Zeitgeist is a must on a sunny day. They have giant cocktails, a good selection of beers and lovely barbecued food. Tamales from the Tamale Lady is a must if she comes in. Interesting people as well.
199 Valencia St (nearest intersection is Duboce Ave), San Francisco, CA 94103;
tel: (415) 255 7505
SF can be an expensive place, so if you want to get plastered on a budget, I recommend this place. It's a cheap bar - drinks for a dollar when I was living in SF a few years ago. It's not fancy, but it's not a total dive either, and you always get an interesting crowd in.
1535 Folsom Street in Soma (four blocks south of Market and 11th);
tel: 415 621 6087; www.theholycow.com
Out of town (an hour, maybe two) near the Napa Valley. Fantastic, friendly micro-brewery, really good restaurant plus reasonably priced and comfortable hotel.
This little city has many “hofjes” or courtyards hidden away between houses. Try the Begijnhof, an oasis of calm close to the bustling heart of the city. It’s on the Spui. A doorway in a terrace of houses leads you into this idyll where there is a lovely English Church dating back to 1400. Here too is the oldest house in Amsterdam, one of the few surviving wooden ones.
One of the publicity slogans that the city has is that while Rome has more sunshine, Amsterdam has more cafes. And it’s true. There are more than a thousand restaurants in Amsterdam. When the Dutch go out to eat, they rarely eat Dutch food which is like much of that from the hinterland of Europe based on root vegetables and geared towards high calories to combat the fierce winter winds from the North. Avoid the inevitable tourist menus around Dam Square and look elsewhere for somewhere a bit different.
Check that your choice of restaurant takes credit cards if that is what you’re paying with as there are many that still don’t take this form of payment. If you’re after a bit of dining in grand turn-of-the-century style then try 1e Klas, (First Class) which is in the former 1st Class waiting room at Central Station. Or for something unusual, The Sea Palace, a very large floating Chinese temple.
One of the nice things about this city is that it doesn’t matter where you sit in a bar or restaurant, the price is the same. By the way, the Dutch eat early and a lot of restaurants will have stopped serving food after nine. Also, it is legal to drink wine and beer from the age of 16 in Holland. And Holland is a paradise for beer drinkers with such a huge variety available, both local and imported.
Begijinhof: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 371; www.begijnhofamsterdam.nl/index_engels.html
1e Klass: Platform 2B, Centraal Station, in the centre; tel: 020 625 0131
The Sea Palace: Oosterdokskade 8; tel: 020 626 4777;
A friend took us there - very darkly lit piano bar with professional singers. I am not a professional singer despite my pretensions and even had a go. Fantastic cocktails.
4 Valencia Street, near the Castro;
tel: (415) 241 0205
Funky French bistro assembled from a decomissioned Parisian bar. Live music on the weekend, inexpensive lunches, intimate, discreet place for dates. Located between Union Square, the Financial District, and Chinatown. A true San Francisco gem.
7 Claude Lane, San Francisco CA 94108;
tel: (415) 392 3505;
This is a bar with a strong emphasis on good music near downtown SF. We went there a couple of summers ago and I can only assume the setup is the same. Music varies from hard rock groups to ubercool DJs. Listings are on the website. Reasonably priced too.
A great place for good music and a chance to meet SF's famed cool scenesters. Thoroughly recommended.
647 Valencia St (near 17th Street);
tel: 415 552 7788;
I don't recommend this well-known cider tavern for those with families. It’s on the outskirts of Frankfurt – in a place called Seckbach – and it’s very child unfriendly. They do not sell non-carbonated water, so we allowed a one-year-old baby to have some from a bottle we had in our bag. The owner was outraged and threw us out of the bar. I suggest steering clear.
Leonhardsgasse 2; tel: 069 47 91 28;
Just the comfortable, moderately-priced
restaurant one needs in Madrid to restore energies after exhausting sightseeing. A three minute walk from the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, half way up narrow street leading from Paseo del Prado to
Plaza Sta Anna and the old town.
Dining room is cool minimal Scandinavian and there's a comfortable bar to relax in downstairs.
Food is excellent: fresh ingredients, cooked with unusual flair, generous portions. Service friendly, attentive, English-speaking.
Good lunchttime set menus. 80 different vodkas.
Calle del Prado 15
Tel: 91 429 3659
The accomodation is chalet style, but comfortable. Each room has a separate theme, and overlooks a golf course. It has a decent restaurant with a fair selection of wines, and the locals use it, so it's not overpriced.
