photo credit: a_sorense
Your Saturday Night Plan: Grand Budapest Hotel in Washington Square Park, dusk.
There's something so charming, so romantic about a movie screening in the park. You cozy up with your friends on a blanket, drink wine, and take in some quality cinematic brilliance (or, gloriously trashy flicks from the '90s, which is maybe even better. Yeah, no, it's always better). Summer film nights in San Francisco, which are inevitably freezing cold, tend to result in you and said friends huddling under your now-filthy park blanket and pulling on a flask for warmth. But whatever. New York, you can keep your warm summer nights. We'll be laughing come January (and really, why don't we just plan these film nights to happen in October? We all know the drill, guys).
This Saturday night, Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel is screening in Washington Square Park. If you're someone who hates the picturesque world of Anderson, and hates North Beach even more, stop reading now. If you're me, this is a pretty killer combination — assuming you know where to stock up on tasty goods before hand, and drink to warmth after. North Beach on a Saturday night is no joke, after all — you don't want to stumble aimlessly down Grant amidst the hoards of trolling frat boys looking for their next Jager fix. But with a wide variety of excellent eating and drinking right around Washington Square, you don't have to go far to do this neighborhood justice. Here's how to do it right:
Pre-Movie Drink: Church Key
photo credit: drewcipher
We'll take any opportunity to call attention to this perfectly delightful little neighborhood beer bar, where the draft list changes often, the bottle list is extensive, and more often than not, there's metal on the loudspeakers. Get a nice base for your movie watching with a tasty local sour or a dangerously high-proof barley wine.
1402 Grant Avenue
Further down Grant you'll find Little Vine, a charming outpost for fresh bread, fantastic local cheese and meats, and all other sorts of tasty goodies ideal for a park picnic. Snag one of their daily sandwiches if they still have them, otherwise, pick your pleasure from a spread of cheeses, jams, and more. They have a nice wine selection for your classy park-drinking pleasure, too. Important: they're only open until 7 p.m., so plan accordingly.
1541 Grant Avenue
Some neighborhoods luck out when it comes to corner stores, and Coit is a shockingly legitimate destination for beer purchasing. You'll find cases of the cheap stuff if that's your jam, but we appreciate their wide selection of large-format bottles, featuring local beers and craft brews from around the country, too. Go ahead and grab a bag of chips, too — are Wes Anderson movies always this long or is the fog just bearing down particularly hard right now?
585 Columbus Avenue
Post-Movie (First) Dinner: Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe
photo credit: brennan.browne
After braving frigid temperatures (okay, low 60s), warm up with a hot and melty meatball sandwich at Mario's. The corner cafe is great at all hours, but feels like a particularly special respite from North Beach's Saturday night crowds. Get a toasted focaccia sandwich (served on stupid-good Liguria focaccia, baked right across the park) and a carafe of the house red. You could stay until they close at 11 p.m. and happily call it a night, or...
566 Columbus Avenue
Head across the square to the spacious bar at Park Tavern (open 'til 12:30) for a stiff drink, some glamorous people watching, and yeah, probably some french fries (topped with truffles, caviar, and a soft-cooked egg, if you're so inclined) and bacon-studded deviled eggs, too. We're currently obsessed with the Cruel Summer cocktail (Bulleit bourbon, blackberry maple, lemon) — don't be surprised if one of those turns into three, and your snack order ends up including a Marlowe burger.
1652 Stockton Street
I mean, you are in North Beach, and it is a Saturday night. Sh*t happens, and I'm not one to judge. Soak up your booze-induced wrongs with a good and greasy slice of Golden Boy — plus it will make fighting the last-call crowd of party-goers for a cab much less painful. Actually, get two. A cold one of these bad boys will make an excellent, and curative breakfast tomorrow morning.
542 Green Street