Part two of my day exploring San Francisco last September. I’m writing early in the morning in February, realizing that there were still sketches from 2023 that I had not scanned, including the one above. I was hoping to go on a sketching day down in the City today, but it was pretty rainy when I woke up, so I thought sod it, stay home and watch Spurs (we are currently losing 2-1 to Leicester, and I’m rethinking my decision). It was very hot on that day in September though. I don’t remember the temperature in Davis but probably about 110, it was during that horrible wave of extreme heat we had. San Francisco is usually about 30-40 degrees cooler at those times, the bay area having its natural cooling system off the ocean, but on this day it still felt very hot, and the Mission district is usually the warmest part of the city. A day of walking around, but a day of stopping and getting something cold to drink. I did want to draw this old theatre building on Mission though, I may have drawn it before but I wanted to get all the colour from the street. There were some characters around, music was playing, it was a classic hot day in the City. Mission is very much the main Latin American part of San Francisco and I always look forward to a delicious burrito here, and I love all the little shops and the colourful murals. I wandered about a bit down parts I’d either not been to or hadn’t seen in a number of years. there are changes along Mission, some older buildings gone, but it still feels like Mission. Something about Mission Street, I can’t explain it, but it feels a bit like some streets in London I know, feels familiar while also being completely different. We don’t have palm trees in London, and it’s usually cloudier. It was really hot though, and my foot was already hurting, so I went down 24th and found that old Irish pub I had been to once before (in 2008?), the Napper Tandy.
Spurs are losing 3-1 now, at half-time. Maybe I should go to San Francisco today, but I want to see how we get out of this in the second half. Let’s go back to September. I found the Napper Tandy, nice and shady inside, and got a cold beer (probably an Anchor Steam) and started sketching the bar. there were quite a few people in there, mostly regulars, a lot of people knew each other sat around the horseshoe bar. I remember that from when I went all those years ago, it was a pretty friendly atmosphere. There was live music from a band playing just outside the adjoining bar area, which was a little loud but provided a nice backdrop. I was in no hurry, and was too exhausted to explore more streets for a bit. I stayed for a couple and sketched, making it look greener than it is because of all the Irish stuff, but didn’t got for full colouring in. The music was getting a bit loud and I was starting to feel a bit antsy to explore more of this neighbourhood before the long trip back to Davis.
Well as I write, Spurs are now losing 4-1 to Leicester; they’ve gone down to City, while should have gone down to the City. The rain has stopped and it’s sunny out now, though I guess it’s still planning to be rainy down in the Bay Area, so I’ll stay at home. I just tidied the kitchen and ate breakfast while watching that Spurs ‘game’ on my iPad. I think the rest of the day will involve playing the bass a lot, and getting further into Horizon: Forbidden West. Anyway, this last sketch from that day in September was another old Mission bar, a historic saloon I had read about called Shotwell’s, at the corner of 20th and Shotwell. I’d never been to this part of the Mission before so it took a little exploring, and by the time I got there I was very in need of a cold drink. I loved this place, it was perfect on a hot sunny day. This saloon has a long history, going back to 1891, starting out as a bar at the back of a grocery shop run by a couple of German immigrants; after the 1906 Earthquake it just became a regular saloon and the lovely wooden bar that is still there was brought all the way from New England. The saloon had many iterations in the following decades, but became ‘Shotwell’s’ in 2006. You can read all about it on their website: https://www.shotwellsbar.com/history.html. I just had the one beer, while some people played pool and darts nearby, while some good music came out of the speakers. Alas, the BART, the Emeryville bus and the Amtrak train were calling, so I slogged through the hot streets for that burrito I’d been thinking about, and made the long trip back to heatwave-stricken Davis. I was planning to run a 5k the next day (some preparation huh), but I knocked that on the head due to a bad foot, the silly heat even at 8am, and just generally being knackered. Can’t wait to go down to San Francisco on a sketching exploration again. Maybe tomorrow.