Five Best Ways to Impress Your Date - 2002
Luxury Suite at Pacific Bell Park
Third and King streets, 972-2000, www.sfgiants.com
Kick off your date with an afternoon at the ballpark -- not just any ballpark, but just about the best ballpark in the country, and not in some drafty, behind-the-plate box seat but in one of the park's lushly accessorized luxury suites. An elevator whisks you from a private entrance on Willie Mays Plaza to your dwelling place above the infield. Besides the excellent views of the bay, the park, and the Giants in action, there's a balcony, a wet bar, a refrigerator, two televisions, a stereo/CD player, a dual-line phone, Internet access, room service, and a concierge to call you a cab or make your restaurant reservations for you. No one is admitted without proper clearance, ensuring your utmost privacy. Next: Pull yourself together for ...
Cocktails at Lapis
Pier 33 (Embarcadero at Bay), 982-0203,
Now that the Redwood Room has devolved into just another velvet-rope yuppie hangout, the city has no clear-cut, top-of-the-line cocktail lounge such as Chicago's Pump Room or New York's King Cole Bar (although Maxfield's, the Compass Rose, and the Top of the Mark are excellent runners-up). Best of all is Lapis, where the wannabe Noel Coward can sip an estimable Gibson in the lounge adjoining the dining room. The dramatically backlit bar is framed by lush bronze draperies that complement the room's deep-blue setting, and towering ceilings give the lounge a graceful, airy ambience. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a lush panorama of the bay and the hills beyond.
Dinner at the Dining Room
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 600 Stockton (between Pine and
California), 296-7465, www.ritzcarlton.com
Your next stop on the road to beguilement is one of the handsomest dining rooms in the country. The tranquil sounds of a harp underscore a sumptuous setting of polished mahogany, soft linens, and fine crystal gleaming in the candlelight. Chef Sylvain Portay prepares luxurious nouvelle cuisine in several courses: lobster salad with caviar cream; turbot with crayfish and truffles; roasted squab with port-marinated figs; saffron-poached pear with guanaja chocolate gratin. Sommelier Stéphane Lacroix maintains a fabulous cellar, the service is impeccable and inviting, and intimate discourse is practically inevitable. Next:
Charter the Rendezvous From Rendezvous Charters
Pier 40 (in South Beach Harbor), 543-7333,
Nothing's more enticing than an evening cruise around San Francisco Bay, and the islands, bridges, and lights of the city are especially entrancing viewed from this vintage brigantine schooner. Built in 1933 and recently restored to its former glory, the 78-foot Rendezvous looks like a clipper ship out of the Gold Rush era, with its 80-foot masts and square-rigged sails. Intricately carved mahogany, pecan, ash, and rosewood accent the brass-railed, velvet-cushioned rooms below decks, the perfect spot for a sip of Veuve Cliquot and some subtle canoodling.
Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason (between California and Sacramento),
Last but not least, escort your companion to what has been described as the most expensive hotel accommodation in the world: the Fairmont's elaborate penthouse. The eight-room suite (including three bedrooms, three baths, a dining room, a library, a billiard room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a living room with fireplace and baby grand piano) comes with its own maid, butler, and limousine and is accessed by private elevator. The library alone is worth investigating: two circular floors of books encapsulated by a domed ceiling etched with the constellations. The view from the terrace is enthralling, and even if the date's a bust you can always have a hundred people up for cocktails.