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Best Alleyway San Francisco 2006 - Belden Place

Encompassed by skyscrapers and mobs of anxious commodities brokers, Belden Place is an oasis of cheerful Euro savoir-faire in the gray and greedy Financial District jungle. Although the Russ Building, the Bank of America, and other towering landmarks surround it, an abundance of sunlight filters onto Belden's block-long surface, attracting scores of the office-bound to its many al fresco establishments. After Café Bastille, the alley's pioneering tenant, convinced the city to close off automobile traffic into Belden, other eateries of global parentage set up shop as well, and today the place is abloom with festive umbrellas, colorful awnings, and sidewalk tables serving everything from pastis to Prosecco. Where else can the lunchtime daydreamer wander from Roma (Café Tiramisu) to Paris (Plouf) to Barcelona (B44) to Moscow (Voda) in the space of a single block? (Note: The alleyway's annual July 14 Bastille Day celebration is especially joyeux.)
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