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People & Places

  • Readers' Poll

    Best Local Comedian Robin Williams Best Local Stripper Marcy Meow Best Local Writer Jon Carroll Best Local Hipster No winner Best Local Crank Swan Best Local Beat Cop Sgt. Mark Porto Best Place for a First Date Ti Couz Best Place to Propose Marin Headlands Best Local Fashion Plate Willie Brown Best Local Radio DJ Dave Morey, KFOG-FM (104.5) Best… More >>
  • Best Rock-Music Club DJ

    Neil Martinson

    Even in this day and age, when the White Stripes battle Justin Timberlake and OutKast for chart supremacy, there aren't a lot of clubs where it's cool to dance to rock music. Sure, the kids at the Arrow Bar will slap some Billy Squier or AC/DC on the decks, but there aren't that many spots where you can seriously rock… More >>
  • Best Place to Mess Around in Public

    Strawberry Hill

    Families are much too busy working up a sweat on paddle boats or piloting fringe-topped surreys around the park's pathways to notice Strawberry Hill, the 428-foot-high island peak that sits smack in the middle of Stow Lake -- which makes the spot ideal for our purposes. Puff and pant your way up the hill and your reward is a breathtaking… More >>
  • Best New Lifestyle Term

    SanFransexual

    You know what killed Howard Dean's presidential campaign? It wasn't that Iowa Caucus scream; it was his early declaration that he was a metrosexual. Who wants a president who's too busy fixing his hair to deal with global crises, who spends more time getting in touch with his feminine side than with his constituents? Dean would've done far better admitting… More >>
  • Best Former Teen Gigolo-Turned-Writer and Performance Artist

    David Henry Sterry

    Sterry is a man you should know. First of all, he's a San Francisco-based writer (his second book, the best-selling memoir Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, was published by HarperCollins in 2002). He's also an actor (he's won four Clios, and the one-man show based on his book, Chicken: A 1-Ho Show, has received rave reviews). Sterry,… More >>
  • Best Local Actor/Producer

    Sean San José

    This gritty, passionate performer is not a member of the camp that believes in creating art for art's sake. Though his acting and producing achievements are many and heralded, San José, whose mother died of AIDS when he was 25, believes in tackling roles that reflect and explore culture, community, and politics. His work -- which uncannily captures contemporary urban… More >>
  • Best Local Poet-Crank

    August Kleinzahler

    It takes range to be well reviewed by both Allen Ginsberg and The Economist. In his latest collection, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, August Kleinzahler maintains the scabrous, street-level energy we expect from a proper S.F. poet, without forfeiting an ounce of high wit or formal control. As a critical nonfictioneer, too, he has few rivals. Enemies, maybe. "People here… More >>
  • Best Rubber Band Ball

    Pride Superette

    On the outside, the place looks like any other liquor store on any other corner in San Francisco. It looks that way on the inside, too, except for one minor detail: Sitting next to the entrance at the Pride Superette is the utterly unmissable "World's Largest Rubber Band Ball," as dubbed by the shop's owners, brothers Billy and Sammy (last… More >>
  • Best Place to Propose

    Lands End

    Ladies and gentlemen, you live in the most beautiful city in the world. If you're going to pop the question and you decide to do it in a restaurant (or some equally scenically uninspiring venue), then shame on you. The life-changing topic of marriage demands a dramatic backdrop -- and the loveliest one of all is the cliffs at Lands… More >>
  • Best New Downtown Public Space

    JP Morgan Chase Building

    On the north side of the new Darth Vader high-rise at 560 Mission St. is a privately owned slice of San Francisco that provides an elegant debunking of claims that office tower development is ruining the South of Market neighborhood. This block near Second Street used to be a no man's land of small parking lots and dilapidated buildings. A… More >>
  • Best Place to Walk Your Dog

    Buena Vista Park

    When you want to give Cujo (and yourself) a canine-worthy workout, head for this little bit of Alpine greensward smack in the middle of the Haight. Rising 569 feet above sea level, the park offers a pleasant sense of solitude despite the teeming masses just down the hill. Buena Vista was officially designated a city park in 1870, the same… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Stoned and Walk Your Dog

    Bernal Heights Park

    Roll up a spliff and treat Fido to the majestic vistas of Bernal Heights Park, 39 acres of grassy recreation space where man's best friend can frolic without a leash. Towering over the Mission District, the park is easier to get to than you might think. Just take Folsom south until it hits Bernal Heights Boulevard, where there is ample… More >>
  • Best Cheap Overnight Getaway

