Viewing Guide, The Pavilion And Cheap(er) Beer Bars Tips
Bring on the boats.
And the beer.
And the Kiwis!
The America’s Cup sailboat race is taking place in San Francisco and as a first-had observer I can tell you it’s a great party!
There are international people which gives it a bit of an Olympics atmosphere, along with a kind of PGA Tour element of sponsor tents (except they don’t charge you every step of the way) of a major sporting event. Plus, it has the California causal attitude of this hip City By The Bay. It’s nearly perfect.
The only thing missing is warm water and bikinis. The water here is a bit too cold her for that added element.
But hey, what you have is people sitting out a jetty with coolers, free grandstands at the start line (there are paid grandstands, as well) and an awesome America’s Cup Village pavilion that consists of NFL Experience Super Bowl-type of activities, a concert venue and seaside bar/restaurants.
For free, you can walk around the grounds and see the USA race against New Zealand in spectacular catamarans that actually lift out of the water.
The racing schedule is thru Sept. 21, but the Kiwis are determined to make sure the weekend of Sept. 14-15 ends the thing so they can have their own parry. And they certainly have their own bar to do it, a temporary facility just to the left of the pavilion entrance, and it’s open to everyone (the cute blonde bartender, by the way, is an Aussie!). Races occur on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
If you are are at the start line, the Golden Gate Bridge is in the background. If you are at the finish line, along Pier 23 about two miles from Fisherman’s Wharf, you are at the party pavilion.
Here’s what I suggest: Start the day at the jetty. There are two races a day, at 1:15 (appx) and 2:15 p.m.. The races only last about half an hour and there is a half-hour break in between the events. Take refreshments and a sandwich or lunch out to the jetty and soak in the atmosphere (there’s small stand selling hot dogs for $6, sandwiches for $11 & $12 and the breadbowl chowder for $9) to enjoy this beginning element, and after the first race, take a pedicab (about $15) to the pavilion.
You COULD walk it – and it’s very pleasant walk along the water and through Fisherman’s Wharf – but it will take 30-40 minutes even for those with a brisk pace. Another great option is to rent a bike; there are a couple of places to do that at the Wharf.
Watch the second race from the pavilion. This is an almost Olympic-type atmosphere, so soak in the full scene of the America’s Cup. There are a few temporary bars but be warned beers are $10-11 (why do all events feel the need to charge such prices!??? This is my only complaint.) You can go to the Kiwi bar at the front and get a good pint of New Zealand beer for $9, or $6 for Happy Hour till 7.
Or you can go next door to one of San Francisco’s best waterside bars, Pier 23, and get a beer for $6-7, and there’s outdoor seating in the back and on the side, though you can’t see much of the racing from here.
Anyway, this is a great event and if you are in the Bay Area, watch the races and soak in the fun atmosphere of this international event.