(4) Vesuvio – Implementation (Action Plan): Interpretive Project Profiles

Plans of Action for Vesuvio:

Click on this link for a look at the PDF file of our complete Interpretive Plan for Vesuvio.

We have many ideas to further integrate Vesuvio into the San Francisco community. We also want to welcome and increase the diverse populations of locals and tourists from around the world that interact with Vesuvio both in person and virtually. Our ideas include the promotion of safety measures; preservation precautions; the pursuit of different heritage and historical statuses; a greater use of technology for advertisement, economic and artistic prosperity; and the “digital preservation” of the bar. We hope that these ideas introduce unacquainted residents of San Francisco and the world to Vesuvio, connect them to the bar’s history and future projects, maintain established community events, and inspire more to come.

Short Term


Exterior of Vesuvio, 2011.

In the short term, or the next five years, our aims for Vesuvio are to engage the local and tourist public, utilize technology for both publicity as well as documentation, and ensure safety at the bar.

This means that Vesuvio should continue current events they host such as “Art in The Alley,” “Jazz in the Alley,” and “A Fair to Remember” and their ongoing art shows, which reach out to the broader San Francisco community. Our team proposes to introduce a new event, a “Caption Contest,” that encourages the community to interact with the artwork at Vesuvio on an ongoing basis.

The beats_vesuvio 30_CHM9386

A Vesuvio-sponsored benefit for the SF Art and Film for Teens project, November 11, 2010. Photo courtesy of Conrado Henriquez.

Some of our more engaging ideas involve the implementation of technology and social media. One way to use these tools is with an advertisement and networking campaign that integrates the bar’s re-designed website and Facebook page into a more widely accessible, user-friendly format. Published updates would be for Vesuvio’s hosted art exhibitions in order to increase exposure of the showings; reach out to interested artists and patrons, spread the word about other Vesuvio happenings like World Cup screenings, fundraisers, and all-age, community events; give some contextual information about the bar’s history; and provide a place where patrons can interact with and comment on their favorite aspects of this long-time hangout. We suggest these events be photographed both for documentation purposes and as reference to enrich other new media as it becomes available.

Another ongoing project is the development of a new-and-improved website as the current one is out of date. This interactive space will also demonstrate another technological endeavor, the GigaPan documentation project that came about in collaboration with Professor Michael Ashley’s Spring 2011 Digital Documentation and Representation of Cultural Heritage class at the University of California at Berkeley. The GigaPan software captures high-definition, panoramic photographs that can be made available online as well as embedded into other media formats. The main benefit of this technology is that it allows the viewer to zoom in extremely close on specific elements of the scene, which reveal images usually hidden in a standard digital photograph. This feature is particularly valuable to us as anthropologists because we would like to use this technology on Vesuvio’s re-designed website to document the bar’s tangible heritage such as its artwork and specialty drinks, in addition to providing other intangible, anecdotal information such as stories behind the origins of a drink or the history behind a work of art. Shots were taken of the mural on Vesuvio’s exterior wall in Jack Kerouac Alley, the view inside looking down over the bar from the balcony, and the entire bar area on the main floor (see image and link below). For other examples of the projects Ashley and his group produced, see their image gallery on the GigaPan website. To view some behind-the-scenes photos of how the class made this magic happen, go to their Flickr account that documents all of their hard work.

To view Vesuvio’s finished interactive GigaPan imagery of the photo below click on this link.

Click on image to view in full screen.

We also recommend increased planning and safety measures be designed and taught to the staff in the event that there should be an emergency. Specifically, crucial tools such as an earthquake-preparedness kit is highly advisable.

It is also suggested that Vesuvio continue in its pursuit to be environmentally friendly. Currently, all glass, cardboard, paper, and plastic bags are recycled, energy-efficient lighting is utilized where possible, low-flow toilets have been installed, and “Eco Friendly Cocktails” are offered that include organic wine, vodka and sake.


Vesuvio's Eco-Friendly Cocktails. Photo courtesy of photobucket.com.

Medium and Long Term


Gas-lit chandelier and Calso the black cat at full alert and on guard above the bar, 2011.

For our Medium-Range Plan (to happen over the next 5-10 years) we suggest that Vesuvio apply to become a San Francisco Local Landmark by working to implement the requirements of the the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board that ultimately would decide their case. Two features that are in Vesuvio’s favor are its connections to crucial figures of the Beat Movement, and its unique lighting fixture – the last gas-lit chandelier in the city – that ultimately could be the deciding factors in this campaign. Once landmark status is established, Vesuvio would then be designated an official Historic Structure, so it is recommended that Vesuvio investigate TPS Tax incentives for preservation that it would then be eligible for in order to maintain the integrity of the building.

We hope that this time period past traditions of the bar are also revived, such as “The Bartender’s Bike Race,” which in days past was a popular event on which even the local paper looked forward to reporting.


Two Vesuvio waitresses win an award, 1962.


Saloon keepers bicycle race, 1962.

In the long term, we hope to find ways that Vesuvio can expand the public’s exposure to its art showings by incorporating  a larger, more diverse quantity of work that requires a larger amount of space than Vesuvio can currently offer. After years of building a base of art enthusiasts through the social networking and other online projects we recommend, we propose a collaborative project with Cookhouse, Vesuvio’s upstairs neighbors. Cookhouse is both a location for dinner parties and a unique catering service that occupies the top-floor loft space of the building. Vesuvio could host art openings in the bar downstairs while simultaneously using the loft as a “spill-over” room for the opening’s guests as well as extra space in which to display pieces that do not fit in the bar itself. The art could then be left in the loft to be viewable during upcoming Cookhouse events. This would expand the potential sales market for the artist and add an interesting aesthetic to the room for the guests of the catered event.

There are also hopes for a Vesuvio Museum, where the documented artwork from the Bancroft Library as well as sample art pieces could be hosted.

Click on image to view in full screen. Location of Vesuvio designated by red arrow. Within red box is San Francisco's public transportation near Vesuvio. Map courtesy of baycityguide.com.

Finally, we suggest that the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) transportation system, which is the main public transport for most of the Bay Area, be expanded into the North Beach neighborhood as it does not currently function in that part of the city. Personal vehicles and Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) buses are presently the only ways (other than by walking) to get to the area. Buses are widely accessible and several stop on the same block as Vesuvio, but they often require several transfers from other bus routes. It would be easier for most people (both visitors and locals) if the BART system that originates downtown, could provide a direct link to North Beach. The city’s famous cable cars do intersect parts of the neighborhood and are another option for transportation, but the routes do not pass by Vesuvio directly and require some neighborhood navigation that might intimidate a tourist unfamiliar San Francisco streets. Parking is restrictive at best for those who wish to drive into North Beach and only street parking is available near the bar with little prospects for any more space to be allotted for parking lots or garages as the densely populated area lacks the space needed for such projects. We therefore prefer to focus on public transit, which would also be the more environmentally friendly direction to take.


Posted on May 11, 2011, in Anthro136k-spring2011-UC-Berkeley, Anthro136kSp11, Microhistories, Vesuvio-Bar-San-Francisco and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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