In 1906, one of the worst earthquakes to strike the U.S. destroyed most of San Francisco. The ensuing fire burned what the quake didn’t destroy. 

The sole local survivor was the restaurant and bar Boulevard, which is still open today, standing proud across the way from the San Francisco Bay. 

To walk inside is to step back in time. It was designed after a 19th century commercial French buildings. The arched ceilings still have its original tile (a 1978 fire destroyed almost everything else of the interior). Dimmed set lights wind around the support pillars that give the inside of the restaurant almost a subway feel – but an old, gorgeous one. 

In 2010, Chef Nancy Oakes was named one of the top chefs in California by the James Bear Foundation. Her menu is a perfect blend of old traditions, and new sensibilities. I recommend sitting at one of the two bars. The first is up against the kitchen, so you can watch how the magic is made. I opted to sit at the more traditional bar, and talk to the servers and watch the crowds come and go. The range is wide at Boulevard, from football fans stopping in for one more drink after the 49ers game, the couples dressed to the nines for a Big Night Out. 

For a pre-dinner cocktail – or if you’re just stopping in for a drink – I recommend the Moscow Mule, which is served in a copper mug that keeps it ice cold. I’ve had this vodka and ginger drink everywhere from Philadelphia to Vancouver, and this was the first time I’ve had the drink served that way. I won’t want to drink it any other way again.