A clubhouse for millenials

The Snug opened November 29 at the corner of Fillmore and Clay.

The Snug opened November 29 at the corner of Fillmore and Clay.

SALOONS | CHRIS BARNETT

The Snug conjures up a cozy corner in a centuries-old smoky pub where big-bellied Brits and tweedy types quaff suds, trade insults and argue politics The new Snug, at 2301 Fillmore, is the polar opposite — a sleek, fun, split-level cocktail bar with friendly skilled staffers mixing, pouring and serving classic and creative libations at reasonable prices.

In a stylish makeover of the former Mehfil Indian restaurant, the centerpiece here is a 31-foot-long bar fashioned of the trunk of a single Douglas fir. The barstools spin. There’s plenty of table seating for a couple, a foursome or a crowd. Mercifully, there’s not a single blaring TV on the premises. To justify its name, the owners have a carved out a small snug that seats four, but frankly it looks a little uncomfortable.

The Snug has more than a dozen craft beers and ciders on tap, five wines by the glass and six or seven house cocktails ranging from a White Lily #2 — gin, rum, orange liqueur, absinthe and curry leaf — to a timeless Old Fashioned, with bourbon, bitters and sugar. A tall wall of every spirit imaginable overlooks the airy space. There’s no happy hour.

The kitchen puts out snacks and a few inventive small and large plates. A burger and a $16 Cobb salad top the list. Brunch is coming soon.

The long wait at the Fillmore Heritage Center

Opening night in November 2017 of the Fillmore Heritage Center, now empty for three years.

Opening night in November 2007 at the Fillmore Heritage Center, now empty for three years.

UPDATE: The wait will go on. City Hall has punted, announcing on November 3 that no decision will be made yet on what to do with the Fillmore Heritage Center. All five bids for the complex were rejected, and the process will start all over again.

JUST IN TIME, 1300 TAKES A TIME OUT

THEIR DECISION could have been made anytime since July 1, 2014, when Yoshi’s pulled out next door. But the owners of 1300 on Fillmore restaurant hung on, committed to the resurgence they helped spark.

They even doubled down and opened a barbecue joint across the street.

Finally on October 19 came the word: 1300 would close. Final call was on October 25, a closing party that former mayor Willie Brown called “a classic — more like the dance palace of the Fillmore of yesteryear.”

Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence insisted they are just taking a break — a “hiatus,” White called it — from trying to keep an upscale restaurant open on a lonely corner. Business has gotten slower and slower during the three years since Yoshi’s jazz club and restaurant called it quits, and city leaders have dragged out a decision about what to do with the space.

“Something had to be done,” White said. “We hope to revamp, revise and relaunch in 2018.”

David Lawrence and Monetta White greet diners at 1300 on Fillmore soon after it opened.

David Lawrence and Monetta White greet diners at 1300 on Fillmore soon after it opened.

In the meantime, Black Bark BBQ will continue and they will rent out 1300 and its Fillmore heritage lounge for pop-ups and private events.

“It’s a short-term decision for a long-term stay — hopefully,” White said.

Like nearly everyone else associated with the Fillmore Heritage Center — which houses 1300, the massive Yoshi’s restaurant and showroom, an art gallery, a screening room and a public parking garage — White expressed frustration with the city’s delay in finding a buyer for the complex. The project defaulted to the city when the developer went bust.

“Why is it taking them so long to deal with this building?” lamented White. “Who is in charge over there? They told me to hold for one year… it’s been three!”

Willie Brown spoke for many fans of 1300: “Thanks for the memories. Bring it back soon.”

Harry’s may take over Thai Stick

The Thai Stick at Fillmore and Pine.

The Thai Stick at Fillmore and Pine.

UPDATE: The much buzzed about bid by the two owners of Harry’s Bar to take over the Thai Stick has collapsed. Rick Howard and George Karas reportedly pulled out of the deal, with no reasons given. The bar stays open, but food service has been cut back somewhat while Thai Stick owner Paul Polemasuppapol looks for new buyers.

SALOONS | CHRIS BARNETT

Three bar-restaurants with well over 100 years of experience in mixing, pouring, cooking and serving on Fillmore Street are shaking things up in the 2000 block between California and Pine.

• Harry’s Bar, now in its 31st year, is negotiating to over the Thai Stick, which has been in operation for 21 years at the corner of Fillmore and Pine.

• Harry’s will also remain in its longtime location at 2020 Fillmore. For a few weeks, Harry’s outsourced its kitchen to an independent chef, who revamped the menu and upped the prices. That arrangement has now ended. A remodeling is also in the works.

• Across the street at 2043 Fillmore, the Elite Cafe is quietly tiptoeing back to some of its more familiar roots since its black-and-gray hipster makeover last year — and finally repairing its fire-damaged classic neon sign.

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A gathering place in Japantown

Photo illustration of Benkyodo by Frank Wing

Photo illustration of Benkyodo by Frank Wing

BENKYODO, with its colorful counter and corner tables, for a century has been a gathering place in Japantown for local business people, tourists and generations of Japanese Americans who love mochi and manju.

