Blog Archives

Implementation plan: The Gentrification and Rental Rights

          This Interpretative plan demonstrates the theme of gentrification and rental rights through the hologram system on the street along the I-Hotel. The most recent gentrification happened during the urban renewal planning and redevelopment movement of the mid 1960s, when the I-hotel was targeted for demolition. Now, the spread of urban renewal plan in San Francisco’s Financial District turned to the I-Hotel continues a long chain of displacement for residents of low-cost residential housing.

            This project, “I-Hotelogram,” will be effective to put public pressure on a landlord who is doing an Ellis Act eviction. According to San Francisco Tenants Union, under the Ellis Act, landlords may evict all tenants in a building in order to take the building off the rental market by the unconditional right. Residents in San Francisco are faced with Ellis Act nowadays along the same line with residents in I-hotel were before. Unless the law requires the landlord to socially redeem themselves, the mass media or neighbors can make arguments to support the tenant’s side. We can set up visual, audio and movement senses through this hologram.


Short-term plan (5 years):



Sample Screenshots of the application “I-hotelogram”

          I-Hotelogram, which is setting up the hologram of interviews from people who got evicted by landlords, state law, and governments could engage residents in the I-hotel including residents in San Francisco and California. It would be installed of the once sprawling 10-block Manilatown and the effects urban renewal had that led to its demise. The short term action plan of the I-Hotellogram could encourage tourists to come to see special hologram. It could arouse tourists and visitors attention about the dangers of eviction fights related to living. In addition, the epidemic of evictions is connected to activism because it is one of the actions made by activists. Audiences could remember the lessons of elders in I-Hotel and sympathize with the expelled tenants for a while because of this audio, visual and hearing senses.


Long term-plan (25 years):


     To contribute the Interpretive project to sustainability, we have to cooperate with smartphone application in order to increase accessibility. Since this interpretive project with hologram on the street, it might be hard to access if there are many people on the street or be crowded by other noises. Moreover, it is impossible to give an information to people who want to help I-hotel and San Francisco eviction but who are far away. Therefore, through smartphone application called “I-Hotelogram,” visitors as well as residents and landlords can access to the hologram and interviews about evictions. When they access to the hologram, they can feel that they are accessing to people who were evicted and how much the state law is harsh for them. Also in the long term, this project could empower and authorize immigrants, since when immigrants immigrated, they need a place to leave. For Filipinos, I-Hotel is the place of them.



Appraisal: The Current Interpretive Plan & Multivocality

              The current Interpretive Plan exists to develop new interpretations of I-Hotel history and Filipino heritage and to develop interpretations at the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center. Visitors can reach to the I-hotel by driving a car, walking or taking transportation. The MUNI 8X bus stops right in front of the center and it is only a 15-minute walk from the Montgomery Street BART and MUNI station.

              When visitors walk inside the first floor of I-Hotel, where Manilatown Heritage Center is at, there is a new interactive single room occupancy exhibit, that demonstrates the actual Filipino housing, adopted from Chinese Historical Society of America’s Living in Chinatown project, and inspired by the Manongs of the I-Hotel who fit their entire lives into an 8×10 foot living space. All of furniture, books, clothes and even cigarettes came from initial I-Hotel and Philippines and are donated by an actual person who stayed in I-Hotel in the 1960’s. This mini-model of the I-Hotel tenant’s room presents nostalgia in people as well as demonstrates their confined life to visitors.

ITel_JC_photo_10 (1)

Single room occupancy exhibit, the Actual Filipino Housing, inspired by the Manongs of the I-Hotel in 1960’s.


Fight Poster of I-Hotel

Besides the single room occupancy exhibit, pictures of I-hotel’s history, activist, and real brick of the initial I-Hotel come into sight. The center features an informational gallery on the fall of the I-Hotel, in addition to hosting community events that further promote its mission. On the Club Mandaly, people could enjoy learning Ballroom and Latin dance from Benito Santiago at the I-Hotel. Also, Carlos Zialcita, who is one of the influential members of the community explore the rich musical, literacy, fashion and cultural history of the San Francisco Bay Area by being a host on Jazz Meryenda Pop-up Jazz club. In addition, the current Board-president Tony Robles, a poet, writer and prominent activist lead rest of the events on Club Mandalay with reading his latest book, Cool Don’t Live Here No More to emphasize his generational memory of San Francisco where alienation, deportations, and technological invasions. 



