My City: Flirty bartenders, yoga and a great dog park 

Faves and raves by Gabriel Haaland

Personal stats

AGE: 46

YEARS IN THE CITY: 15

NEIGHBORHOOD:
Haight

OCCUPATION: Union organizer

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Works for a union doing their political work, loves this great opportunity called life in politics, and believes that when people give you lemons, you should ask for tequila and salt!

FAVORITE DOG PARK

Duboce Park
WHERE: Duboce and Noe streets
WHAT: My dogs runs and lets me chat

It really is a question of which park my dog loves, not me, and hands down she loves Duboce Park, where she can run and run and run. My dog, Lucky, is a herding dog, an Australian shepherd, otherwise known as an organizer, and she loves herding dogs, humans and anything that moves.

FAVORITE GREASY SPOON  
Lucky Penny restaurant
WHERE: 2670 Geary Blvd., at Masonic Avenue
WHAT: Copper-penny-studded lunch counter, sassy waiters, open till 2 a.m.
INFO: (415) 921-0836

There actually aren’t many places you can go after the bars close in San Francisco, but this place is a classic. The lunch counter is studded with copper pennies, [and there’s] a television that plays all the time, a lotto machine and sassy waiters that keep it real. The chili cheese fries are divine, and the hot chocolate is inspired!

FAVORITE PLACE TO SOAK
Kabuki Hot Springs
WHERE: 1750 Geary Blvd., at Fillmore Street
WHAT: Alternate between the steam room, sauna and hot tub
INFO: (415) 922-6000 or www.kabukisprings.com

Sipping water with cucumber slices while alternating between the steam room, the sauna and the hot tub is my version of the Elsyian Fields, the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous in Greek mythology. In short, heaven!

FAVORITE PLACE TO BRING RELATIVES  
Cafe Gratitude
WHERE: 2400 Harrison St., at 20th Street
WHAT: A vegan restaurant to bring your meat-eating relatives to
INFO: (415) 830-3014 or www.cafegratitude.com

I love bringing my meat-eating relatives from a meat-packing town to Cafe Gratitude, a vegan restaurant in the Mission. They go home and tell the horror stories to each other for months about eating, gasp, raw food, and are terrorized by the notion that there are restaurants that don’t serve meat at all!

FAVORITE GAY BAR
The Lexington Club
WHERE: 3464 19th St., between Lexington and Valencia streets
WHAT: Sweet-woman-owned bar in the Mission, good tattoo watching
INFO: (415) 863-2052 or www.lexingtonclub.com

Totally sweet-woman-owned bar in the Mission. Again, the bartenders are both cute and flirty, and the customers are very friendly. Great place to go check out tattoos if you are trying to.

FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD BAR

Trax
WHERE: 1437 Haight St., between Ashbury Street and Masonic Avenue
WHAT: Mixed crowd, good drinks, everybody knows your name
INFO: (415) 864-4213

A gay-owned, straight-friendly neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name — and if they don’t, they want to. Drinks are both good and reasonable, music varies, and the bartenders are cute and flirty, no matter what your orientation.

FAVORITE YOGA
Bikram Yoga at Mission Yoga
WHERE: 2390 Mission St., second floor, at 20th Street
WHAT: Nearly pass out from the 105-degree heat
INFO: (415) 401-9642 or www.missionyoga.com

I did the $30 for 30 days deal several years ago and got hooked, despite the fact that I nearly passed out every time I went from the overwhelming 105-degree heat. The instructors are Burning Man-esque, tattooed hipsters who couldn’t be more friendly. At times, especially after I quit smoking, it has been a second home.

FAVORITE NATURE SPOT
Baker Beach
WHERE: Gibson Road, near 25th Avenue and California Street
WHAT: Stunning views of the ocean and the bridge
INFO: (415) 831-2750 or www.nps.gov

I love Baker Beach on those rare occasions when the temperature rises above 70 degrees, something that occurs usually in September, but never in the summer. There are stunning views of the ocean, the bridge, and a few breathtaking views of people!
 
FAVORITE BOOKSTORE

Modern Times
WHERE: 888 Valencia St., between 19th and 20th streets
WHAT: Independent and cooperatively run bookstore
INFO: (415) 282-9246 or www.mtbs.com

I can find union history books, queer- and gender-
theory books, and books that inspire both revolutionary ideas and a revolutionary spirit for our future. My favorite place to go on a foggy Sunday afternoon.

About The Author

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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