Doorman Tom Sweeney, one of the most photographed people in San Francisco history, will retire from his position at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell Street, this week.

Since 1976, Sweeney has opened doors and hoisted luggage donned in his Beefeater costume in all weather. What was expected to be a summer job turned in to 43 years and 36 uniforms. Over those years Sweeney welcomed countless visitors to our City as its most photographed representatives, all without a newspaper column or an identical twin. Now a grandfather, the Richmond resident and native San Franciscan has no plans to relocate.


A year after moving into its headquarters at 415 Mission Street, Salesforce has opened San Francisco’s tallest building to all.

Everyone who loves the City should see the Transamerica Pyramid and Bank of America Building (2nd and 3rd tallest) AND the “Top of the Mark” Hopkins Hotel and Fairmont Tower (ex-Crown Room) all in the same view. (Also the Russ Building, tallest from ’27-’64!)

Sales Force Tower has opened The Ohana Floor atop Salesforce Tower in San Francisco to free scheduled public tours one Saturday a month. The program began Feb. 23. The 61-story, 1,050-ft tower opened for business on January 18, 2018.

From the archive: Above San Francisco


Marge Returns

by Mister SF on 12/20/2018

>> The San Franciscans

When the new Mel’s Cafe – a “concept” Mel’s Diner – opened recently at 1050 Van Ness Ave., Mister SF inspected the premises to make sure the portrait of Marge was placed in the restaurant. Marge was a real person who ran her own diner, Marge’s Place, near Ocean Beach before closing the joint and later appearing in the print ad seen here.

Shortly before she went to work for Mel’s Diner, Marge slung hash alongside a young Mister SF at Dudley’s Bar & Grill near the SF Hilton. Marge was extremely proud of her career as a proprietor. Her warmth and kindness also made her a memorable colleague. In fact, Dudley’s owner Dan Garcia actually ripped the phone out of Marge’s hand to fire me. Marge quit not long after. It was a good break for both of us! She was a proud lady whose legacy lives on.


Noe Awakens

by Mister SF on 12/23/2017

>> High on a Hill

Nestled in a cranny along the sidewalk at 233 Noe Street between Market and 15th, the Noe So Cute lemonade stand promises a reawakening. MisterSF recently noticed a decrease in activity at the whimsical landmark until we saw its latest offering, referencing the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

From treasure maps to power naps and gardenia advice, all manner of goods and services have been offered at the unattended stand since 2012.

Noe So Cute became a Tumblr account and hashtag the following year.

Duboce/Castro neighbors maintain the lemonade stand despite vandalism such as this Bastille Day massacre.


Nash Bridges Turns 20

by Mister SF on 03/15/2016

>> Cinematic SF

Nash Bridges, the San Francisco-based cop show starring Don Johnson premiered on CBS 20 years ago this week. Seen here filming on Bush Street in 1996, Johnson and co-star Cheech Marin became fixtures on the streets of San Francisco even before the March 16, 1996 debut.

Nash Bridges ran for 122 episodes from 1996-2001. The show is remembered for its City locations, mostly seen from Bridge’s yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible.

In early 2000, Johnson made headlines after he got drunk and hit on a woman at Mas Sake, 2030 Lombard Street, a Marina sushi restaurant.


2670 Geary Blvd. The Lucky Penny restaurant is scheduled to close at 9 p.m. tonight. A fixture at Geary Blvd. and Masonic Avenue since 1972, this used to be a Copper Penny Family Coffee Shop until its owner broke away from that once-thriving restaurant chain. Forty-three years later, fans of the dive, located squarely in the heart of the City, have come out in droves to savor the final breakfast – or burger and fries, “extra crispy.” The Lucky Penny will be razed and replaced with a seven-story mixed-use building to include condos, offices, retail space, and underground parking.

The Final Omelette.

The Lucky Penny became Mister SF’s go-to greasy spoon after Tappe’s Sutter Street Bar and Grill shut down in 2005. However, the atmosphere and food quality at the Penny have declined in recent years. Since spotting a mouse in the dining room earlier this year, we’ve been having our hash slung at Mel’s, 3355 Geary Blvd.

Now a veteran of several such closures of local favorites, Mister SF suggests that the Lucky Penny is reminding the gentle reader to enjoy everything while it lasts. There’s a penny for that thought somewhere, however, for the San Franciscan luck is always free.


Supervisor Aaron Peskin (center) reviews documents with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Angela Calvillo City and Attorney Dennis Herrera.

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin took the oath of office in City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s City Hall office today, about an hour before the regular Tuesday meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Peskin, a fiery former Board president who last served as a Supervisor in 2009, was elected to the post in November over mayoral appointee Julie Christensen. Peskin’s victory is seen as a rebuke by voters of Mayor Ed Lee, and of his housing policies in particular. Peskin is a staunch advocate for tenant’s rights whose district is among the hardest hit by evictions. Lee was also reelected this year.

Peskin addresses family members, colleagues, campaign leaders and friends following his swearing-in as District 3 Supervisor. Before the end of the day, Peskin could count the spiking of a $30 million sweetheart land deal, which had been favored by the mayor, among his first official acts. Welcome Back.


Mister SF remembers Marian Brown in an intimate portrait of an old friend and a San Francisco icon.

Dateline: 1468 Hyde Street, where Mister SF partakes of the final order of potstickers from U-Lee, as the restaurant closes today after 28 years. U-Lee was famous for potstickers that were not only delicious but also huge. They’ve been compared with fists and softballs more often than any other food item in San Francisco. Owner Ken Lee, who ran the restaurant with his parents, says plans are afoot for a new location near the Balboa Theatre in the Sunset District. Fingers crossed.

U-Lee’s famous potstickers. As regulars, we tried to keep it a secret – their fried chicken wings were fairly giant, too.

Midnight Sun Heralds New Day

by Mister SF on 03/01/2014

>> In with the New!

Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street

As evidenced by our archive, and all throughout City life, changes big and small are usually noticed. San Franciscans like attention to detail. But this one, both welcome and historic, received surprisingly little attention. The Midnight Sun bar in the Castro, open since 1971, recently turned a wall into a window. Such a simple thing. But if, like Mister SF, you happened to show up here at a Dynasty party in the early 1980s, or even rode by as an auto passenger then, you might have still found some men – not all – waiting in line to get inside, with their backs facing the street. It’s terrible to remember that even in the Castro, some gay men were justly afraid that a boss, a co-worker, or someone else would see them and wish to harm them for being at a gay bar.

At that time, the Midnight Sun, a video bar, was quite simply like a gay YouTube channel that served drinks. You had to show up in person, of course, and the fun increased ten-fold as soon as you learned the lines to every camp video from Bette Davis to Dixie Carter, played in rotation. (Here’s a primer: “Wipe my mouth!” and “the night the lights went out in Georgia!” in that order.) And Dynasty every Wednesday night.

The Midnight Sun, circa 1999

I always felt the wall outside of the Midnight Sun was a relic of fear and shame because of what I witnessed in my earliest days here. I also have a contemporary who tells an ancient personal story about crawling out through the back door of Alta Plaza [restaurant] in Pacific Heights to avoid his boss around the same time. The real triumph is how far we’ve come. – HD