The Weeknighter: Wish

Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That's why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right. From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart's taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City's nightlife. So, who wants a drink?

We had just come from the food truck park at 11th and Harrison where I’d had some crazy and delicious sandwich from Adam’s Grub Truck. Since we were getting to Wish on the early side of the evening, we were able to get a table, which is a scarcity this late in the week. Around ten of us had gathered together as a little going away party for Kim and David. Though they’d officially moved from The City to Oakland a couple years prior, this move felt more absolute. Kim and David were moving to Napa, much farther than the BART ride I already rarely took to see them across The Bay.

San Francisco is a city of itinerants and passersby, where friendships can burn brilliantly short. You get used to people coming through your life and being integral to it for a couple years until they move back to wherever the hell they’re from. This was different. Starting in the dorms at UC Santa Cruz, Kim and I had lived most of our adult lives within a few blocks from each other and I’d met her husband David when he first moved here from Australia in 2006. They’d even met each other through me. It felt less like some good friends moving away than it did like boxing up an important part of my life and putting it in storage.

Somebody once told me that Wish is for people in their 30s who used to be ravers and club kids in their 20s. I thought about that as the ten of us sat around, cracking jokes and telling stories about things we’d experienced together or separately through the years. The DJ, elevated in his booth, was playing some downtempo music while one of the pretty bar girls, dressed in black, distributed candles to each table.

I couldn’t resist bringing up Kim’s humongous JNCO raver pants and candy jewelry that she constantly wore when we were 18. I made her do those crazy raver hand/dance moves that she was so good at, the ones where it looks like she’s playing with an invisible ball and that now embarrasses her. Of course, Kim countered by bringing up how much tie-dye and hemp I wore when we first met and proved it by making me show a picture that another friend had recently posted on Facebook.  

The building Wish is in is from the 1920s and it once housed an iron forge. These days, it bills itself as “Where House Has A Home." This was evident by the fact that, as the night wore on, the music gained in BPM to match the number of bodies that were filing into the bar. Wish also prides itself on being green and makes a point of using products which are all recyclable or compostable. But I wasn’t thinking about this as my fourth vodka soda was composting in my stomach and David was telling me about his plans to be in the City at least once a week for work. “Napa’s really not that far,” he assured me in his Aussie accent, and I almost believed him.

Shortly after that, the night ended for me. I saw an overzealous fan who creeps me out and I took it as my cue to leave. Plus by that point Wish was crowded enough that the din created by the people and the music made it hard for me to hear. I gave a round of hugs and high-fives and then left before I got drunk enough to start babbling about how the night was like boxing up an important part of my life and putting it in storage.


Stuart Schuffman has been called "an Underground legend" by the SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero" by the SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap" by Time Out New York. He is also the host for the IFC travel show Young, Broke & Beautiful. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.

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