By Molly Gore
By Molly Gore
By Pete Kane
By Lou Bustamante
By Pete Kane
By Ashley Goldsmith
By Pete Kane
By John Birdsall
There's always something in the air when you step into a hot new bar. It might be excitement, attitude, marijuana smoke, or all three, but at Valencia Street's The Phoenix, the most striking thing is good old-fashioned heat. The place is sweltering as a result of a boisterous, largely Anglo-Celtic crew that has packed this tony Irish pub to capacity on a Saturday night. The music is pumping, and the crowd spans all ages -- a skinny girl in sneakers, an older cat who looks a bit like Jerry Garcia, and a righteously intoxicated thirtysomething woman who, for a brief period, is unable to locate her jacket, her purse, or her shoes.
She's not the only one partying hard. "I've been drinking since 7 this morning," says Paul, a Brit from Birmingham. Paul asks, "Did you see the football match today? England beat Germany 5-1. Monumental!" He's here "because my mate runs the place, and he's got some good old acid house -- sometimes."
San Francisco, CA 94110
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Mission/ Bernal Heights
"Put that in," says Paul. "Say, "with an acid house tinge.'"
OK: There's a definite old-school, acid house tinge in the air courtesy of the ubiquitous DJ. It fades to a shadow out front, where the smoking scene includes Samantha, from Ireland, who's visiting the city on holiday. "We thought we'd check out this area," she says. "[The Mission] is the second hippest place in the States, apparently, according to the guidebook, but we can't work out what the first hippest place is. It doesn't say."
Ah, hipness -- that elusive and much-sought quality that seems to be spreading deeper into the 'hood. You'll find some at 21st Street's lounge-y new Monkey Club, where the air is cool (thanks to an open window) and the acid jazz is tinged with hints of flamenco. Fine young women in cleavage-revealing evening dresses cram into huge, comfy-looking booths. At the bar, Lia has passed on the extensive cocktail list in favor of a Jägermeister-Red Bull. A few seats down, Kathy is also drinking a Jäger-Red Bull, which may be the hot new drink. "It's so seductive," Kathy says. "It tastes like a drug, a little like cough syrup. Every time I take a sip, it's a different flavor. It's ... it's good. You really have to try one."
Fair enough. At the ultra-clubby Cloud 9 Motelat Seventh near Market -- where the line is daunting, the house music tinged with trance and big beat, and the cloud-white décor (including a revolving circular bed) surreal -- a Jägermeister-Red Bull on the rocks tastes a bit like ... a SweeTARTS candy? Regardless, it's surprisingly exquisite. Tonight Cloud 9 is home to dozens of card-carrying members of the international brother- and sisterhood of scenesters -- girls in cowboy hats and baby tees, boys in guayabera shirts, a long-haired guy in leopard-print pants, the young hipstress with the pink jumpsuit and wraparound rimless sunglasses. There's a VIP room, of course, in which we meet Billy, who tried his first Jäger-Red Bull last weekend ("Damn impressed"). Mona, a Brazilian, has never had one ("That doesn't sound like a good combination," she says, wincing), but Valentino has ("Not a fan") and so has Alex the bartender, who prefers her Jäger-Red Bulls in shot form ("More refreshing").
In other words, Fernet-Red Bull can't be far off.
But to return to Cloud 9 -- well, as Ray says, "It's, like, the hot new spot." Ray's looking ferocious with his tattooed arms and red muscle shirt, and has managed to bring three dates, all of whom bear a striking resemblance to Pamela Anderson and follow Ray wherever he goes.
How does he pull that off?
Says Ray, with all earnestness: "Because I'm a pimp."