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The Old West and indie music come together at the Hotel Utah Saloon, where a small stage, an antique bar, and a diversely stocked jukebox set the scene. A gigantic taxidermied elk head stares down upon drinkers in the main section, which is dominated by a beautiful old wooden bar on one side and a long row of picture windows on the other. The adjacent music area is split between a small balcony (shaped to look like the stern of a sailing ship) and an intimate downstairs section with a scattering of tables and corner booths. Meaty grub fills the menu during the day, while eclectic local bands and acoustic songwriters fill the calendar at night.
A while back, we asked a well-known foodie about where to find the best french fries in town. The answers appalled us somewhat: Oola, some restaurant that puts truffle oil on them, Zuni, and that unbearably smarmy place that specializes in fries and serves them in froofy paper cones with "housemade" ketchup and mayo were among the chosen. We don't have anything against frills, but fries, for us, are nullified by froof. So we say that, in addition to your favorite pub joint, Hotel Utah makes an uncommonly good basket, priced correctly at $4.50. The menu makes some concession to pedigree by describing the spuds as "hand-cut Kennebec potatoes," and they are dusted lightly with minced parsley, but it's nothing to worry about. Medium-sized and finding a nice balance between crispy little shards and softer (okay, greasier) center cuts, the fries here are tasty and come out of the kitchen surprisingly fast. If you want fancy, go for it. But if you demand loudish music and a place you can plunk your elbows on the bar, enjoy a beer, and read a mindless weekly publication, this is the french fry experience we recommend.
Tradition-versed critics love it, fanboys and girls adore it, and charts seem immune to it: Call it power pop, or indie pop — it's music based in the verities of the Beatles, Beach Boys, Big Star, and XTC, laced with contemporary wit and irony.... More »
There's a reason you haven't heard of New Spell — the local trio didn't even have a name until a few months ago — but no reason you shouldn't get in on the ground floor now that you have. March saw the release of its debut One More Day EP, which... More »
This is the part where we tell you how good Eleanor Friedberger's new solo album is. Eleanor, you may recall, is the feminine half of the Fiery Furnaces, which might just be the strangest power-pop b... More »
Due to some great clerical error in the cosmos, this guy is famous and Eliot Rose isn't. Yet. The Oakland-based (via Portland via Romania via New Haven) micro-fi troubadour has been hitting new stride... More »
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When you're ready to impress someone other than just your beloved with your songwriting genius, it's time to pick a Monday night and head to the Hotel Utah. This creaky old saloon has long been recognized as hosting San Francisco's best open mic night, and it's not hard to see why. First off, the smallish stage and two-story performance area help make the crowd seem less intimidating. The bar itself has a guitar you can use. The open mic night is hosted by successful regulars from the Utah's... More »
A while back, we asked a well-known foodie about where to find the best french fries in town. The answers appalled us somewhat: Oola, some restaurant that puts truffle oil on them, Zuni, and that unbearably smarmy place that specializes in fries and serves them in froofy paper cones with "housemade" ketchup and mayo were among the chosen. We don't have anything against frills, but fries, for us, are nullified by froof. So we say that, in addition to your favorite pub joint, Hotel Utah makes... More »
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