Fliers of movie “The Fall of the I-Hotel” by Curtis Choy

They also show a movie about I-hotel called “Fall of the I-Hotel” by Curtis Choy for visitors in order to inform them about the incident from the past, especially 1977 Elder Filipino and Chinese tenants standing up to developers to fight eviction from their homes in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood. In addition, the director describes the story of people who got evicted fights, their eviction and the effects it had on the city’s tenants’ rights movement as well as the tenant’s issues now being faced and how they can fight eviction in their neighborhood and get involved. These events help advance a group’s mission, in the spirit of the tenants of the I-Hotel and celebrated the anniversary of the fall of the International Hotel, a mass eviction etched in the psyche of San Francisco. 

The Fall of the I-hotel Trailer

Alcatraz – Media

Visiting Alcatraz

Alcatraz_movie_02 from Ruth Tringham on Vimeo.


Alcatraz Island Audio Clip 1 – Professor Anthony Garcia

Alcatraz Island Audio Clip 2 – Professor Jim Quesada

Alcatraz – Implementation

Native American history is a theme that runs through all of these projects. The overarching goal for this project is to increase awareness of and educate people about the Native American history of Alcatraz Island.  Funding for the projects is expected to come from the federal government, donations, and the  $26 fee to visit Alcatraz Island. The success of the projects would depend on cooperation between researchers, the NPS, and the Native American community, in order to gain more information and implement the activities.

Project # 1: Increased Tangible Heritage on Alcatraz Island
Specific objectives for this project include drawing attention to the Native American heritage on Alcatraz Island and preserving remaining tangible heritage, particularly graffiti. This project would entail setting up plaques around the island to help users find the graffiti and help viewers decipher what they say, installing memorials, preserving the remaining graffiti and developing an interpretive trail as an audio tour.

Project # 2: Storytelling
The particular goals for this project are to honor and revitalize Native traditions of storytelling, to provide employment for Bay Area Native Americans, and to teach visitors about Native American values, such as community and respect for elders. During the activity the visitors would gather around the campfire. Traditional foods like fry bread and coffee would be served. The stories would concentrate on the Native American presence on the island, as well as some traditional Native American tales. The content and delivery would largely be at the discretion of the storyteller.

Project # 3: Re-enactment of the Landing: “This Land is My Land”

This activity would start on the ferry ride to Alcatraz, during which Native American actors would explain briefly the history of the occupation. On the island, the visitors would then be escorted to the Warden’s House, which was the Native American headquarters during the occupation. Here the audience would experience a celebratory powwow, and afterwards hear the story about life on Alcatraz during the occupation and the speech by Richard Oakes. Visitors would also experience aspects of Native American culture such as jewelry-making. Finally, actors dressed as US marshals would escort visitors back to the ferry.


Project # 4: Picture Scavenger Hunt
Some specific goals for this project include encouraging research on Native American history, increasing visitor participation and expanding the representation of the island’s Native American history online. The participants would listen to an informative talk about Native American history. They would then be lent cameras and given brochures outlining the subjects of the history, and instructed to go around the island and take pictures of each subject, which would finally be compiled on a web site.

Project # 5: A Play of Multiple Voices
This project aims to establish ties among the communities involved with Alcatraz Island and its history. For this activity, an online survey would be created, collecting the input from all the key players of Alcatraz Island. Some additional interviews could also be conducted. On the basis of the collected information the play would be written and performed.

To read more about these Project Profiles, please go to the main page (Alcatraz – Native American Presence and Occupation) in order to download the full Site Management Plan.

Alcatraz – Key Players

People on Site and Scientific Interest Groups

Currently no permanent populations live on the island. Most of the people present on the island are visitors, NPS park rangers, volunteers for the Alcatraz Garden project and contractors who work on renovation. No archaeological research is currently being done on Alcatraz, as most of the research has been taken off site.


Some of the key players are the organizations involved with Alcatraz, such as the PRBO and the U.S. Geological Survey, who are currently conducting a Landscape Survey. Outside of the NPS, there are groups that try to help keep our national parks accessible, such as The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), who are a nonpartisan group working to minimize threats to national parks.

