Parking karma was really not on our side today. The day started with my alarm deciding to take the day off, and taking the decision on my behalf that waking up at 8am on a Sunday is just unacceptable. I woke up at 9am, right about when I had planned to be on the road, to go to San Francisco – a friend of mine had invited us over to her place for a home-cooked brunch. I picked up another friend in San Francisco and headed to Nob Hill. We circled around for a full half hour to try to find a parking spot, any parking spot. We stalked people if they seemed to be reaching into their pockets for car keys, hoping to following someone about to leave. We definitely earned that feast of a brunch spread that was waiting for us.
Brunch flowed effortlessly into a movie after, and then two of split off and decided to just roam around a little bit more and make the best of the amazingly sunny, warm and clear day. We eventually found a spot at the Presidio near the coastline but high up in the hills, so we had an amazing view looking onto the pacific with the golden gate bridge a-peeking through the tall cypress trees. An easy two hours passed as we hung out and caught up, enjoying the warm sunlight on our faces while the sea breeze kept us cool and comfortable.
By then, we were thirsty, and decide a stop at a local café was in order before we parted ways. I drove, lazily weaving our way through the streets, as my friend yelped. We found a café we wanted to try out and made our way there. The quest for parking began again. We circled. We waited. We stalked. We circled some more. To no avail. We laughed about our parking karma, and kept going further out until we spotted an available spot. To our thinly veiled amusement, we saw that we had parked right outside another café. We shrugged, and decided to go into Bazaar Café instead.
We went in and got chips and salsa and wine for my friend. The café was super cute, with tables set out with some old fashioned high-backed wooden chairs. There was a separate alcove with bookshelves, and a small round table with two chairs. There was another separate mini-room, with another two-seater table next to a half wall with a view into the main room. Choices!
I noticed that there were a couple of musicians in the café, setting up their instruments. Apparently we had just walked in minutes before their live performance was about to begin – imagine the pleasure of the serendipitous surprise find!. As we moved over to our table by the half-wall, we realized that the three others at the café were all part of the group of friends who play with each other regularly, all gathered here to play.
We settled in to enjoy the music. The first musician had an incredibly melodious voice as she played the piano to accompany her singing. The second set was a duet – her on the piano and vocals, and him on the cello. Lilting tunes and poignant lyrics. Best part was how much fun the friends seemed to have playing with one another and playing for each other. There were a couple of other customers who trickled in from time to time, but overall, they were playing to a very small and intimate audience.
As I relaxed and enjoyed the original renditions, I looked around and noticed the quirky décor. Behind the counter, there was a large oval mirror. There were two large ceiling fans, with rotund light fixtures. The menu boards were placed over the oval mirror, illuminated by the fan-lights. There were additional order boards, announcing a “Campbell’s tomato soup” with a grilled cheese sandwich, among other things 🙂
To add to it, there were toy dinosaurs scattered throughout the café! At least a dozen ones right by the half wall we were seated next to (imagine a wall with a cut-out lookout), and one artfully placed at the base of the table lamp at our table
Not really a café that you’ll come running back for the food. The chips and salsa we were served was likely out of a bag and a store-bought jar. I did hear a microwave beep when another customer was being served their order. The music though, was incredible. All along the front of the café, there are instruments and speakers lined up – they consider themselves a “consignment gallery” as well. So all in all, cute, quirky, and just so mellow.On our way out, we checked out their schedule of events, and it looked like they have something happening every evening, including comedy nights! What an amazing find.
Bazaar Café was a quirky, surprise ending to a lovely, relaxing day spent with friends – I’ll definitely be back!