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!