City Guides: San Francisco - Nick Jefferson
Partner at Monticello LLP gives us his insider tips on San Franscisco.
Best hotel for business
The Intercontinental on Howard. I’m getting to a point in my life where those style-over-substance hotels have totally lost their appeal. I was in a hotel in New York recently and just couldn’t tell who was a guest and who was staff. All the beards were of exactly the same (cliched) length. Screw that.
If you get off a long haul flight, no matter how rock n’ roll you are, you want a decent room, that works, a good shower and the ability to get some room service if the fancy takes you. The Intercon provides all that, of course. It’s not the sexiest hotel in the world, and there are admittedly Partridge-esque aspects to the bar, but, then again, who drinks in the hotel bar?
The Intercon does what it says on the tin, it's well located (you can walk to the financial district, and also to some of the funkier parts of town) and, importantly, it’s not gonna make you look like a flash prick when you submit your expenses.
Best hotel for pleasure
Whatever you do, do not stay near Fisherman’s Wharf. I did this once. What a mistake. It’s like Camden Market with seagulls. If you haven’t been to SF before, you’ll want to head down there for an hour or so - not least to see the sealions. But then you will want get out, with considerable urgency.
I’d stay at The Four Seasons. Great location, great service and it’s a brand that just never, ever lets you down.
Best bar for celebrating
Depends who you’re celebrating with, I s’pose. And what your budget is. San Franciscans know how to drink, and there’s no shortage of great bars. Again, just avoid Fisherman’s Wharf. Unless you want to ‘celebrate’ with a grumpy French teenager and her bewildered parents.
Best bar for a business drink
Well, this is more for a coffee (or breakfast) than a ‘drink’ drink, but The Station on Kearny and Pacific is fantastic. Great coffee, lots of energetic, worldly-wise folks tapping away on their MacBook Airs eating fantastic, fresh Euro-infused Americana prepared by the brilliant chef, Chris Dressick. This place was recommended to me by a great Spanish friend - and the Spaniards know their food. Go, and eat sourdough (a San Francisco speciality).
Best restaurant for a business lunch
Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, Mexican. There are so many restaurants and every budget is catered for (and only you will be able to determine what that is) but Mexican food in SF is always authentic, and will knock spots of anything you’ve had in the Old Country.
How to spend an hour in-between meetings
Climb the Coit Tower. It’s an incredible testament to one beautifully eccentric, trouser-wearin', cigar-smokin', fire-chasin’, heavy-gamblin’ woman. Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who had a ‘special relationship’ with the San Franciscan fire service (make of that what you will), must have done ok on the tables in the end because she left a lot of money when she died, some of which was used to erect this fabulous tower. It’s a good climb, will shake off any vestiges of your flight, and it affords you the most spectacular view of this unique city.
If you only have time to do one thing in my city, do this…
Take a sweater. Seriously. Because of the fog, which comes in super-quick, the temperature changes so quickly that many out-of-towners get caught out, having left their hotel in blazing sunshine. No one wants to be that person. Least of all a ‘cool’ marketer, beard or no.
Nick is a partner at advisory firm Monticello LLP. Read more from him in our Clubhouse.
Read more City Guides in our Clubroom.