Side Dish

Bridge and Tunnel

I guess this old song is already played out, but I've still got my tuba out of its case: I had the misfortune of being out in the Mission on Saturday night (a rare occurrence, as you in the biz know -- a weekend night off!). Well, never again, my friends. The proliferation of cool places and hip concepts continues unchecked, of course. But who's going to these cutting-edge watering holes and dining rooms? Well, I saw one bachelor party, one paper-hatted birthday girl, a gang of liquor reps, and various hoochie mamas and muscle-teed dudes sporting even more hair gel than pickup lines. The bartenders were looking -- well, there's only one phrase that describes it: "over it." The guys behind the rails with the long faces were making lots of Cosmos, but they weren't making lots of friends. And that's why I don't go out on the weekends.

As the door revolves ... the Waterfront Restaurant has lost yet another manager. (Would that be the 26th or 27th this year?) The latest casualty was Allan Cohen, who came to the bayside dining room from Black Cat, another of Harry's favorites. Cohen lasted all of three weeks -- one for the record books.

I popped into the new Restaurant Marais downtown on Mission the other night, just for a quick look-see, and what I look-saw kept me there awhile: The room is simply gorgeous. The place hearkens back to 1930s Hollywood, all deco and glam (the old glam, not the new glam). The bar, my usual point of reference, is a comfortable lean-on affair -- not a stool in sight. Now if only the staff can get the lighting right. Hey, the contractor put in dimmers for a reason.

The battle for valet parking on Russian Hill continues. Seems that Sherman School Principal Pat Forte had good reason to cut off nighttime parking privileges: According to a source in Supervisor Gavin Newsom's office, to whom Forte has complained, the valet company that uses the schoolyard for parking cars has not lived up to its end of the lot maintenance deal -- plus the valets have been burning rubber in the playground and peeing on the asphalt. (Meanwhile, the restaurateurs are running a "walk, don't drive" special ....)

It was a big event -- the grand opening of Millennium, also known as the grand reopening of the Palladium. Sam Conti, the soda-sipping man who brought us Centerfolds and Coconut Grove, has reinvented this cavernous discotheque for the new century, adding much-needed sound insulation to protect poor Tosca next door, and, of course, state-of-the-art everything.

So back to the opening: All of the DJs and media and clubby kids are gathered, and they fire up the sound system. First dance, first song, first note -- and the whole thing blows. The Fire Department has to evacuate the club, and there's nothing that kills a party faster than that. Eventually they let everyone back in, and the party continues all night.

But Harry can't help but take pause. Was this just a drill for the Turn of the Century? The irony is thick enough to spread on a bagel. The new Y2K theme party -- it's all the rage.

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

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