Much Ado in San Francisco

San Francisco Jazz Center
San Francisco Jazz Center

Last year the San Francisco Jazz Organization opened the $64 million San Francisco Jazz Center, marking the U.S.’ first stand-alone concert hall dedicated to jazz. The center is a freestanding performance venue with flexible seating and an inviting transparent design that opens up the city’s popular Hayes Valley neighborhood.

“The architectural concept of the venue is one of transparency, connecting this community in a multitude of ways,” says Mount Allen, the center’s director of operations. “Most obvious is a series of floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around much of the facility, allowing folks a clear view from the street to the stage.”


While the center specializes in its own jazz-specific events, the 35,000-sf venue can be rented for up to 700 attendees, featuring a 700-seat performance hall, three rehearsal spaces, a digital music lab and dedicated space for education and professional development.

“As an organization, the San Francisco Jazz Organization understands what it means to come into a venue and execute an event,” says Allen. “We also have venue professionals who understand how best to make the event work in this unique space for our clients. It’s a perfect merger of perspective.”

Foodies staying at the 336-room Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, are in for a treat with the hotel’s new “Inside the Kitchen” program, which features several culinary tours led by local celebrity broadcaster Liam Mayclem.

One of the tours offers insight into the city’s cocktail culture through nostalgic bites in Comstock Saloon, Tiki lessons at Smuggler’s Cove, whisky tasting at Hard Water and a tour of Burritt Room, a high-end San Francisco lounge with handcrafted cocktails.

“San Francisco has so many places to see and eat. So, for groups that are visiting for a short period of time, this provides an incredible dining sample from some of the most famous restaurants in a consolidated 4.5-hour tour,” says Ritz Carlton, San Francisco’s Senior Sales Manager Johanna Provenzano.

Up to 12 attendees will be provided luxury, round-trip transportation to all the tours’ stops. The day will conclude with a 4-course meal at The Ritz’s Parallel 37 restaurant, featuring local cuisine. Up to 10 guests can take a seat at the chef’s table with privtae dining for 20 guests nearby.

In other news, the Port of San Francisco is renovating Pier 27 into a cruise terminal and public plaza, which will officially open this fall. Not only will the new terminal accommodate the growing needs of the cruise industry, it will also make room for events on a spectacular pier that fronts some of the city’s best views.

The James R. Herman Cruise Terminal will host the 60 to 80 cruises that visit San Francisco every year. On days when the terminal is not hosting cruise guests, about 60,000 sf of space will be available for special events.

Massive windows on first and second floors will make guests feel like they’re already on the water. The first floor has roll-up glass doors that can be left open during events. Guests will be situated on the mezzanine area that overlooks the bay on the second floor, with views of Bay Bridge and Alcatraz in the distance.

Phase 1 of the project saw the demolition of Pier 27 and updates to the core and shell of the terminal, just in time for the city to host the 34th America’s Cup. Updates to Northeast Wharf Plaza will add 2.5-acres of open space to the western end of the new Pier 27.

“The facility will offer flexibility, a prime location, modern features and on-site parking,” says John Doll, development project manager for the Port of San Francisco. “Not only do you get the views of the bay, but when you’re in the park area, you’re right at the foot of Telegraph Hill. It’s probably one of the premiere waterfront sites in San Francisco.”