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Paint Swatches & Carpet Samples
Ian Schrager has just gotten the go-ahead for a major remodel on downtown's Clift Hotel. The former Studio 54 czar added the site to his growing portfolio -- which includes New York's Royalton and L.A.'s Mondrian -- two years ago, but held off because there was an occupancy boom. His designer, Phillipe Starck, will be flying out to oversee the renovation.
Traditionalists can put down the picket signs: Schrager and Starck won't be turning the venerable Redwood Room into kindling anytime soon. Likewise, hipsters can return to their seats. I doubt very much that San Francisco has the star power to turn the Clift into the see-and-be-seen spot that many of Schrager's other properties have become. We're cool -- not glittery.
It's the Cheese
Macy's is looking to top off its $100 million renovation on Union
Square with a restaurant. The lead candidate as we go to press is ... the Cheesecake Factory. The concept (yes, it's a concept) has 27 outlets nationally and is looking at a huge expansion. The restaurant doesn't serve just cheesecake -- though it does offer 50 different types of the artery-clogging concoction -- and is pretty popular in Southern California. Figures.
I think it sounds kinda cute: A li'l man-made island with a li'l garden and a nice white lighthouse. You can play all day and then, when it's suppertime, go underwater and watch all the fishies swim by the portholes while you eat. Well, it's not the sort of project that Harry would sink his money into, but Forbes Kiddoo hopes it will float. In fact, the isle's builder is naming the place after himself -- Forbes Island -- and keeping fingers and toes crossed that he can make some cash off it. Of course, the folks at Pier 39 have never paid much heed to public opinion, and they certainly seem to be doing all right for themselves. So it only follows that they'd let Forbes park his barge out by their dock. The neighbors are calling it a monstrosity, but I for one want to be piped aboard.
A Many Splendored Thing
Johnny Love's opened huuuuge in Sacramento last week. The man himself was sitting on the bar pounding back shots just like old times, while the big-haired women and pumped-up men waited in line in the rain. Meanwhile, his flagship bar at Polk and Broadway is being remodeled.
Have you ever wondered where the term "86" came from? Well, indulge Harry in a little Grab Bagging. During Prohibition, speak-easy patrons normally drank high-octane moonshine -- often over 100 proof. When the supply ran out, which happened on a regular basis, bartenders would turn to the backup supply of less potent 86-proof liquor. So they'd "86 it." The term is used liberally in restaurants and bars, referring to running out of the nightly special, the ejection of a particularly sloppy barfly, and sometimes the firing of a staff member. "68" has no colorful story, it's simply the reverse of "86." ... Kelly Sherman is leaving the industry. This crack general manager worked at Chez Panisse and Campton Place before landing at Mecca. Hey, Kelly: Just 'cause you're leaving the biz doesn't mean I can't take you out to dinner. ... Two bartenders from the Black Cat have gone looking for better scratching posts. Willie Allen and Greg Svipenko will be pouring at the new Eastside West in Cow Hollow. Meow.
Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.
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