My Neverending Journey for “the spot”

You ever watch those TV shows, the ones where the main character and their friends always have a meeting spot that everyone magically knows to go to?

How I Met Your Mother

I always wanted one of those “spots” too. Back in college it was easy to find a place because square footage was abundant in Virginia Tech. My own apartment was always open to guests because we had so much common space that it wasn’t a problem to have people over here and there. Now, for those of us living in San Francisco, the morbid reality is that in order to have a place big enough to support a group of friends coming over one would end up having to ironically live so far away from the heart of the city that most folks don’t want to make the trek over.


So what are the options for most young adults here in San Francisco? Outsource “the spot”. I think I spent the better portion of my first year here trying to hunt down a bar or a lounge that was tucked away enough that there wouldn’t be too large of a crowd, yet still exciting and fun enough to go to. I thought I had found it when I bumped into a bar called Soda Popinski’s up in Nob Hill. Most folks that talk to me know that I proclaimed this bar for a long time to be my favorite spot in all of San Francisco. Most folks will also probably note that I don’t actually go there very often anymore nor do I actually mention it as a suggestion. So what went wrong? Remember earlier how square footage was quite the issue here in SF? Soda Popinski’s is no exception to that problem. I’ve found that there were days where I could go to Soda Popinski’s and it’d be super spacious, comfortable, and fun, and then there were Friday nights where going in there was suicide for the cleanliness of your shoes because it was so crowded someone was bound to step on them.

Honestly, I think this is a pretty common problem here for all groups of friends. I find it that way too often my friends and I are stuck in line for some sub-par venue just because there aren’t that many options for social gatherings here. I distinctly remember multiple nights where we all lined up to get into Temple at 10:30pm and there’s already an enormous line. Nobody wants to go to Origin anymore because the guy:girl ratio there is horrendous (so all of the girls in our group feel uncomfortable, and all the guys are bored), Vessel/Love+Propaganda is way too tiny, and a plethora of other venues all with their own unique set of problems.

That’s just the clubbing scene too. The bar scene varies here and there, but at least my experiences for nearby bars from SoMa/FiDi for happy hours are all way too crowded. One would have to travel farther away from the heart of the 9 to 5 workplace to find anything vacant enough for a couple of friends to actually sit down.

What’s the move? How does anybody find a spot for their friends to hang out? It’s definitely an ongoing battle. I’m constantly snooping around trying to find that potential next spot for folks to hang out at, but it’s definitely difficult. Most folks are still paying out student loans, trying to save money, and dealing with other financial constraints, so going out every day to a bar isn’t feasible either even if one suitable match is found. So what’s the solution?