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Local Insights: San Francisco | Fall 2012

Local Insights

Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios offers his top recommendations for enjoying fall in San Francisco.- By Lauren Zakich

Antonio Barrios and The St. Regis San Francisco concierge team know all the best places to play, shop and dine in the Bay Area. Here, he offers insider advice for making the most of fall in the city.

Culture and Festivals

When September rolls around, locals and visitors alike gather at festivals for a variety of entertainment and distinctive drinks. “The month of September kicks off with a string of outdoor art and wine festivals along the (San Francisco) Peninsula,” says Antonio Barrios, chief concierge for The St. Regis San Francisco. He recommends THE SAN FRANCISCO FALL ANTIQUES SHOW, which he says is the oldest continuously operating international antiques show on the West Coast, bringing around 70 European dealers to Fort Mason Center each year. (Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street; 415-989-9019; sffas.org)

Get a taste of the culture this fall—Barrios suggests both Oktoberfest by the Bay and The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza. “OKTOBERFEST BY THE BAY, a nod to the tradition of Munich’s famed festival, will include nonstop music, singing, dancing and the very best in German food and drink,” he says. (Pier 48; 888-746-7522; oktoberfestbythebay.com)

“As we head into November, THE SINGLE MALT & SCOTCH WHISKY EXTRAVAGANZA at the Intercontinental Hotel gives novices and enthusiasts the opportunity to sample around 120 rare single whiskeys,” he adds. (Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard St; 800-990-1991; singlemaltextravaganza.com)

Wine Harvest

Fall is wine season in Northern California, and there are plenty of experts who can guide guests to an ultimate wine excursion.

Napa Valley is one of the most sought-after destinations for wine enthusiasts, with an endless number of vineyards, winery tours, tastings and scenic views. While Napa is definitely a key point for wine lovers, Barrios expresses interest in another wine country location that guests may indulge in. “Sonoma Valley has much to offer—it’s unique and less commercialized,” he says. “I particularly love to visit Copain and Lancaster Estate.” COPAIN WINES is a classic winery with a lush vineyard for scenic delight. (7800 Eastside Rd., Healdsburg; 707-836-8822; copainwines.com)

LANCASTER ESTATE is a family owned winery that produces wines that stay true to their origins. With 53 acres of vineyards, Lancaster Estate provides guests with relaxing, tranquil views and opportunities to share their mutual love for wine. (15001 Chalk Hill Rd., Healdsburg; 707-433-8178; lancaster-estate.com)

Other beautiful wineries Barrios enjoys include DRY CREEK VINEYARD, another family owned tradition, DUTCHER CROSSING, which is great for events and gatherings, and MAURITSON FAMILY WINERY, just down the road, which he says is well worth the visit. (Dry Creek Vineyard, 3770 Lambert Bridge Rd., Healdsburg; 800-864-9463; drycreekvineyard.com. Dutcher Crossing, 8533 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg; 866-431-2711; dutchercrossingwinery.com. Mauritson, 2859 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg; 707-431-0804; mauritsonwines.com.)

Artistically Infused Food

San Francisco incorporates art into everyday life. When it comes to restaurants and bars, Barrios knows exactly where guests can enjoy food and a complementary artistic atmosphere.

Barrios recommends ATELIER CRENN, where he says the cuisine truly imitates art. “At Atelier Crenn, it’s all about the design—it’s almost like a landscaping of food,” he adds, commenting on the restaurant’s poetic approach to food, which is handcrafted and arranged like a work of art. (3127 Fillmore St.; 415-440-0460; ateliercrenn.com)

“Though not new, I also send guests to FARINA in the Mission, known for its pesto and earthy, simplistic take on Italian cuisine,” Barrios says. “They’ve just opened the new rooftop dining terrace.” Farina offers guests an upscale dining experience with age-old Italian recipes and the finest imported ingredients. Located conveniently among the art and performance centers, bars, live music and excitement of the Mission District, Farina is great for a special night out. (3560 18th St.; 415-565-0360; farina-foods.com)

For a more whimsical dining experience, Barrios suggests STATE BIRD PROVISIONS, a restaurant that he says got its start from a recipe for serving quail. With a menu and wine list that changes weekly, State Bird Provisions stays on top of food trends and ensures that all ingredients are fresh. Enjoy a meal at State Bird Provisions for an inventive, contemporary American vibe. (1529 Fillmore St.; 415-795-1272; statebirdsf.com)

Gems of Union Square
Guests who want to bring back something special from their getaway can head to UNION SQUARE for the best in designer jewelry and fashion. “Union Square is definitely the place to shop, with an extensive collection of fine jewelers clustered within a two-block radius, including Bulgari, Graff, Shreve & Co., Tiffany & Co. and De Beers,” Barrios says. Elegant Bulgari jewelry makes the perfect gift for that someone special or for a personal splurge. Tiffany & Co. is a classic favorite, while Shreve & Co. provides timeless yet contemporary jewelry designs and products for any occasion. Guests can enjoy the outdoor city landscape and scenery while strolling through the bustling square. (Union Square, visitunionsquaresf.com)