    West Point Inn

    Mount Tamalpais is glorious this time of year: The slopes are blanketed with wildflowers, the creeks and waterfalls burble and splash from the winter rains, and the crags and meadows and forests smell of warm earth and flora basking in the sunshine. You can luxuriate in the mountain's late-spring resplendence at a top-dollar B&B, or you can go authentically rustic… More >>
  • Best New Ethnic Neighborhood

    Little Saigon

    The heart of the Tenderloin may not be as touristed a locale as espresso-scented North Beach or the alleyways of Chinatown, but since the fall of Saigon three decades ago, this bedraggled neighborhood has been the commercial and cultural center of the city's Vietnamese community. There are 2,000 Vietnamese-American residents, 250 Vietnamese-owned businesses, and several citizens' groups in the district,… More >>
  • Best Revolutionary Movement

    Quirkyalone

    The shocking thing about the same-sex marriage issue isn't that two people of an identical gender would want to be together, but that so many seemingly sensible individuals would choose to indulge in the perverse and unnatural rites of lifelong commitment. For millennia the Judeo-Christian-Muslim junta has foisted dubious notions of morality upon us naturally wayward bipeds, and has systematically… More >>
  • Best Parking Garage

    North Beach Garage

    It's ideally located for North Beach and Chinatown, easily accessed, small enough so you'll never get lost within it, located right across from a police station, and only $2 an hour (cheap by San Francisco -- not to mention neighborhood -- standards). But our deep affection for the North Beach Garage is due to the fortune cookie sayings printed at… More >>
  • Best Design Firm

    fuseproject

    Fuseproject is the brainchild of Yves Béhar, a Swiss-born industrial designer whose lengthy résumé of awards could very well render him an Olympian in the field of design. Béhar and his team seek to create objects and product concepts aimed toward the tech-savvy and environmentally-conscious consumer. Whether it's the eco-friendly, cornstarch-based packaging for DEVO underwear (it dissolves with a toss… More >>
  • Best Clown Matriculation

    San Francisco Circus Center

    There was a time when the San Francisco Circus Center would have been called a "clown college" and would have devoted itself to turning out white-faced jesters bound for three-ring extravaganzas. But that was before the Great Circus Renaissance set into motion by Cirque du Soleil. These days the SFCC offers adult and children's classes in such big-top diversions as… More >>
  • Best Unknown Local Cartoonist

    Graham Annable

    Maybe it's because he's originally from Ontario, Canada, but Graham Annable draws cartoons that lack the cynical, biting tone of many other Bay Area comics. Annable's collections, Grickle and Further Grickle (published by Alternative Comics), don't feature ennui-ridden art-school rejects like Adrian Tomine's or misanthropic freaks like Dan Clowes'. There certainly aren't any big-butted lascivious lasses, as in R. Crumb's… More >>
  • Best Bar Owners

    Christopher White and Waldo Williams at the Rickshaw Stop

    The bar business isn't an easy one, especially for bars that put on live events. The profit margins are slim, the crowds are fickle, and the noise limits are exacting. It's no wonder that many club owners are so miserable. Not so the proprietors of the Rickshaw Stop. Certainly, it helps that Christopher White and Waldo Williams are new to… More >>
  • Best Chin-Stroker

    Bruce Cain

    Bruce Cain, a Berkeley political scientist, may be the most prolific pundit in the country; his name has turned up in more than 600 stories since January 2003, according to Nexis, and that doesn't include the work he does for KTVU as an analyst, delivering neat soundbites in front of the same tasteful shrubbery, week in, week out. His specialty… More >>
  • Best Gossip

    Leah Garchik

    We are not in the In Crowd. We do not go to galas or fetes or benefits. We were not at the opening of Philip Kaufman's latest film. We have never air-kissed a Getty or tongue-kissed a Traina. But for five minutes every morning, when we're sure no one is looking, we tuck our Datebook into the pages of the… More >>
  • Best Hotel Deal for Discriminating Weekend Guests

    Suite at the Warwick Regis Hotel

    If you've got family or a group of friends visiting, it's hard to find a better deal than a suite at the Warwick Regis Hotel. Prices vary depending on the season, but you can generally get one for around $175 a night -- about what you'd pay for a small room at most San Francisco hotels -- and these suites… More >>
  • Best Place to Put Up Visiting Hipsters

