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Your Food & Drink Survival Guide to San Francisco’s Weekend-Long Portola Festival at Pier 80

Written by Sarah HoltzPublished Sep. 22, 2022 • 12:48pm
John Lister has a drink with his dog Triton at the Sea Star. | Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

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There’s no shortage of local food options at San Francisco’s brand new Portola Festival. And judging by the two-day event’s 21+ age restriction, it seems safe to assume there’ll be no shortage of libations as well.

Making it from Saturday’s opening set by the city’s very own DJ Dials to Sunday’s curtain call—featuring competing sets by The Chemical Brothers, Four Tet + Floating Points and Lane 8—will definitely require nourishment.

You could wing it and make a snap decision based on the length of vendor lines. Shuggie’s Trash Pie, a trendy pizza joint based in the Mission, and Oakland’s Vegan Mob are both solid bets. Still, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

In addition to all the food and drink offerings inside the gates at Pier 80, there are a growing number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the surrounding Dogpatch—a neighborhood that continues to transition from an industrial hub to a residential center with plenty of entertaining amenities to match.

Read on for our guide to this burgeoning cultural enclave and plan ahead for brunch, pregame drinks and post-festival fun before and after the official party.

Saturday


The Most Important Meal

Piccino
1001 Minnesota St.
(415) 824-4224

Tucked inside a lemon-hued Victorian, Piccino’s brunch menu leans contemporary Tuscan, centering focaccia, marinated olives and an herbed omelet with fried chickpeas. The larger plates will certainly be hearty enough to fuel day one of Portola. The “eggs in purgatory” would only be more divine if Dante Alighieri rose from the grave and poached them himself. Brunch is on until 2 p.m. if you find yourself running a bit late.

Pregame With Pooches

Dogpatch Saloon 
2496 3rd St.

True to its name, Dogpatch Saloon is arguably the favorite watering hole within the neighborhood’s canine community. We advise water for the pups and cocktails for the humans. Someone may even let you stroke their Frenchie’s fur if you find yourself in need of some tactile stimulation. It’s unclear where the ownership stands on starting a cuddle puddle.  

After Hours

The Sea Star
2289 3rd St.
(415) 552-5330

This Third St. dive checks all of the post-festival boxes. It’s big, it’s open late and the place ranks among SF’s oldest bars—historic maps trace the Sea Star all the way back to 1899. The jukebox may not have anything by Charli XCX or the Chemical Brothers on it, but it’s possible you’ll want a vibe shift after a full day of breakbeats and bass drops. Catching the tail end of Bourbon Heritage Month, the bartenders just opened a Smooth Ambler single barrel that would make an excellent nightcap. 

See Also

Sunday


Hair of the Dogpatch

Hard Knox Cafe 
2526 3rd St.
(415) 648-3770

If Sunday rolls around and you need something to soak up everything that went down the night prior, Hard Knox has fried chicken and waffles to fit the bill. Chef Tony Hua grew up in a Vietnamese-American household and learned many of the menu staples alongside his Black godmother in Texas. The gravy-smothered oxtails whip if you’re feeling extra depleted.

Beer for Breakfast (Food Too)

Harmonic Brewing
1050 26th St.
(415) 872-6817

Harmonic Brewing’s lofty taproom and shaded patio is a solid pre-festival option blocks away from Pier 80. On Saturday, they’ll have live jazz by SF’s Down by Law and pop-ups by Super Smash Burgers, Duran’s Filipino-Cali Eats and Cuatro Quince mangonadas.

The Last Dance Party

The Midway
James Blake + Portola + Rhonda Intl Present: CMYK
900 Marin St.
(415) 301-4355

Once Lane 8 and Four Tet + Floating Points leave the stage on Sunday night, the dance party continues into the wee hours down the street at the Midway, with encore performances by James Blake, Channel Tres and more. A nod to his 2010 EP, CMYK is James Blake’s traveling afterparty brainchild, and it’s also a great chance to catch extended sets from acts you may have missed at Pier 80. VIP and last-chance general admission tickets were still available at the time of publication.

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Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]




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