locals on the tour, history-crazed lovers of the gaudy promenade looking to bone up on neighborhood particulars.

The tour begins at the unparalleled Spec's, on Columbus just south of Broadway, and promises seamy, sordid stories, not to mention lesser-told Beat tales. Although technically provided free of charge, it's de rigueur to tip, if not take your guide out for a drink. Or if you return to Spec's, a dinner of cheese and crackers.

North Beach by Night, 7PM Mondays
(not offered November through April)
Meet in front of Specs Cafe, 12 Saroyan Place, just off Columbus, south of Broadway and next to Tosca Cafe.
[SF City Guides]