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Cici’s Cocktails, A Safe Haven in The Marina

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She don’t take no mess.

I work at a restaurant that happens to be situated in the Marina;  “Happens to be situated” because neither it’s concept, cuisine or clientele are emblematic of said District.  It’s a qualification I find myself adding when mentioning my workplace to friends or acquaintances.

Part of me wants to be self-deprecating in relation to my attitude towards The Marina.  But fuck, it really is some kind of grotesque, dirty-pink polyp, sizzling on the warped skull of the city. There’s a geographical barrier that separates it from the rest of the city:  a long, jewel-encrusted ridge stretching from Gough St. in the east to Lyon St. in the west, known as Pacific Heights.  Opulent mansions sit dug into the hillside, gazing benignly down at the hood and the glistening waters of The Bay beyond.   It’s a symbol for The Marina’s isolation not only physically, but also culturally.

The best thing about The Marina is learning how to flee the worst.

Cici’s Cocktails fulfills that function.  The bar’s namesake is the proprietor and owner, a pleasant middle-aged Peruvian woman who reigns over her dive bar kingdom with practiced grace, gliding up and down the bar and dispensing booze and repartee.  There’s a big, faded Persian rug on the floor and some nice antique furniture lining the walls.  A pool table and a jukebox offering anything from Sinatra to The Stones complete the picture.  Drinks are cheap (for the ‘hood) and they’re poured strong.  And, most important: it’s a tranquil, sparsely populated haven in which to rest one’s bones post-work or after having lost yourself down the sinister fun house mirror of upper class privilege and nauseating entitlement.

If you want to channel your inner Bukowski and just nurse a boiler-maker quietly without the riotous intrusions of, say, a private university’s entire water polo team on there after-game romp, then hit up Cici’s and drink up.  Oh, and don’t think shouting her name down the bar will get you your drink quicker.  She takes her time and so should we.


Cici’s Cocktails

2417 Lombard St. (@ Scott)


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Fatt Mink

Fatt Mink

I was born into a family of bookworms and staunch pinkos in downtown San Jose, California.
I lived in San Francisco from 2002-2016, during which time I studied music and Italian at S.F State and worked as a waiter and bartender in restaurants and bars both foul and divine; I credit my considerable experience in the industry with birthing my eternal burnin' love for food and booze, still a driving force in my life. I lived in Rome for 8 months in 2016 and then moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, where I currently write for a newspaper and play music.