San Francisco Surf City, Movie Mecca? Vintage Venues Live!

San Francisco Surf City? You don’t think of SF as a surf mecca, with its cold weather and lack of surf. But wait! San Francisco DOES have surf and it actually has some nice weather in September and October . There’s  Ocean Beach, the Clift House, the Beach Chalet… and even some real surfers. Chris (sometimes surfer )  calls the SF Avenues near the beach  his home along with a number of other surf groups with Pollo Del Mar and its leader Ferenc probably the leading promoter of San Francisco as a legit surf town. … And right where the ‘ Ocean meets Western Civilization’ at 45th Av and Taraval is a little hidden gem of a night spot calleld the Riptide.  Not only is the name apropo  but the place makes for a great little music venue.   As the Zagat guide describes it’s part Tahoe ski lodge with its dark wood and part funky  quaint bar  tucked away in a cute little neighborhood at land’s end. Never had been there before and glad I went.  Golden State

San Francisco Surf City, Movie Mecca? Vintage Venues Live!

Sorry, an interior photo of Riptide just can’t capture the feel of the place. You’d need a wideangle to capture the double bar, fireplace in back , moosehead on the wall, etc…  Surf meccas Huntington Beach  and   Santa Curz may not have any original haunts  like this. And  Riptide is the real thing, having its beginnings in 1941 with little changed over the years, it would appear.  Now, nostalgic pictures line the walls. The split, or double bar is very unusal and adds to the character , much like Trad’r Sam’s round tiki bar (1937) not far down the avenues.  And Polo Del Mar really brought it all together with its latest surf sounds. Whoever thought this one out for a surf venue was right on. Hope the boys come back soon, or some other surf groups, though it would be tough to top Ferenc and the boys.. maybe their friends the Meshugga Beach Party would come closest for a local Bay Area band….  check out Pollo Del Mar here… Nokie Edwards of the Ventures sits in with Pollo del Mar in Tokyo, Japan, a hotbed for surf music.

Even older than the Riptide is the Balboa Theater (1926). We tired to cram it all in this Sat. nite 11/12/11 , running from Riptide 5 minutes up the road to here but Sutro had just finished its last run of the night

so can’t really highlight the interior of the classic pre – deco theater nor the new documentary about the famed Sutro Baths, once  another highlight of San Francisco’s  Lands End, with its huge heated pools and colorful spectacles, just up the road from another Ocean Beach gen, Playland at the Beach, Sutro burned down years ago and Playland closed  in the early 70s but the memories live on. In fact, a woman , now in her 80s,  who worked at Sutro for years was able to collect so much memorabilia the producers of a previous movie about Playland came to her recently to ask her to take part in the new film about the Sutro baths.  We’ll have to give it another try before it closes. And what better venue than the Balboa, not  more than a mile from where it all happened…

That’s the neat thing about this night.. being able to witness such events in such perfect and appropriate  vintage settings! Check out Riptide  and the Balboa along with Pollo Del Mar and Sutro, the latter you may have to catch at a less exciting venue.  The Best of American & Foreign Films Posters. Book 2. From the Classic and Film Noir to Deco and Avant-Garde. 4th Edition. (World best films posters)

San Francisco Surf City, Movie Mecca? Vintage Venues Live!








Ap 16 ’11 End of BURTday celebration WEEK(S) , thanks to LK… perhaps the funnest time of all, going first to a unique , local , popular spot, Old Port Lobster Shack and then the great 50s play Forever Plaid, both in Redwood city, CA

FOREVER PLAID, is a 1950’s themed musical about a vocal quartet that dies in a car crash at the end of the real rock and roll era, 1964 and on their way to their first-ever professional concert. Through suspended reality, the group resurfaces via Heaven to make that first concert appearancehere in 2011 at the little Redwood Fox Theater, as it were. The group cleverly tells its story through the use of the period songs. Highlight is a sppof/recreation of characters from the old Ed Sullivan Show they used to watch as kids every Sunday night at 8 pm (so did I), replete with plate spinners, Topo Jejo(sp), etc Singing is classic white vocal group harmony , culminating with ‘Love Is A Many Slendored thing.’ Unlike many oldies shows like this, Forever Plaid is great in its story line and clever skits – the Calypso scene is another good one. Perhpas less is more as the vocals stand out fine, in full sound with only a piano and bass accompaniment. The play has been around for years at various venues. Catch it if you can.

By the way, the Little fox Theater is a restored Deco Movie House from the 40s(?), a perfect venue for the show and directly across from the beautifully renovated City Square and Courthouseon Broadway in Redwood City.

OLD PORT LOBSTER SHACK is tucked away in a non-descript strip mall , yet it is very cute once inside, made to resemble a Maine lobster shack, with lobster pots, aluminum siding, etc. for a cafeteria -style dining, the place is expensive, yet, afterall, it’s lobster. It’s unique enough it’s worth a yearly visit or two. 851 Veterans Blv, Redwood City, only minutes from the Fox theater on Broadway.




Redwood City appears to be a great little old-fashioned town with friendly people and not much sign of chains, worth the fairly long drive we took. It’s alwso said to have the best weather in the Bay Area.