In our What's in your Bay series, 7x7 asks local chefs, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs what restaurants, venues, and getaways form the landmarks of their Bay Area (and beyond).
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sabine K. Bergmann began disrupting the travel media space back in 2017 when she cofounded Hidden Compass, a boundary-pushing travel magazine and exploration website, with business partner Sivani Babu. Now at home in North Berkeley with husband Sean Kasmir, the travel maven tells us what's in her Bay, from her go-to neighborhood pub to her favorite way to relax.
The Pub in Albany is "the perfect place to read and think, laugh and drink, and pet fluffy, lounging dogs," says Bergmann.(Courtesy of @okaysurefinewhatever)
What is your go-to neighborhood spot for food or drinks?It’s got to be The Pub (1492 Solano Ave., Albany), which is open from noon to midnight each day, and gives quiet and cozy vibes as well as loud and gregarious ones—and often, amazingly, manages both at once. There are armchairs and a fireplace inside the converted Craftsman (which is technically called Schmidt’s Tobacco Trading Co. & Pub, though no one but the map apps will call it that), and I love the multicolored Christmas-lighted patio, full of people taking in fresh night air or afternoon sunshine. They have Old Speckled Hen on tap—a beer I have fond memories of first drinking at a British pub 15 years ago—a smoking room in the back, and only take cash. It’s the perfect place to read and think, laugh and drink, and pet fluffy, lounging dogs.
What restaurant is your favorite splurge?
The line might be out the door and down the street, and I may need to drive across a bridge of traffic to get there, but I’d splurge all my time on Tartine Bakery (600 Guerrero St., Mission). I remember my mom helping me carry my bowl-sized, nearly overflowing latte to our table on the sunny Sunday before I left for the Peace Corps. And I remember, years later, my husband and I feeding each other a lemon cream tart at our newlyweds table, watching guests grab slices from all the Tartine cakes we ordered for our wedding—lemon meringue, passion fruit lime Bavarian, tres leches, and chocolate soufflé. Why just have one kind of wedding cake, I ask you?
"The outdoor, stone-seat amphitheater fills with families and picnic blankets for the Mountain Play, which have been around for nearly a century," says Bergmann.(Courtesy of @themountainplay)
What is your favorite Bay Area venue for seeing art or theater, or listening to live music?
I grew up on Mt Tamalpais. As a kid, I spent many summer afternoons with my parents in the state park at the annual Mountain Play, held at the aptly named Mountain Theater (Easy Grade Trail, Mill Valley; performances May 21 through June 18). The outdoor, stone-seat amphitheater fills with families and picnic blankets for the performances, which have been around for nearly a century. The theater also hosts free astronomy nights, where I’ve attended a talk from an astrophysicist followed by a free-for-all of “amateur” astronomers who broke out their telescopes in the parking lot and invited everyone to peer into their eyepieces to view myriad celestial marvels.
What’s your favorite Bay Area park for hiking or biking?
Tilden Park (2501 Grizzly Peak, Berkeley) is my go-to. The Seaview Trail, which arcs up from the Quarry picnic site, gives sweeping views—the Bay, Golden Gate, and East Bay cities on one side and rolling, grassy hills and deep blue reservoirs on the other. I like that there’s the option to detour down to Quarry Trail from Big Springs for a shorter hike or do the full Seaview loop for a longer one. Benches are tucked under trees with particularly lovely overlooks, and dogs can roam off leash along the open hills and cool forests. On misty mornings the trails feel otherworldly.
"I dream of Base Camp’s chocolate chip cookies," says Bergmann.(Courtesy of @basecamp.bakery)
What Bay Area–made item can you not live without?
Every Sunday, the Kensington Farmers’ Market (379 Colusa Ave.) sets up shop two blocks from our house. My husband and I often scuttle over to Base Camp Bakery’s tent to snag some of their chocolate chip cookies. They are cakey and sweet, soft and salty, and if my husband goes to buy me one, he has to get two so he has one to eat on the walk home.
Where's your favorite way to relax in the Bay?
Day spas are my weakness. I particularly love SF’s Kabuki Springs and Spa (1750 Geary Blvd., Japantown), which is modeled off of traditional Japanese bathhouses. There’s the option to follow a ritualized circuit—or you can be like me and hop from steam room to cold plunge to dry sauna to warm pool in any order that feels best. I always swing by the table outside the steam room to pick up iced towels and sea salts for body scrubbing. After a few hours in the spa, I’ll wander around Japantown looking for hot udon and, if it’s spring, blooming cherry blossom trees.