International Community

Some other key players include visitors from different countries and regions, as well as recreationists like marathoners and hikers. The US National Park Service is working on developing sister park relationships with national parks all over the world. Other key players include school groups: part of the NPS budget is reserved for education.

Native Americans


Richard Oakes

Native Americans are also important key players for Alcatraz. This group includes the local Miwok and Ohlone Indians, those Indians who occupied Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, and many other Native Americans for whom this island is a symbol of the Native American movement.

Local Business

Local business key players include all hotels, shops, restaurants, and tour companies that have ties to Alcatraz Island.


Another group of key players includes the descendants of prisoners and the Federal Penitentiary employees at Alcatraz Island.

The following is a list of sponsors:

•        Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (The Gardens of Alcatraz)

•        Federal Bureau of Prisons (Inmates perform maintenance work)

•        The Friends of Civil War Alcatraz (docents of Civil War history)

•        American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (solar panels to be installed on the island)

•        Save American’s Treasures (Garden restoration)

•        Alcatraz Cruises

The following is a list of academic partners:

•        Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Native Plant Nurseries

•        American Youth Hostels

•        Bay Area Discovery Museum

•        Headlands Institute

•        YMCA Point Bonita Outdoor & Conference Center San Francisco

•        Exploratorium

To learn more, please go to the main page (Alcatraz – Native American Presence and Occupation) in order to download the full Site Management Plan.

By Tatyana Kovaleva

Alcatraz – Modern Context

Ownership and Legal Status

Alcatraz Island is managed by the National Park Service, one of eight bureaus run by the Department of the Interior, a Cabinet-level agency of the US Government. It is a part of the NPS Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GOGA). As a national park, Alcatraz is under the jurisdiction of Parks, Forest, and Public Property Code of Federal Regulations.

Buildings and Visitor Facilities


The island as a NPS and GGNRA park.

There are numerous buildings on the island, including the Guardhouse, the Cellhouse, the Officer’s Club, the Warden’s House, the Lighthouse, the Warehouse, the Power Plant, the Electrical Repair Shop, the Modern Industries Building, the New Industries Building, the Morgue, and the Recreation Yard. There are also gardens, including the Officer’s Row Gardens alongside the Cellhouse. Alcatraz includes a Parade Ground area and numerous trails and pathways that are accessible to visitors such as the Agave Trail.

Condition of the Site


An example of the ruins at Alcatraz.

The condition of buildings on Alcatraz varies. Some buildings, such as the Cellhouse and the Guardhouse, are renovated and accessible to the public. Other buildings, like the New Industries Building, are renovated externally, but are closed to  visitors. Some structures, like the Warden’s House, have nothing but outside walls remaining.


Many measures have been taken to preserve the man-made structures of Alcatraz and the natural features of the island. Organizations like PRBO, the US Geological Survey, Lutsko Associates, the Olmsted Center, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy strive to preserve and properly manage the bird populations and the gardens of Alcatraz.

Current Points of Interpretation

The primary perspective of interpretation of Alcatraz is that of a federal penitentiary, because most of the surviving structures pertain to that period, which is also the most documented. Other aspects of history, such as the Native American presence or the military fort, are under-represented.

Tourist and Visitor Profiles


Alcatraz Cruises is the only commercial company that is allowed to dock on Alcatraz Island.

The Alcatraz experience is targeted at the general public, rather than specific groups. However, there are certain accommodations for groups with special needs, such as people with limited mobility.  The Alcatraz management offers the Cellhouse guided audio tour in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Mandarin, Portuguese and Korean languages. Alcatraz Island does not have age-specific programs.

By Tatyana Kovaleva

Alcatraz – The Island and its Environment


The environmental aspects of Alcatraz Island can be divided into three categories: birds, rock formations, and plant life. Each of these categories has a unique value and varying stakeholders.