    Hotel Triton

    If you'd like your visiting hipster friends to stop crashing on your couch, point them to the Triton, a funky boutique hotel off Union Square. For your pals who want to see the wild and crazy side of the city, the best bet is the "So Hip It Hurts" package: For $289 a night, you get accommodations in one of… More >>
  • Best Reuse of a Retail Space

    711 Market St.

    Only in S.F.: 711 Market St. used to be the home of the aptly named 711 Club, a dive bar between Third and Fourth streets that was tacky in all the best ways. One long narrow room with a jukebox, some tables, and a couple of video games, the 711 Club was a dim haven for those needing a quick… More >>
  • Best Chronicle Tag-Team

    Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams

    The steroid scandal broke this fall with word that IRS investigators had raided an odd little supplement company in Burlingame called the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Since then, the Chronicle -- largely behind the reporting of Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams -- has ably led the charge, advancing the story beyond the slow trickle of court filings with several bombshells.… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Alberta Straub

    As Alice Waters is to a bushel of organic produce, the Orbit Room's quirky Alberta Straub is to a shelf of top-notch booze. Part of being a great bartender -- next to a Sam Malone-ish sympathetic ear and some seen-it-all, commonsensical advice -- is, well, knowing your way around a cocktail. "I just like to make people happy," says Straub.… More >>
  • Best Literary Bartender

    Alan Black at the Edinburgh Castle Pub

    Whether you want to discuss the merits of various Lowland single malts, the pros and cons of the first person in contemporary fiction, or 18th-century rhetoricians, Alan Black's your man. As with all good bartenders, his mien is gruff at first; you might experience an overwhelming desire not to piss him off. But soon you'll realize that his meagerly doled-out… More >>
  • Best Lo-Fi Impresario

    Chicken John at the Odeon Bar

    Chicken John, owner of the Odeon Bar, how do we love/hate thee? Let us count the ways. You work your ass off to provide the city's most ridiculous performers with a place to feel at home, thus spurring them on to further flights of creative fancy. Yet you give us shit if we write about it too much, or in… More >>
  • Best Pancake Juggler

    Scot Nery

    In the competitive world of performative flapjack manipulation, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest. Other artists who throw breakfast food around claim to hate and envy him, but in their hearts, they also love him for elevating the form to its current dizzying height. Scot Nery was once a lowly knife-juggler -- how far he's come! His… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Chateau Tivoli

    Bed & breakfasts don't come any more opulent or attractive than this fairy-tale French Renaissance town house in the heart of the city's Alamo Square district. Commissioned by an Oregon shipping magnate in 1892, the Tivoli has an eclectic history since World War I that includes stints as a home for single Jewish girls, a rooming house, and, at the… More >>
  • Best Place to Feed Ducks

    Palace of Fine Arts Lagoon

    With the stately, forlorn beauty of one of the city's most-beloved landmarks as a backdrop, the lagoon in front of the Palace of Fine Arts is about the best urban oasis we can imagine for our fine-feathered friends. A perfect complement to the "palace," with its Greco-Roman-esque rotunda and enduring columns, the storybook lagoon is an unintended aviary of sorts,… More >>
  • Best War Relic

    S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien

    Launched in June 1943, the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien is the last surviving and still-operable example of the more than 2,700 Liberty ships churned out during World War II, and is a National Historic Landmark. After participating in the Normandy landings (she arrived on the French coast a few days after D-Day), the O'Brien was shifted to the Pacific for the… More >>
  • Best Indoor Waterfall

    Rincon Center Lobby

    For our money, there's no finer commercial lobby anywhere in town than the one in the Rincon Center development, adjacent to the lovingly restored former 1930s Rincon Annex post office, and much of it has to do with the dramatic 150-foot-tall "rain column" dripping recycled water from the skylighted ceiling and generating a soothing roar from the pool in the… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a McLoft

    Harrison Street

    Are you looking for a place to live? Have you grown weary of the classic Victorians that beautify the streets of our fair city? Do you like obscenely bright living quarters, with track lighting that makes you appear older than you are? Well, look no farther than Harrison Street, where a dot-com ghost town of spacious, drywalled vacant lofts stands… More >>
  • Four Best Places to Chill Out

    What with the manifold opportunities for losing your job and getting evicted and being framed on a murder rap and running out of ice cubes, modern life can be downright traumatic. Sometimes the best solution is to get away from it all, if only for an hour. When the stresses of daily life have taken their toll, consider the soothing… More >>
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