This store qualifies as one of those definitely shady just for the tourist jewelry stores that abound in Chinatown and the Fishermans Wharf. They advertise that theyre known for their high quality diamonds and jade, but when I went there shopping for a gift, I looked at their wares, and they were mediocre at best. They sure were charging high quality prices though. Id look elsewhere.
The New China Book Store is an awesome book store right in the heart of Chinatown. If you want to see the real Chinatown, youre going to have to get off Grant and into the side streets. Thats exactly where the New China Book Store is. It is filled with all sorts of books on Asian culture, cuisine, architecture... really, if you can think of a topic, theyll have a book for it. They even have some books in Vietnamese, so I sometimes go down there and read during my lunch break.
A lot of Chinatown caters to tourists. In the tourist part of Chinatown, you will find extremely cheap souvenirs, little trinkets, funny novelty gifts, that kind of thing. It doesnt represent Chinatown at all, but it serves a purpose. The Oriental Auction Center is one of these tourist stores. Its a good place to bring a relative to, but if you live in the city, I see absolutely no need for you to ever come here.
Yeah, Ill admit it. Ive been here. Maybe even more than once. Im a guy, sometimes you just need some movies. That aside, I probably wont shop there again. Its a browsable place, if youre out with your buddies in North Beach, its good for a laugh, but dont buy anything. You can get anything here a lot cheaper on the internet. The anonymity is a lot better too.
City Lights Bookstore should be christened a historical monument. It has seen such great things in the past and still today, truly buzzes with a true sense of history. Jack Kerouac read here, it was a huge meeting ground for the original beat poets in San Francisco, and it has always held an anti-government, communist stance. They have a great selection of books too... things youd never find at barnes and noble.
Discount Sportswear down on Market Street sure does have lots of cheap clothes and other sports accessories, but frankly, its kind of scary. Its not located in the best part of town, like a lot of these kinds of discount clothes and electronics stores. Their merchandise seems totally fine, it is very inexpensive, and I have and most likely will shop there again. Its just a little scary.
Let me give you some advice my friends: On a Friday night when youre going drinking in North Beach, go to the San Francisco Brewing Company during its happy hour where they have $1.00 half pints. Sit at a table and ask the server to just go down the list, to bring you every beer on the list in order. In an hour, you will have tried 7 or 8 different fresh microbrews, youll have spent $10.00 or less, and you will have a great buzz and be ready to hit North Beach. Ready? Set! Go!
The Purple Onion used to be one of San Franciscos most revered comedy joints. It hosted all the big names of comedy in the 80s, especially Robin Williams. It also gave stage to a very exciting improvisation scene. Then, inexplicably, it just all died and went away. Thank god The Purple Onion is back and on the comedy scene again. You have to check out the fresh faces of San Francisco comedy and The Purple Onion is probably the best place to do it.
I was walking by Robert Domergue and Company, and on a whim, I decided to go in. Let me tell you my friends, it is AWESOME. They specialize in ancient European and Asian antiques. I have always been a history buff so this stuff really fascinates me. They have all sorts of pieces ranging from furniture to wall hangings to carved statues. It is all extraordinarily beautiful and to any collectors out there: check this place out!
I have been to Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar a few times now and I am not impressed. They have always seemed overpriced to me, the drinks I got there were watered down, and the food just wasnt that good. Not only that, but the scene sucks. Every time Ive been there, the place was full of depressed, lonely old men. Not the way I want to spend my evening.