The Birds

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

In 2007 there were 1078 pairs of birds on the island, including western gulls, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, a pair of black oystercatchers, snowy egrets and black crowned night herons. These birds have migrated to Alcatraz because of a decrease of crayfish on the Farallon Islands, and to escape the pollution of the SF Bay Area.  The bird population of Alcatraz has an intrinsic value.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

One of the issues with the birds is that they can be disturbed by tourists on the island and kayakers, causing them to abandon their nests along with their chicks.  Their presence on Alcatraz thus limits the use and development of Alcatraz as a tourist attraction. Some sites are closed off to prevent disturbance to the nests. To meet these challenges the Golden Gate Park Conservancy has been working on and implementing strategy outlines in The Bird Conservation and Management Strategy for Historic Alcatraz Island. They are working with organizations such as PRBO Conservation Science and the US Geological Survey, who help monitor the birds.

The Geological Formation – the “Rock”

As with the bird population, the “Rock” itself has intrinsic value.  Alcatraz has socio-cultural values, which include historical, cultural/symbolic and aesthetic values. The people who lived on the island, such as the Native Americans, army officers, prison inmates and prison wardens, had a connection with the island itself, and experienced its isolation.

Some of the most pressing problems with the “Rock” are the natural erosion of formations, damage caused by construction, and demolition of the debris remaining from conservation projects. The park staff are repairing water and electric systems, removing dangerous materials, stabilizing buildings and bringing them up to modern safety standards. Also, the park managers made the decision to sell the debris from reconstruction as souvenirs in the gift shop. This allows the debris to be cleaned up, and opens up another revenue stream for the park.

The Gardens


Officer Row Gardens

Another aspect of the environment is the plant life of Alcatraz. Besides having an intrinsic value, the plant life of Alcatraz also has socio-cultural values, such as historical, cultural/symbolic and aesthetic values. The gardens were cultivated by the various inhabitants of the island during each era. First, the gardens were planted and tended by the soldiers, then by prison inmates and officers’ families.

The biggest challenge for the gardens is the maintenance of the plants. Lutsko Associates, the Olmsted Center, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the Garden Conservancy have combined their efforts to create a survey of the surviving plants and a plan for landscape maintenance and stabilization. These organizations created the Alcatraz Garden Project, which attracts volunteers to help maintain the gardens. In 2009, 613 volunteers put in 7,000 hours of service. During 2005-2007 plans for Main Road and Officer Row Gardens were implemented. The volunteers have also devised a rainwater irrigation system.

By Tatyana Kovaleva

All picture metadata can be found at our Flickr account; To access it, please click one photo from the right side-bar.

(1) Vesuvio – Executive Summary

Interpretive Plan for Preserving Cultural Heritage:


Henri Lenoir in front of Vesuvio, 1963.


Shawn O'Shaughnessy's mural on wall of Vesuvio in Jack Kerouac Alley, 2011.

Vesuvio is a living, working bar with a firm grasp of its own identity. Though Vesuvio wants to remain as a place reminiscent of the past, it also wants to be an active participant in its present, and productively carry on into the future. Vesuvio’s identity has always been as a space that welcomes people from all walks of life and where individuality is respected inside the bar even if the rest of society outside disagrees. This manifesto, if you will, has been central to its historical significance as an iconic North Beach bar, and for its continued success as an invaluable San Francisco institution.

We believe that the management and interpretation at Vesuvio should be as dynamic and as engaging as the bar itself. The overarching goals of the management plan therefore are to articulate and maintain the understanding that Vesuvio is a place for all generations and social groups, foster a strong identity in the citizens of North Beach to their cultural heritage, and mobilize the residents to play an active role in the heritage management of the bar. To achieve our overall goals we aim to design projects that strive to:

  • Maintain the integrity and spirit of the bar and convey these qualities to the public through varieties of interpretation.
  • Keep a connection between the past and the present to demonstrate the impact that each can have on the other.
  • Encourage the continuity and modification of human experience, utilizing new technology to articulate the story and identity of Vesuvio.
  • Emphasize the importance of art in the history and life of Vesuvio and use new media to connect to local and non-local artistic communities.
  • Garner economic benefits for the bar by attracting a larger pool of customers.

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


Henri Lenoir and Vesuvio, c. 1960.


Exterior of Vesuvio, 2011.

