Sailing fever blows into San Francisco
Starting 4 July, sailing teams from around the globe vie for a chance to race against defending Oracle Team USA at the 34th America's Cup. (Acea/Photo Gilles Martin Raget)
Anytime is a good time to be in San Francisco, but for seven weeks beginning 4 July there’s no better place to be than along the city’s stunning waterfront, The Embarcadero.
Here, a line-up of concerts, bayside restaurants and the world’s largest pop-up bar herald the arrival of the prestigious Louis Vuitton Cup, a challenger series that brings top-notch sailing teams from around the globe to vie for a chance to race against defending Oracle Team USA at the 34th America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in international sport.
“A natural amphitheatre, the San Francisco Bay boasts strong, predictable winds as well as tricky currents and tides, making for a challenging race course,” said Peter Rusch, America’s Cup spokesman. “It’s also the first ever America’s Cup to be held inside a bay, with spectators on shore able to see the action and follow the racing.”
Race days unfurl with an introduction to the day's programme and to the competing teams. The events are aired on flat screen TVs at the temporary America’s Cup Park, located at Piers 27 to 29, which includes a 9,000-seat concert venue and a Kids Zone. End-of-race interviews wrap up each day, but the fun continues into the night with top musical acts booked through October, including Weezer (25 July), 311 (1 August), Sublime (4 August), Train (11 August) and Steely Dan (17 August).
Hungry and thirsty revellers will enjoy off-the-water action too, starting at the waterfront America’s Cup Sports Bar. Claiming to be the world’s largest pop-up bar, the 12,000sqft indoor/outdoor watering hole will serve drinks from 11 am onwards by famed cocktail designer Scott Beattie. Expect some boating-themed cocktails along with his signature whimsical and artisanal creations.
Surrounding restaurants have also caught America’s Cup fever, with nautical themes peppering the menus. Spanish tapas restaurant Coqueta is offering the Oracle Cocktail (209 Gin, house-made anise tonic, elderflower, lemon, hibiscus and a splash of San Francisco fog) and a Podium Paella, made with squid ink and scallops. Local whiskey bar, Hard Water is pouring an America’s Cup Cocktail featuring whiskey, American vermouth and bitters. The Plant Café Organic, which spotlights healthy and locally sourced food, is dishing out appetizers such as raw oysters, scallops and crab cakes, as well as specialty cocktails with names like Fog Horn (gin, lime and ginger beer) and Now We Sail (champagne, LBV port, dark rum, triple sec).
Whatever your pleasure – eating, drinking or cheering on your favourite sailing team – plot a course for San Francisco’s waterfront and be a part of history.
Kimberley Lovato is the San Francisco Localite