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Toasting an eventful first year

Tim Schuyler Hayman (center) welcomes guests to Scopo Divino.

Tim Schuyler Hayman (center) welcomes guests to Scopo Divino.

By FAITH WHEELER

Some may mistake it for a hole in the wall, tucked away near the bustling corner of California and Divisadero, but to those in the know, the Scopo Divino wine bar has become a neighborhood institution during its first year in business. And the food has turned out to be just as important as the wine — surprising even owner Tim Schuyler Hayman.

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Farmers market gets a new boss

Grant Ike is the new manager of the market — the fourth in the past two years.

Grant Ike is the new manager of the market — its fourth in the past two years.

By FRANCINE BREVETTI

February’s raucous rains may have limited the ingredients you’ve tossed into your summer salad bowl.

The Fillmore Farmers Market is still trying to recoup the fruit and vegetable vendors it lost because of the rising waters on farmland this past winter.

To help lead the resurgence, Grant Ike has been named as the new manager of the market — the fourth since popular founding manager Tom Nichol was removed and later died in 2015.

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill — but I wear a size 14,” says Ike, himself a former nut vendor at other markets.

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Bumzy’s is back

bumzy

THEIR FANS WERE almost ready to give up, but not the mother-daughter duo Sheila and Toni Young.

Their labor of love — Bumzy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, at 1460 Fillmore — was shut down by flooding last September and stayed closed for nine long months.

But just in time for Fillmore’s annual Juneteenth Festival, their cheery pink balloons were back on the sidewalk and an entirely new Bumzy’s was baking all-natural, handmade cookies.

“We had to start all over,” says Toni Young. “It was a real nightmare. But we’re back better and stronger than before. Something positive always comes out of something negative.”

Their chocolate chip cookies have been hailed as the best in the neighborhood.

“We make homemade products,” she says. “So we want it to feel like home.”

In addition to a dozen kinds of cookies, made one small batch at a time, they also churn homemade ice cream. And now they’ve added Hawaiian shave ice — snow cones to the locals.

“It’s a happy thing,” says Young. “My mom says people come in as an adult and skip out as a happy kid.”

EARLIER: “Cookie lovers in the jazz district

High tea in J-town

Photograph of Crown & Crumpet co-owner Amy Dean by Frank Wing

Photograph of Crown & Crumpet co-owner Amy Dean by Frank Wing

By FRAN JOHNS

Proper English tea in the heart of Japantown? It happens on any given day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Crown & Crumpet in the New People building at 1746 Post Street.

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And now: la microboulangerie

“Bread is part of our heritage,” says Pascal Rigo. “I’d like to restore that for my country.”

“Bread is part of our heritage,” says Pascal Rigo. “I’d like to restore that for my country.”

“THE PROBLEM IS with the economics of the boulangerie, not the bread,” Fillmore’s Pascal Rigo tells The New York Times today. “I’m going to show that you can make good bread and good money.”

Both older and richer than he was in 1999 when he began a bakery empire on Pine Street he later sold to Starbuck’s for $100 million — and then got back again — Rigo’s newest venture is back home in France.

Reports the Times: “Mr. Rigo, an ebullient baker with a seemingly perpetual gaptoothed grin, has embarked on a personal crusade to rescue this pillar of French cuisine one bakery at a time, starting with La P’tite Boulangerie du Ferret, a shop that he opened last summer. He sees it as the first in a nationwide chain of what he calls microboulangeries.”

MORE: “Let them eat cake

The wait is over

BBFlowers

FIRST PERSON | BARBARA WYETH

For us early morning folk, the long awaited opening of Blue Bottle Coffee on the busy Jackson and Fillmore corner is a blessing. In my mind, a strong cup of coffee is always a good thing, any time of day. That bracing dark, sweet shot of warmth and energy is one of life’s simple pleasures. Sometimes it’s also a necessity, a predictably effective motivator if I am going to accomplish anything the rest of the day.

We in the Jackson and Fillmore pro-coffee faction mourned the day the friendly, patient staff at Tully’s closed their doors. Once a beacon of light, warmth, and caffeine — especially in the winter months — the corner remained dark for two years. I would often see  members of our tribe looking wistfully at the closed doors and the posted notices on the papered-over windows. It was especially difficult this last very cold and very wet winter. Sloshing through puddles to a distant cafe early in the dark morning was not an ideal way to start the day. I would occasionally catch the eye of a former Jackson-Fillmore regular scurrying up the hill with soggy paper cups and trays.

When the sparkly new Blue Bottle Cafe opened, I saw many of those same folks standing patiently in the line, looking relieved, and eager to enjoy the much-acclaimed coffee. The cafe is modern, bright and open, with wrap-around windows to watch the comings and goings on that lively intersection. The cheerful staff seems eager to make friends of all the neighborhood folk. And those meticulously prepared espressos and macchiatos and pour overs are are gradually clouding my memory of the long wait for that early morning elixir. Truth be told, they take a little too long for me, at least most mornings — but damn, it is mighty fine coffee!