(2) Vesuvio – Background


“Vesuvio has never been just a bar. It’s true that booze sales pay the bills but the place is also an art gallery, a museum, a living room for those of us in cramped apartments, a community meeting place, a support group headquarters, a literary Mecca, a mandatory stop on a tourist’s agenda, and a place to try and get laid.” – Robert Celli

Exterior of Vesuvio (bottom, right business on the corner), c. 1949.

Vesuvio is a bilevel saloon that seats 120 people and is located at 255 Columbus Avenue, on the corner of Jack Kerouac Alley in North Beach, San Francisco. Vesuvio’s statuesque building, which originally was a one-story structure that dates back to 1913, is known as the Cavalli Building, former site of the A. Cavalli & Co. bookstore. Architect Italo Zanolini, who was responsible for several other architectural gems in the area, designed it using plaster on pressed tin in the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

This iconic area is as equally known for its seedy rebellious past – strip clubs, longshoremen, ex-GIs, artists – as it is for its sophisticated architecture, espresso cafes, and Italian ancestry. The second owner of Vesuvio, Henri Lenoir, opened its doors as a saloon in 1948. Vesuvio Café was previously a restaurant that had gone out of business. Since buying the building initially left Lenoir short on funds, he never changed the name; changing the name would have required spending more money on replacement signage, exterior decor, etcetera; hence the “Café” part of Vesuvio’s name today.


Henri Lenoir, employees and customers, date unknown.

A painter himself, Lenoir wanted to establish a place that would support his circle of friends who had an interest in the visual arts and were “Bohemian” in attitude. They surrounded themselves with other artists, listened to the Jazz musicians who played regularly in the neighborhood, sat in on readings by the “alternative-style” writers who were drawn to the area by City Lights Books next door, and ate eclectic, international food at all of the cheap restaurants nearby. These restaurants were run by recent immigrants to the United States who literally fed this band of “miscreants’” desire to try out new and “exotic” things that were considered strange to the majority of American society at the time.


Xmas card photo. (Left to right) customers Tony La Paz, Jim Bell. Waitresses Maya Dhillon, Alice Holden, Suzanne Mazursky, Lyn, and Adriana. Bartenders Bruce Weiss, Ron Leon, David Wood, Burnie Priest. Henri Lenoir and Calso the cat on Maya's motorcycle, 1960s.

Modern Context:

Today, Vesuvio still upholds this counterculture tradition even if the world around it is moving forward and the population profile of the area reorganizes. The bar is an actively used space in a popular, trendy urban area in a world-renowned, cosmopolitan city. The area is densely populated and local officials expect residential tenancy to increase in the future. The demographics of North Beach have changed drastically over time and those shifts may indirectly affect Vesuvio. What was once low-rent housing for artists and young people has shifted to over-priced apartments for wealthy business people, or rent-controlled apartments for elderly residents. Amid this odd combination of upheaval and stagnation, Vesuvio has tried to keep its original mantra of accepting those who were under-represented or unwelcome in “regular” bars while making some adjustments to cater to the new, more gentrified clientele.


View looking out of Vesuvio's windows onto corner of Columbus and Broadway Avenues, 2011. Photo courtesy of CoDiFi.

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

(3) Vesuvio – Appraisal

Significance of Vesuvio:

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

Management Policy

The management policy holds that all final decisions concerning the culture heritage management of Vesuvio ultimately lie with the management staff of Vesuvio. Our role as culture heritage consultants is to make educated and well-researched suggestions and proposals to present to Vesuvio’s staff. Our management plan will be created in dialogue with Vesuvio’s staff and stakeholders to create ideas that represent multivocal solutions. The plan will also reflect the overarching goal of the project, which is to convey and maintain Vesuvio’s identity and history.


These values are of course highly subjective and are left open to interpretation. They can also change as Vesuvio sees fit. These values were designed with a holistic and anthropological approach drawing heavily from culture heritage academic theory, specifically from Mason, R. 2002. Assessing Values in Conservation Planning: Methodological Issues and Choices and In Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage, edited by M. De la Torre, pp. 5-30. Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles.

Historical Value:


Interior photo of Vesuvio, with Bruce Weiss tending bar, April 1963.

