7x7 Social Club: Your All-Access Pass to San Francisco (and Beyond)
This February, San Franciscans showed up in style to fete the reopening of a storied nightlife spot in Union Square. Starlite, the lounge atop the Beacon Grand Hotel, makes an ambitious case for the social future of SF. (Chloé Hennen)

7x7 Social Club: Your All-Access Pass to San Francisco (and Beyond)


7x7 Social Club offers members exclusive access, discounts, and deals to editorially curated partners around the Bay Area—think restaurants and bars; festivals, performances, and events; wineries, hotels, shops, spas, and more. Your monthly membership supports our twin mission: to bolster local creativity and enterprise, and to keep our readers on the inside of what's happening in the Bay Area now. Join now.

After more than 20 years in business in San Francisco, we can’t help but notice that things feel…different…lately.

We’re not talking about the overblown “doom loop”—we believe in the resiliency of this vibrant region—but we’ve got eyes: The city is sleepier than it used to be.

Over two decades ago when we hung our 7x7 banner from an office space at the corner of Grant and Geary, 7x7 was in the thick of the action. We were surrounded by the glassy storefronts of brands large and small; we jostled elbow to elbow with fellow downtown workers as we dashed out for lunch at one of the many busy cafes. Come happy hour, we dispersed into nightlife spots on Maiden Lane (remember Otis?) or atop nearby luxury hotels (looking at you, Starlite), caught local art exhibits at 111 Minna, went dancing at Madrone Art Bar and Rickshaw Stop, and got dressed up for opening night galas, fashion shows, and the Black & White Ball.

Our fledgling print magazine team was genuinely excited to discover and then share the best of what was new and happening in SF. We went out most nights, met so many interesting people, threw countless parties. If we stayed home in our pajamas, we probably had the flu.

This is the part where 7x7 and its editor (yours truly) begin to show our age. We don't need you to tell us that the world has changed. We survived 9-11 and tech booms and busts. We've evolved from a paper glossy to a modern digital brand. And we weathered Covid alongside all of you. Today, we are all navigating a changed San Francisco and stepping forward into growth together.

Downtown is cleaner than it was pre-APEC but the streets are still too quiet. On a recent weekday afternoon, we bumped into no one on the sidewalk on Geary Street; there was hardly any reason to look before crossing the street. Another major closure has been announced in Union Square to a chorus of comments such as "sad, but not surprising," "too lazy to shop in person," "you get what you vote for," and "what's going on in beautiful San Francisco???"

What is going on in beautiful San Francisco? A lot, actually! Which you will see when you take a walk in any one of our diverse and charming neighborhoods. Terrific restaurants, buzzy bars, and delightful boutiques continue to open every day. Our arts venues remain world-class and on the cutting edge, while independent artists, designers, makers, and chefs find innovative ways to create and thrive. City-sponsored efforts such as Vacant to Vibrant are seeking creative solutions, and grassroots efforts to clean up the city and jazz up the community are popping up everywhere. But how would we know that if we're all sitting at home watching The Gentlemen?

It's easy to play the blame game, to point at drugs and homelessness and the mayor and say this is what's wrong with our Baghdad by the Bay. Many younger residents may not have heard that term, Baghdad by the Bay. It was coined by the iconic midcentury newspaper columnist Herb Caen who drew a parallel to the 1950s Iraqi boomtown where "many languages and nationalities, as well as poets, painters, sculptors and others, were reimagining the past for a different future" (Deena Chalabi, for SFMOMA's Open Space blog). Caen's writings underlined the ever-changing cosmopolitan nature of this naturally spectacular place that has fostered the Beats, the hippies, the punks and, yes, even our puffer-vested techies.

But to remain a Baghdad by the Bay, or any kind of boomtown for that matter, everyone who lives here must vote for it—and we don't mean at the polls, though we hope you'll do that too. Every day that we moan about returning to the office, we vote for empty streets in downtown San Francisco. Each time we add to cart on Amazon, we vote for the closure of stores ranging from beloved boutiques to the iconic Macy's Union Square. When we opt to order in and stream a new release on Netflix, we vote for empty tables at our local restaurants and unfilled seats in our indie theaters and performing arts venues.

I really can't tell you how many times I hear the words "I hardly ever go out anymore." And no judgement, I also sometimes choose a movie-on-the-couch night over standup comedy at Cobb's, and online shopping is parcel to my modern life. Covid necessarily changed us, and we all learned to embrace the comforts of home. But the pandemic is over, and our homebody ways are dulling our vibrant city. It's time to get back out in the world and to support the many local businesses whose health and success rely on our IRL engagement. And guess what? It's actually fun!

Our new 7x7 Social Club is designed to give you extra incentive to step back out and to engage on a regular basis in this city we all love. We know, life here feels more expensive than it ever has—today's $19 hot dogs make $5 toasts look quaint. So 7x7 Social Club gives you a hookup. We've got comped cocktails, free festival and events tickets, discounts on popular museum exhibits and hotel stays, early access to friends and family sales, custom experiences, and so much more.

With our April launch, Social Club members will access exclusive offers from local partners including 7 Adams, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Freda Salvador, SF Decorator Showcase, San Francisco Ballet, Abaca, Mill Valley Music Festival, the Craft Chocolate Experience, Bar Nonnina, Hanson of Sonoma, and more.

If you redeem just one offer, your 7x7 Social Club membership will more than pay for itself. Then, when you order a second drink and a snack and share your experience on social, you're paying the hookup forward to a local business that makes our city a vibe all its own.

We're sharing these exclusive perks of the press with you for just $7 per month for a limited time. Your monthly memberships allow 7x7 to provide extra promotion for local partners we love without charging them for advertising, driving meaningful new business at a time when they need it most.

We hope you'll sign up for 7x7 Social Club in the spirit of exploring what's happening in the Bay Area now. It's a vote for the San Francisco that so many of us dreamily remember, a Baghdad by the Bay.

// 7x7 Social Club membership is $7 per month, and you can cancel anytime. Join now at 7x7.com/social-club.

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