By Ian S. Port
By Cory Sklar
By Godofredo Vasquez
By Gil Riego Jr.
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Christopher Victorio
By Ian S. Port
There is a certain camaraderie that sets in when you are stuck on the wrong floor of a hotel with strangers. The building is holding you captive, but you band together with the common goal of finding the fire stairs.
345 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Region: North Beach/ Chinatown
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I felt some guilt crossing the threshold of this hotel, because of all the union activity and strikes I have witnessed here over the years. I would sit across the street at Starbucks, sipping my $6 Romano Frappe Horribilis and lamenting the plight of the working man on many an occasion. Solidarno!
I have no idea what is going on with the labor force at the Hyatt now, and I took that ignorance as an invitation to walk on in.
The bar is on the second floor, I think (still not sure). The lobby has a very high ceiling and the lounge is on a loft of sorts over the reception desk. Easy enough. If you can see a place, you can get to it, right?
I headed for the elevators. There were at least eight of them, but only two seemed to be working, so there were about 50 people waiting to go up. I didn't see any stairs so I decided to wait. After about 35 seconds this got old, so we all began to grouse and moan, throwing our heads back in frustration and looking anxiously at the reception desk, because surely the people there knew what a fucking inconvenience this whole thing was.
A gaggle of babes came out of the elevator. One girl was wearing a men's undershirt that barely covered her fake boobs. She had no coat, so I figured she was new to the area. The man behind me ogled her a bit, so I casually said, "Brrrr!" He just stared at me. So far this evening wasn't going as planned.
We all piled in and I hit floor "2," thinking that since we were on "1" I would end up at the bar, which, for the record, is called OneUP, which generally means one up from "1," as in, "2." (Just trying to let you in on my thought processes.)
I ejected myself at the floor, glad to be leaving an elevator that was way past its weight limit. The doors shut behind me and there I was, alone, on a floor that had actual hotel rooms on it. The bar had to be around the bend. No, just more rooms. Hm. Then I saw a couple walking toward me, all dressed up and looking for something that they could not find. She was a gorgeous blonde on the cusp of losing her looks, and he was a slender, effeminate Ryan Seacrest sort. "You looking for the bar?" I asked. They said they were, so we banded together to try and find it. We waited again at the elevator, which never came, and then decided to take the stairs, which we couldn't find. At that point, two men who can only be described as "dudes" showed up, bottles of Skyy Vodka Infusions in their hands and those jeans that some men wear that have very pronounced double stitching and pockets that look like some sort of family crest. We all sort of faced each other and without words we knew that we were all lost and could not find the OneUP Lounge to save our fucking lives. We compared notes. They had tried the third floor and the basement. We told them we had been on "1" and now "2."
"This is like those dreams you have," I offered, "where you can't find your car in a gigantic parking garage, or it's the first day of school and you can't find your classes." They just stared at me. This night was not going as planned.
We all headed down the one hallway we hadn't tried, and there they were, the stairs. As soon as that door opened and we all started tumbling down them it was like our relationship had never happened. It was over, without so much as a goodbye. I went down about six flights of stairs, which only added to the strangeness since we had only been on the second floor. Finally I reached a door and opened it and there it was, Munchkin-land unfurled. Actually it was the OneUP Restaurant, but I was at least getting closer.
From there I headed due north and eventually made it to the bar. Seriously. I made it! Though sadly, the place was a bit of a letdown after all that. It was just a corner of the hotel with two flatscreen TVs and a large wall of booze. The patrons were all tourists. I must've had some sort of Admiral Peary look on my face because everyone seemed to be wary of my enthusiasm. There was even a little kid sitting with his parents. I can't be sure, but I think that if Pee Wee had found the basement at the Alamo it would've looked something like this place. The guy who had ogled the boobs was sitting at the bar, nuzzling a whiskey and looking smug. This was a man who knew where he was going.
It would be immoral to give money to a place that didn't take care of its union — right? Right.
I turned on my heel and again looked for an exit. At this point, of course, it became painfully obvious that there was a special staircase for the bar, just to the left of the hotel's entrance. I had walked right past it, along with several other people. At least I have that knowledge to keep me sane. All those people I passed going up the stairs must have just been there before.
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