Mason (2002) describes historical value as “the capacity of a site to convey, embody, or stimulate a relation or reaction to the past” and states that is can come in various forms, such as the age of the site or from its association with people or events (11). Vesuvio embodies this definition on all accounts. The physical landscape of the bar, with its walls covered in art from the early days of Lenoir’s tenure to today, and its antique lighting and furniture, transports the visitor simultaneously to the past and into different narratives of the present.  The bar’s history is literally written on the walls; relics of the Beat movement hang on the walls along with photographs of patrons and works from local artists. This history also gives Vesuvio aesthetic value, for the bright colors and tangible imagery, along with the heirloom furnishings, create a sensory experience that is unique to Vesuvio and distinctly San Franciscan (Mason, 2002:11; Peters, 1998:199).

Cultural Value:

Mason (2002) defines cultural value as tools to build cultural affiliation in the present (11). Historically, Vesuvio has been an integral part of the counterculture movement, both because of its early clientele of exotic dancers, sailors, and the like, and because of its association with City Light’s Bookstore, a cradle of the Beat Generation (personal communication with E. Pallo, 2011).  Today, Vesuvio is still a center of counterculture, for it welcomes all types of people and continues to be a place that fosters political debate and artistic expression. For example, the bar identifies itself as a consistent place for alternative culture:  “[Vesuvio] remains an historical monument to jazz, poetry, art and the good life of the Beat Generation. Vesuvio attracts a diverse clientele: artists, chess players, cab drivers, seamen and business people, European visitors, off-duty exotic dancers and bon vivants from all walks of life” ( The diversity of counterculture characters that Vesuvio celebrates also constitutes two other values that Mason gives credence to: political value, best demonstrated by the Beats and their cultural and civil protests; and craft, or work-related value, expressed both in the celebration of artists and poets, as well as the art and science skills (mixology) of the bartenders (2002:11-12).

Social Value:


Bruce Weiss, tending bar with waitress Alice Holden,1950.

Mason (2002) defines social values as a site’s ability to enable and facilitate social connections and networks and its role or association with a particular community or neighborhood (12). On a very general level, Vesuvio is a neighborhood bar where people come to meet other people, chat with the bartenders, or to seek solitude in a familiar place.  Vesuvio can be equated to the village pub found in much of Europe – a center of social gathering, a designated social space for both locals and non-locals. As mentioned above, Vesuvio is also intimately tied to the city of San Francisco and indeed serves as a microcosm of the city.



"Homo Beatikus", postcard from scrapbook, c. 1950.

There is a multiplicity of stakeholders who sometimes have contradicting objectives at Vesuvio, though the majority of their overarching goals are similar enough that most friction is prevented. The owners desire success for Vesuvio so that their business and primary source of income can continue. The bartenders, cocktail waitresses, maintenance man, and night cleaning crew all have a large stake in Vesuvio as well. The beer, wine and soda vendors are also stakeholders since they get paid indirectly by Vesuvio’s clients and thus support Vesuvio and its core of patrons. Other important stakeholders include the local residents of the North Beach and Chinatown neighborhoods surrounding the bar. All of the artists, musicians, football (soccer) fans, and recipients of the fundraisers are also stakeholders. Patrons who frequent the bar regularly have a stake in Vesuvio. Tourists are also stakeholders as there are many visitor activities in the area such as exotic-dancing clubs, venues for live jazz and other music performances, poetry readings, art shows, coffee shops, and other working-class bars that keep old-time traditions alive. Other stakeholders are people involved with the tourism trade and historical preservation societies.

Interpretation and Multivocality: 

Our management and interpretation work together to achieve the same goals and are based on multivocality at all stages of the management process and interpretive projects (see Management Aims and Objectives and Management Policy sections for more information). Vesuvio is unique in that it has an acute awareness of its tangible and intangible heritage values as well as a distinctive sense of self. These features are the most important things to preserve and convey to the public. We equate the term preservation within the context of our management plan to continuity rather than to the archaeological understanding of the term. The goal of the preservation plan is to help Vesuvio to better articulate their own narrative with as few changes to the existing bar as possible, for Vesuvio is a living entity and should be maintained as such.

Visitor Experience and Access

The fact that Vesuvio is an active bar poses interesting challenges for interpretation and thus by extension, visitor experience and access. A bar is a fluid and socially essential entity where people come and go as both insiders and outsiders of the bar’s scene.  It is an extremely diverse landscape of stakeholders who range from regulars, to distributors to tourists, all of whose interests come together around alcohol and entertainment, though pursued and achieved in different ways.


