Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

You wouldn't know Mario's unless you know North Beach in San Francisco. It's a tiny old place nestled into a corner across from Washington Park.

The whole place is only about as big as your living room, but it contains worlds. And time.

You may know that there are dozens of these little Italian places in North Beach, each with it's own flavors and textures and art on the wall. The new bohemian young with their packs slung over their shoulders gather here for a drink, and maybe a bite, while finding themselves and each other and the meaning of life all seemingly inscribed on one small hand held sacred tablet equipped with a keyboard to call the universe back when it finally rings for them.  


But this is not a self indulgent cry in your beer sentimental return to the old days. It's a return, it's true. But to something so far gone that it's now someplace else with the same eensy bathroom that is literally a closet, like those of so many places in the older parts of the city. The same tables and chairs scraping across the same worn tile floor beneath the sound of the same Leonard Cohen barely audible from the same speakers above the multi voiced heads in the same room on a hot afternoon. 

What do they all do to feed and house themselves in this city, we wonder without envy, remembering the earnestness, the relationships, the jobs, the wandering loneliness of youth. We order up an old favorite sandwich, and what becomes a new favorite beer, and spend an hour or so in reflection on the new old streets, and the new old pedestrians, police officers, trolleys, and traffic. 

It's soooo very good. And lovely. And we won't need to do Mario's again for another long while. . . .

Coppola's Zoetrope Cafe.

TheTransamerica Pyramid. The tallest office tower in the city.

The Palace Hotel

Ciao! for now to The City by the Bay!


Sizzle and Zoom said...

These are drop dead beautiful photos of San Francisco like the post you did of the hotel. Gorgeous. I love little pubs like the one you showcased.

Blondie's Journal said...

Great post, Jacqueline and lovely pictures!! San Francisco is on the list!


Cozy Little House said...

Gorgeous scenic photos! And I always love your lyrical words.

decorator to the stars said...


Mel said...

I like quaint pubs too...the floors have just the right squeek in them...old floors..awe...I like old hardware stores too...just something about 'em...I can't get enough of... We've got a couple of them in our even let's their cats greet the customers...nuts and bolts stacked to the ceiling...isles and isles of tool heaven...I can always think of something I need for the cabin...just to make an excuse to visit the hardware ought to serve coffee so I can stay

Cottage and Broome said...

A cigar store and cafe my hubby would be in seventh heaven! Looks like it was a wonderful trip, thanks for sharing, Laura

ANNE said...

Marios, one of my favorite spots for a cappucino... always great people watching at Wash Sq... you're bringing me fun memories with these SF posts! Have you been by the Buena Vista? I know its a tourist spot, but locals like it too and they do have the BEST irish coffee!

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