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We Love It Local: A North Beach Noël

North Beach is a bit of a riddle: it lies at the very center of San Francisco’s history, and it’s geography. It is the most charming and beautiful neighborhood in a city chock full of them, the most interesting locale in America’s most fascinating city. Yet somehow, North Beach remains hidden in the midst of all this, cloistered in our perfect little corner of paradise. The tourists find us, but mostly by accident, and not so many that it spoils our rarefied, quasi-European ambience.

It’s often said that people who live in North Beach need never leave the neighborhood; not if they don’t want to, anyway. It’s all here: the coolest shops, the best restaurants, the coziest bars, and the sunniest park benches. It’s not untrue, and a timely reminder for the holidays: when it’s time to tackle your Christmas list, remember all of the great shops right here in The Beach. Amazon never did anything for you, so this Christmas, log off and keep your money in the neighborhood. The merchants of North Beach are counting on you!

North Beach shines this time of year, and there’s a lot happening as we head into the deep season, comings and goings alike. As ever, we’ve got some new arrivals: Deck The Halls, a holiday-themed cocktail pop-up in the old Washington Square space, replaced lackluster The Square at the end of November; look for it to morph into new incarnation Lillie Coit’s in January. Just around the corner, Giovanni Italian Specialties also debuted on Union Street, with Tony Gemignani (Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Capo’s) throwing his hat into the retail ring. Think fresh pasta, cheeses, Italian specialty products, high-end chef’s supplies and other goodies. The place looks great, and they’ve even got panzerotti (that’s deep-fried calzone, mister) on the weekends. 

Next, the much-hyped Eight Tables by George Chen was finally unveiled inside Broadway’s China Live, serving the most elaborate (and expensive) Chinese cuisine that San Francisco has ever seen. The Salzburg also opened on Union Street, an Austrian wine bar/café from the North Beach power couple behind Grant Avenue’s Little Vine. Plenty of riesling and small plates (including some tasty sausages) dominate the menu here, and the fire pit out back is sure to be a hit. 

From the team that brought us Little Vine: The Salzburg. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

Meanwhile on Columbus, the shuttered Panta Rei space has been taken over by Francesco Covucci (Il Casaro, Vicoletto). The Dough Boys is the current DBA, so expect pasta and more of Covucci’s terrific pizza. Vicoletto is also changing up, and word is Covucci will be serving pinsa there, a Roman ancestor of pizza that adds soy and rice to the more typical wheat flour, resulting in a lighter pie.

Alas, the neighborhood has also lost a couple of favorites. First among them, Caffè Puccini: in the early morning hours of October 10th, fire gutted the venerated café at 411 Columbus Avenue, apparently the result of something left on the stove overnight. No word on whether they will return, and we wish them the best of luck.

A few doors down, the team at L’Osteria del Forno are also (at teast temporarily) closing their doors on Columbus, after 27 years. For the time being, they are calling it a remodel, but it appears this may be the end for the local favorite. 

Lest we forget, next Thursday, December 14th brings the second annual North Beach Wine Walk to the nighborhood. A great event that pairs local wineries with North Beach retailers, this is a great way to mix things up, meet people, and pay an after-hours visit to our great retailers here in The Beach. Tickets are $25 ($30 on the day of the event), and judging from last year, it’s more than worth it. Get your tickets here, or at the bar at Belle Cora.

We’ll be back with more North Beach news, so bookmark us and be sure to come back soon. Happy Holidays!

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A Glimpse Of What SFNBBA Does For North Beach Businesses

In keeping with our history of support and leadership for the commercial district of our neighborhood, the North Beach Business Association has assembled a quick report detailing a few of our organizational accomplishments for 2018. This is a partial list, but it will give readers some idea of the breadth of our efforts for the neighborhood.

North Beach Commercial Vacancies Prompt Action: Enough Is Enough

On Wednesday afternoon, we will join Supervisor Aaron Peskin at 527 Columbus Avenue near Green Street, where commercial units have been kept off the rental market for nearly a decade. The press will be in attendance, and Supervisor Peskin and SFNBBA board members are expected to speak about the need for these commercial landlords to do their part to restore the commercial rental supply in our neighborhood–and the well-being of our commercial district. It’s not complicated: we are simply asking that property owners offer their vacant spaces for rent, and at a reasonable market rate.

Let's Keep It Local: Your North Beach Shopping Guide

A list of eleven of the coolest possible places to do your Christmas shopping–right here in North Beach.

Wintry Weather Brings Holiday Events And More To North Beach

This Friday, December 7th, the neighborhood will once again host the North Beach Wine Walk. If you haven't participated in the event before, it's a great way to meet some of the neighborhood's best retailers; shops like Z Cioccolato, Lola and Cole Hardware will be opening their shops after normal hours, and hosting local vintners to pour samples of their tastiest wines for attendees.

The Beach Never Sleeps: New Offerings Abound

Here in North Beach, it’s been a mighty strange couple of weeks. As much as we’ve tried to focus on our labors, the smoky, toxic air conditions brought by the tragic Camp Fire to our north has admittedly knocked our neighborhood a little bit out of whack. And that’s only natural, in a place where our residents are used to spending so much time outdoors. So we're here to give you a quick review of what's been afoot.

Business Owner Recognized For Heroism; Macchiarini Design Turns Seventy

This weekend, Edson Garcia, the owner of Brioche Bakery and Café on Columbus Avenue, was honored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the North Beach Business Association for a remarkable act of courage. 

Washington Square Mitigation Plan Finally In Place; Meanwhile, Ten Trees Gone

If you’ve been reading the blog, you already know Washington Square Park faces temporary closure in the coming months for renovations. Here at the SFNBBA, we’ve been lobbying the city and S.F. Recreation & Park for months.

SFNBBA Wins Neighborhood Protections In Face Of Washington Square Park Closure

The impending closure of Washington Square Park has got the neighborhood stirred up, and the people at the SFNBBA have been on the case. Take a look at this week's post to find out what we've accomplished–and what you should expect for Washington Square.

Empty Spaces: New Report Sheds Light On North Beach Vacancies

The vacancy crisis in North Beach is an ongoing concern, and this month we received some new data on the problem. According to a new report conducted by the San Francisco North Beach Business Association (SFNBBA) in cooperation with Telegraph Hill Dwellers and North Beach Neighbors, the numbers are jarring: over the past three years, the number of vacant ground-floor commercial spaces in the neighborhood has doubled.

It’s Always Sunny In North Beach: North Beach Festival Weekend Is Here

The very first street fair in America, The North Beach Festival has been the blueprint for neighborhood fairs and block parties for decades. And this weekend, we're celebrating the festival for the 64th time. In other news, is there trouble on the horizon for Washington Square Park?

On Eve Of North Beach Festival, Neighborhood Fights Washington Square Park Closure

There is always plenty afoot in North Beach, and this month is no exception: the annual North Beach Festival, due to hit our streets on Saturday and Sunday, June 16th and 17th, is always a monster event. We’re expecting a record turnout for our 64th year.
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Jan 23

Community Action: Resolve The Vacancy Crisis

Community Action: Resolve The Vacancy Crisis Wednesday, January 23rd @ 1:00 PM 527 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, SF (just north of Green St.)