Try the Neckarmüller restaurant and bar at the Neckarbrücke (Neckar bridge) - sit inside for hearty German food including the local Swabian speciality, Maultaschen (literally "mouth-bags") like large Ravioli with a spinach based filling, or sit outside at the river's edge and sip the house brewed beer into the (hopefully) warm summer evenings.
Right beside the Neckarbrücke.
Hlucin is a town of around 15,000 people with an artificial lake, Sterkovna (Sterkac in local parlance), which has waterskiiing, windsurfing, swimming, mini-golf, and of course a few bars. You can go fishing on one side of the lake, too.
Hlucin itself also has numerous excellent bars, including the legendary "56", as well as some pretty decent restaurants and a couple of very good boarding houses. It's where lots of people chill out at weekends and it's a good place to relax with a few beers.
If you're lucky, catch the footy team at Hlucin stadium near the railway station. There’s a good pub at the station, and a great pub, "Gol", at stadium. Then continue the pub crawl down the road and carry on. Very friendly people, nice little cinema, good food and a nice place to sunbathe. Well played all round.
Take the 56, 34, 69, 70, 71 or 72 bus from Ostrava - should take only 15 to 20 mins. Get off opposite the "56" pub or hang on one more stop and get out at the bus station just near the main square.
Firstly for the breakfast - really good English breakfast and for those really indulgent days try their American breakfast. And if you've had a night of clubbing and can't face eating I really recommend their milkshakes - sets you right up for the day.
After the food, Una and Mitch, the owners are really friendly and always willing to provide all the information you need.
Calle Ramon Muntanter 49, Figueretes;
A fantastic restaurant with superb rooms. Well worthy of it's 4 star rating. The lamb I had tasted great and my wife's halibut looked even better. We got to see the rooms too, they're all themed and looked fab.
In the Market place of Cleethorpes
One essential word that you cannot survive in Australia without is ‘daggy’. And if you’re gay (or gay-friendly), and you’re in Sydney, and you know what daggy is, this is the place to come and express it. Palms makes a nice change from the posturing that you get in so many other places along Oxford St (one of Sydney’s main gay streets). People are friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed.
124 Oxford St (in the basement), just before you get to Taylor Square
Who said bingo is for oldies? This Sunday night event attracts all types and is a melting pot of gay London life. It’s hosted by drag queen Jonny Woo (like Tranny Lip Synching) and is the best way I can think of to forget your Sunday night blues (even if it means getting a Monday morning hangover).
Gay Bingo at the T Bar, in the Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St;
tel: 0871 223 5487
Undergound: Old Street, Liverpool Street
A gay bar with an alternative feel, the Metropolitan offers something unique. Rather than being full of Chelsea muscle boys you’re more likely to find a crowd decked out in vintage thrift. They have a great jukebox (New Order, Bjork etc) and if you’re musically inclined they have a queer karaoke night on Tuesday. In the summer they provide a free barbecue on Sundays, which is a bonus with New York being so expensive. Two for one drink specials on Tuesdays.
559 Lorimer St, between Metropolitan and Devoe (take the L train to Graham or Lorimer);
tel: 718 599 4444
German coffee is generally weak, tepid and bland, but this has the BEST coffee by a loooong shot (pun intended) in Leipzig. Coolest atmosphere, staff, music and in-crowd (who will kill me for telling you their secrets), top food and drinks and very reasonable prices. Warning - it opens at 6pm, but by 9pm it's standing room only. They will have a couple of big screens up during the World Cup for the fans.
Gottschedstrasse 12, on the west side of the central ring, 300 metres from Markt Platz, and just around the corner from the Sleepy Lion Hostel
This cafe, which is also a hotel, is a great, stylish place for breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner, drinks etc in the very centre of town. Has a lovely terrace right above the river Pegnitz. Try to grab one of the few secluded outdoor tables in the back. On a summer day, there's no better place to be: just you, the river, a few ducks, a gentle breeze... what else would you want?
tel: 0911 22 78 45;
Nearest U-Bahns: Lorenzkirche, Weisser Turm
The Gottschedstrasse is a street with lots of bars and clubs for various tastes. It’s between the city centre and the stadium, within easy walking distance from both. Try Luise (a pub), the more stylish Sol y Mar (a restaurant) or Night Fever (a disco-themed club).
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