Busy weekend! Because Friday was 11/11/11 (no ambiguity with getting the month and day mixed up, which I’m still getting used to) we went to a party thrown by Friend Taylor at a boat club we’ve been to a few times. This club is a great little place – with all the fancy yacht and boat clubs along the shore of the bay, this one is more like the caddyshack. A little less fancy, but lots more fun, with the wooden shed housing a very cheap bar and lots of nautical flags on the walls, and an extended outside terrace that gives the impression that it’s been added to over the years, with mismatching furniture and plastic sheeting extending the space and reclaiming it from the elements. The view from the terrace is one of loading facilities rather than open bay, but it’s nice to smell the ocean and check out the disused railway loading ramp and other bits and pieces.
Taylor tells me that the gentrification of the surrounding area may threaten this place soon. The area was a run down industrial dockland, but recently new office buildings and fancy apartment blocks have sprung up, and it looks like they might not appreciate having this rathe more “organic” place in their midst. We’ll see.
People were dressed up in various 11-themed costumes, which got a bit tenuous in places:
- 11 Monkeys (one monkey short)
- Jerry McNerney, Representative for California’s 11th Congressional District (this one was assigned to me because I didn’t have a costume, but I was wearing a tie, having come straight from work)
- A couple with candles shaped like 5 and 6 on their heads – together they made 11
- you get the picture
After a New Year-style countdown, at the stroke of 11/11/11 11:11:11 there was a champagne toast and the party continued into the early hours.
Saturday we rose late, relaxed, did some housework, and generally dithered about, and then in the evening we met our friends Stacey and Duard for some Chinese food at the surprising Kirin in Albany. Stacey’s father recently passed away, and so they are visiting all his favourite restaurants in memory of him. Nice idea.
After a good meal, we went over to Club Mallard, a beautiful bar in Albany. It’s done up to look like a hunting lodge, with a big fireplace (very welcome), log walls, cosy booths and hunting prints on the walls. There’s also a Tiki room and patio, and I love that stuff – in fact, this place is a sister bar to the Kona Club, which is out-and-out Tiki.
Of course, I’m aware that kind of fake atmospherics in a bar is like a British pub having horse brasses and gardening implements on the wall. You can buy that kind of thing from a catalogue when you open a pub. But, I guess the fact it’s alien to me here gives it a frisson. Nothing better than a good frisson. It’s like the decor in our old apt in San Francisco – Cassie didn’t like parts of it because it reminded her of the places she grew up in in the late 70’s in San Marino. I liked it because it looked like a late 70’s Californian apt.
Saturday night we met up with Taylor again, because it was his and our friend Aaron’s birthday, and they had a booth reserved at the DNA Lounge nightclub for its famous Booty mashup night. Because those guys know all the scene people, we were on the guest list too, so it was a matter of breezing in and enjoying ourselves without lining up in the cold or forking out. Nice.
Booty is great fun, with the DJs playing these mashups of older songs we knew combined with current stuff we don’t. Showing our age there, I think. The highlight was performances by the house band Smash Up Derby, who do the mash up stuff too, but live and very entertaining. Most of the group went on a speakeasy after the club – I didn’t know those things still existed. Not for us though.
Sunday we had various plans. Cassie met up with an old friend, who now runs a small artisan brewery, at one of our favourite brunch places, Absinthe in Hayes Valley. I met our friends Matt and Mikka at a crepe place round the corner. It was good to catch up with each of them and hear about the real estate trade in the Bay Area, and the local short film and theatre scene.
After food, we all met up and checked out the nice little boutiques on Hayes, such as the specialist sake shop, multiple children’s clothing places, reclaimed furniture and local artist’s work.
Busy – and worth it!