If you want to have a successful excursion in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between "pre-game" drink, food and a show, we bring you the Date Night series — a block-by-block guide to weekend itineraries that only require one parking space. For this weekend's crawl, we'll tell you where to go after a show at The Regency Ballroom on the Tenderloin's Van Ness border.
See: This weekend, you may find yourself at The Regency Ballroom, taking in Fitz and the Tantrums' modern Motown on Friday or SF Sketchfest's Nerdist Podcast Live with Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira on Saturday. Outside, the intersection of Sutter and Van Ness might feel like a ghost town, but believe it or not there's a wealth of warmth and goodness to be found nearby.
Eat: For something meaty in both atmosphere and menu, Tommy's Joynt (1101 Geary Blvd.) has been accruing character since 1947 just a few blocks down Van Ness. Order something with buffalo, or go all out and get the sloppy turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes. Japanese food lovers should check out YamaSho (1150 Post St.), a high-ceilinged, friendly spot offering an extensive menu of rice, noodles, izakaya-style skewered things and sushi. Steer clear of the fried items, and stick with the creative rolls. Please also keep in mind: some of the city's best karaoke rooms await upstairs, complete with disco balls, oddly shaped decorative mirrors, and cityscape murals set up to inspire.
Drink: There are tons of great dive bars nearby. Hemlock Tavern (1131 Polk St.) provides the closest hipster-approved scene—with the indie bands playing in the back room to prove it. For a sports bar with a juke box, there's Ace's (998 Sutter); or if you're looking for a bit more of the L.A. glam vibe, walk a few blocks up Polk and take a left on Eddy to find Chambers Eat + Drink in the Phoenix Hotel. Here, walls lined with vintage LPs, thoughtfully crafted cocktails, blazer-wearing gents, and lip glossed ladies should make you feel right at home.
Got another great night out to suggest? Do let us know in the comments.