Vesuvio patron, 2011.

The transient nature of its patronage, mixed with its presence as a valid social meeting place, has created an ethos that has facilitated the intertwined identity and function of Vesuvio. We thus seek to help Vesuvio articulate its identity and history to visitors through subtle interpretation. Subtle interpretation is defined here to mean interpretative tools or events that do not disrupt the normal flow and atmosphere of the bar and enhance the understanding of Vesuvio’s story.

Therefore the visitor will receive no formal tour when coming into Vesuvio; they can get that experience virtually on the re-designed website. Instead, they will be encouraged to simply engage in the drinking, artistic, musical, and literary activities of the bar that are incorporated into our interpretive projects (see Implementation section for more details).

Vesuvio is a public space that is on a busy, major street in a heavily populated neighborhood. Parking is a challenge but public bus transportation is widely accessible. The bar is also handicap accessible to the level possible for such a building and business. Janet Clyde says that handrails were added to the stairwells leading up to the women’s restrooms and down to the men’s facilities to comply with ADA regulation.




Photo courtesy of

For an interactive GigaPan image of the cocktail above, click on this link and scroll through the snapshots under the image. Once the snapshot is selected, more contextual information will appear to the bottom, right of the image.

Vesuvio does not stand one either side of the tourism line for while it supports certain kinds of tourism, the bar is more strongly committed to its local patrons. Vesuvio does participate in some of the tourist folklore, even serving a drink called “The Jack Kerouac,” but while they appreciate the patronage and want to welcome new clients, Vesuvio wants to be a place of peace where locals can be left undisturbed.


Henri Lenoir's do-it-yourself BEATNIK KIT displayed in the front window, sometime in the late 1950s-early 1960s.

There are many connections to tourism in the area. For example, visitors who come to participate in local events may also be interested in Vesuvio. Some of these points of interest include local (from North Beach as well as San Francisco) art, music and literature festivals; local culture promotional happenings; visitors to the San Francisco Art Institute (in North Beach); neighborhood art galleries and music venues; The Beat Museum; City Lights Books; and other famous watering holes like The Saloon, Specs, Tosca Cafe, and Café Trieste.

Vesuvio has garnered accolades and recommendations from around the world. It has received write-ups in printed and online travel guides like Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Fodor’s; in local, national and international newspapers and magazines; and on interactive tourist sites such as Yelp and Citysearch. Vesuvio is a popular stop on the agendas of many walking tours and in general is a vital part of the San Francisco experience for vacationers from all walks of life. There are also Happy Hour specials advertised above the bar, on the Internet, and on a sidewalk sandwich board outside the bar. Ultimately, word-of-mouth advertising is one of Vesuvio’s best tools for tourism.

Community Events

Courtesy of

Vesuvio holds a variety of in-house events that encourage cultural awareness. Some of these include poetry and literature readings of both contemporary and past writers, live World Cup match screenings with pancake breakfast specials, “educational” materials like “Leo’s Short Guide to Good Bar Behavior,” and painting, illustration and other art media displays in the bar.

To keep Vesuvio (relatively) up-to-date, the owners ask for employee, patron, and other stakeholder input in addition to the usage of non-aggressive marketing for bigger events. Vesuvio also sponsors all-ages events with a strong emphasis on the immediate community. For instance, the event that owner-manager Janet Clyde is proudest of is Jazz in the Alley, which takes place in Jack Kerouac Alley and was inspired by local artist Elizabeth Ashcroft. Two other functions in the Alley are the mixed-media gathering Art in the Alley, and A Fair To Remember that features twenty-plus local designers, artists, collectors, and scavengers and happens once a month from April to October. Here is a little film about the latter event:

Regional Links

Vesuvio is in the heart of North Beach San Francisco and remains an integral part of the neighborhood. North Beach is adjacent to Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, two sections of the city with their own distinct identities. A large part of the management plan deals with maintaining and expanding Vesuvio’s close tie with the North Beach community (see the Interpretation section and Implementation section for more details) and specific interpretative projects linking the bar to its surrounding neighborhoods.