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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Medjool Sky Terrace - 2522 Mission Street

With the fabulous 70 degree weather Friday night, it felt more like San Diego on a warm summer night than San Francisco in the middle of November. Thankful for the beautiful weather I was ready to spend my Friday evening at Medjool’s Sky Terrace on the roof of 2522 Mission Street.

To get to the Sky Terrace I entered Medjool’s main restaurant/bar/club entrance and passed the vast open room lined with empty tables. The short bar along the right side of the room was equally deserted with only two patrons. I made my way to the hallway which featured a reception desk for the Elements Hotel/Hostel and an ATM machine warning prospective Sky Terrace patrons that the rooftop bar was a cash-only establishment. Thankfully, I came prepared so I was able to forgo what I am sure was a ridiculous ATM fee. Yelpers describe the elevator to Medjool’s rooftop as rickety and slow and I couldn’t agree more. In the time it took for the elevator to reach to the rooftop, I could have easily hiked up the four floors on foot, ordered a beer and taken a sip in time to toast the elevator’s arrivals as they emerged from the hollow death trap.

A full moon dangled heavily in the sky and a warm wind slid over the exposed roof. Stella in hand I took in the San Francisco skyline enjoying the bright lights of the City –recognizing that this was not only one of the best vantage points in the Mission, it was also, by far, the best view I had experienced on Mission on Mission. In the absence of available stools and a place to put my beer, I leaned up against a pillar by the bar and began to scope out the terrace and its guests.

With a standing no-reservations rule, the tables scattered across the rooftop are on a first-come-first-serve basis. As a “party of one” my prospects for a coaster and comfortable seat remained limited. With no “home base”, I felt a bit hobbled and found it difficult to navigate the rooftop landscape—it wasn’t hard to tell that this is a bar that caters to groups of two or more. I asked a group of women if I could join them at their table and was confronted with sideways glances then offered a free chair—not to sit in, but to take with me and sit somewhere else. Deciding not to pursue the opportunity, I figured it best to return to my duty of buttressing canopy’s support pillar. Flying solo at Sky Terrace is definitely a liability.

Once again, finding comfort in my spot I took in the mixture of perfume, cologne and cigarette smoke. The rhythmic echo of high heels on the wood floors accompanied a decent selection of music playing over the loudspeakers. Everyone was dressed up for a Friday night out in the City and it appeared that this was their first stop of the evening. Women in precariously high heels, shiny dressy tops and tight jeans seemed to dominate the landscape as guys walked around in their patterned embroidered button up shirts, jeans and glossy black shoes. Outside of the few couples who came to enjoy the nice weather and the view the majority of the crowd was comprised of crews of men scoping out the action, and looking for opportunities to infiltrate any group of girls who would give them the time of day. Likewise, I noticed a few prides of mountain lions and cougars roaming about – waiting for a weak 20-something guy to fall away from his pack. It couldn’t have been more clear—these people were not from San Francisco.

For those coming up to the City for a night on the town the appeal of Medjool is undeniable—Sky Terrace is a great place to start the evening, have a drink and check out the panoramic views. There’s also an opportunity to have a light appetizer while you wait for the dinner hour to end so you can head downstairs and watch the restaurant transform into a dance club. A one-stop-shop of sorts, Medjool is anything you want it to be—a bar, a club, a restaurant, a patio—and while the view is great, one thing is painfully obvious—being all things to all people, Medjool is pretty mediocre at everything.

A little disappointed at the lack of hipster patrons, seating and the high price of beer I decided it was time to call it a night. Having had one successful trip that evening, I decided to cut my losses with the elevator and take a trek down the stairs. As I hit the first floor landing, I had to wonder how many drunks had made the same decision only to find themselves eating concrete before heading home.

For a hot November evening in the City I got pretty much all I could ever ask for at Medjool’s Sky Terrace—except for maybe a place to put my beer.

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