‘It’s turned a negative into a positive’: How parklets have changed the face of SF for the better

This article was written by Tessa McLean for SFGATE.

The Page is a quintessential San Francisco dive bar. Old-timey photos and taxidermy adorn the dark brick walls, a letterboard menu hangs in lieu of anything printed and a flickering chandelier is suspended in the center of the space.

If you’ve visited the bar before, you may be surprised that I just was describing the bar’s new parklet and not the interior.

“We were trying to bring the indoors outside since it’s such an indoor bar,” said owner Bob Wait. “We wanted touchstones from the interior. I saw some [parklets] I didn’t want it to look like. There’s a template that doesn’t need to be followed.”

Mattie Breen, a neighborhood regular, had experience in construction in addition to his regular work as a tattoo artist and multimedia artist, and offered to help Wait design the parklet. He said an architecture firm also helped out and assisted in bringing their vision to life.

But it wasn’t cheap. Restaurants and bars continue to struggle to survive a now seven-month-long pandemic, especially those bars that didn’t traditionally serve food, like The Page (they have since teamed up with two restaurants next door to serve burritos and pizza alongside their alcohol). An investment of $12,000 to build something that could be ordered by the city to be dismantled on Jan. 1 was rough to think about.

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