My City: Architecture, buffalo and offbeat theater

Faves and raves by Steven LeMay


Personal stats

AGE: Not 20 and not 60


NEIGHBORHOOD: Valencia Heights

OCCUPATION: CEO of Retro Fit LLC at 910 Valencia St.

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Small-business entrepreneur, creative designer, producer, director, actor, model, dancer, provocateur and all-around swell guy

Mission’s Kitchen
WHERE: 2738 Mission St., between 23rd and 24th streets
WHAT: Good food and friendly staff
INFO: (415) 648-1577

I love it because it’s not a “scene.” It has a diner feel, it’s not too fancy and the staff is always very nice. Plus I can watch the sexy Latino guys walk down Mission Street. Ha!

Ocean Beach
WHERE: At the end of Golden Gate Park
WHAT: Stand on the freezing, windy beach and gaze out at the ocean

Most people have this skewed vision of California beaches being all “Baywatch”-y, but Ocean Beach is usually freezing and windy. It’s great to just stand on the sand and gaze out into the immensity of the ocean, absorbing it all.

Valencia Street
WHAT: An amazing melange of people

My desk at my store looks out onto Valencia Street, which is great for people watching. Seeing the amazing melange of people stroll by, a mix of gay, straight, annoyingly trendy, bike messenger-y (but don’t own a bike), confused tourists and hot locals … What more could you ask for?

Coit Tower
WHERE: 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd., at Greenwich Street
WHAT: Multiple views depending on which direction you are looking
INFO: (415) 362-0808

Other than the amazing view off my back deck, which overlooks Mission Playground and a 270-degree view of The City, I would have to say Coit Tower. Even though it’s a very subjective topic about what you want to look at, at least Coit Tower has multiple views depending on which direction you are looking out.

Golden Gate Park
WHERE: From Stanyan Street to the Great Highway
WHAT: From museums to flowers to … buffalo?

It just offers far too much for every type of discriminating taste: art and natural history museums, stellar views, paths, the Conservatory of Flowers, windmills … and buffalo? (The buffalo are off JFK Drive, around 37th Avenue, by Spreckels Lake.)

WHERE: 853 Valencia St., between 19th and 20th streets
WHAT: Eclectic mix of music, with a neighborhood feel
INFO: (415) 970-0012 or

Amnesia is my favorite place to listen to music, and not just because I have a secret crush on the owner. I love the eclectic mix of music, coupled with the neighborhood feel. It’s beer and wine, which can get the die-hard boozies in a tiz, but I do love it there.

Take pictures of architecture
All over San Francisco
WHAT: Cross-section of architectural styles, one right after the other

I love to take pictures of San Francisco’s beautiful architecture. San Francisco is a very rare city with a wonderful cross-section of architectural styles. You can find almost any type represented and usually one right after the other.

Theater Rhinoceros
WHERE: 1360 Mission St., at Ninth Street
WHAT: Feels underground or subversive
INFO: (415) 861-5079 or

There is something about the almost dilapidated nature of the space that somehow makes you feel like you might be experiencing something underground or subversive. It’s the nature of the space that allows smaller-budget productions to take place, without taking themselves so seriously, and relying on the audience to forego a “fancy” theater experience.

The Castro Theatre
429 Castro St., between Market and 18th streets
WHAT: Its ambiance and architectural beauty
INFO: (415) 621-6120 or

When I do venture out to the movies, if I can pass up the Metreon or AMC, I will do so in favor of seeing something at the Castro Theatre. The ambiance and architectural beauty of the theater are definitely an intrinsic part of the experience of seeing a movie there.

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