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A Night At The Castro Theatre

(credit: Castro Theater)

San Francisco's performance scene is certainly diverse. One venue that is not to be missed is the iconic Castro Theatre. When a trip to the Castro is combined with a pre-theater drink at the nearby Blackbird and after-theatre Spanish-inspired tapas at Canela Bistro Bar, you have the makings for a perfect evening out on the town.

2124 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 503-0630

You will find style and sophistication in this congenial, mixed-crowd neighborhood bar where your Latin-themed evening can begin with tequila. Your barrel-aged tequila cocktail choice number one is "Adios, My Friend" with Campeon Silver Tequila, dry Curaçao, Pelaton mezcal, Sotol Reposado, bacanora and Luxardo Bitter. Choice number two is a carbonated cocktail on draught called "Paloma" with Blanco Tequila, pamplemousse, Pelaton mezcal and Kaffir lime. The Blanca tequila in a "Rosa Rita" is mixed with Cocchi Americano, strawberry rhubarb shrub and grapefruit.

The cocktail menu at Blackbird is seasonal, so these summer selections will shift in due course. If your theatre night falls on a weeknight, you'll hit happy hour between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Blackbird is within 40 feet of the Muni Metro Church St. Station, handy for an alphabet soup of transportation options, namely the J, K, L, M, N, F, T, 22 and 37 lines.

San Francisco's Castro Theatre, built 1922

Castro Theatre
429 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-6350

The fastest way between points A and B is a straight line. It is only a nine-minute walk along Market Street to San Francisco's official landmark No. 100.

As you approach the theatre, the striking neon sign and hand-mounted marquee are Castro District beacons. Stop by the 1922 box office as you pass through original wooden doors. Settle in to soak up the global architectural influences under an Art Deco chandelier strung from the impossibly high ceiling, while the pre-show live Wurlitzer organ pipes up.

Carefully curated films and restored vintage classics fill the calendar as well as cinema festivals, sing-alongs, special guest appearances, Q&A forums and perfectly paired double features.

Canela, Spanish dining flair near the Castro Theatre

Canela Bistro Bar
2272 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 552-3000

Make an after-theatre booking at this cozy Spanish bistro bar with interiors on the dark and sexy side. It's a five-minute walk from the Castro Theatre to Executive ChefMat Schuster's Canela Bistro Bar, where you can enjoy a traditional freshly-made seafood paella (served on Sundays) or a full course dinner accompanied by the best wines from Spain.

Alternatively, forgo the full-course dinner to indulge instead in what makes Canela so unique - its tapas. Start with authentic Spanish AXTA Vino Vermouth garnished with an anchovy-stuffed olive and orange slice, served in a beautiful cocktail glass, while making your selection. Small plates are perfect for sharing your candlelit late-night dining experience. Popular choices include mussels and chorizo, marinated lamb kebabs, roasted red pepper stuffed with sautéed greens and goat cheese in a tomato sauce, and seared garlic shrimp.

If your dinner party is more than two, raciónes are the somewhat larger tapas portions. And, if it's a rare, warm evening in San Francisco, be virtually transported to La Rioja via the house-made red or white sangria.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on


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