We Wanna Be Friends With: Alan Beatts of Borderlands Books

We Wanna Be Friends With: Alan Beatts of Borderlands Books


Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

After an array of interesting jobs (night club promoter, DJ, and running a motorcycle shop) Alan Beatts founded Borderlands Books in Hayes in 1998. What started as a tiny bookstore filled with fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, is now a beloved community staple in the Mission (they moved in 2001) jam packed with almost 14,000 titles and regarded as one of the premier genre bookstores in the country.

With the demise of so many big-box book stores, Alan and his team are still going strong - and for great reason. His staff has mega personality and are clearly dedicated to the genre, and the space feels and smells just like a bookstore should. Alan sells both new and used books, and the volumes share space on beautiful wooden shelves that he handmade especially for the shop.

Plus, we just got word Borderlands added mysteries to their book selection, woohoo! Pop on in for a page-turner, or one of their weekly author reading events.

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?  

I've lived in the Castro for coming up on a decade now.  I really like it -- good access to the places I want to be, relatively safe, and I like the neighborhood feel. I don't think I'd be likely to move anywhere else in the City.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

That is a very hard one -- I don't think I can answer that. There is far too much wonderful stuff to eat in SF.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

Before dinner drink at the Top of the Mark, stroll down to North Beach, visit City Lights Bookstore, dinner at Viva Pizzeria (the secret is that you can get all the Italian food on their menu along with all the Greek food from Estia next door -- same owners and same kitchen), Bourbon and Branch for after dinner drink, and then catch a local band at a place like Bottom of the Hill.

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

My back yard.

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?

Petaluma and its environs (i.e. Santa Rosa, Guernville, Armstrong Redwoods, etc.). 

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?


BiRite or Mitchell's?

Mitchell's, no doubt.

Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

Golden Gate Park.

Bike or MUNI?


Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Dolores Park.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

The Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Ocean Beach.

7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

Nicer than expected.

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