THINGS TO DO FOR A: TATTOOED SOUL ON TOUR
Authentic tattooing means that tattoos are more than just fashion. They are a lifestyle, an attitude. Confessions on your own skin, with the claim to be inscribed forever. Symbols, text, but also aesthetic images characterize the individual look, one’s own sense of beauty (or ugliness) – in any case, a decent dose of self-confidence is required. Whoever gets a tattoo, shapes themselves, sets themselves up for life. While overcoming boundaries, such as that of pain. This may be radical for some, but for the others it is the obligation to make their own decisions: “My life, my rules.”
This is a person with assertiveness and a willingness to experience: this is a “Tattooed Soul”. And it goes on tour….
For them, we look around the world, looking for places and people who share and communicate this approach to life. This results in a lot of tips and insider tips for your next vacation.
This time: San Francisco.
- “Little Italy – in the footsteps of the Beatniks”
The US West Coast Beatniks of the late 50’s were the “cool dogs” of their time. Poets, writers, bon vivants, seekers! Before the “hippie” later became “en vogue”, they were the outsiders of a conservative, stagnant society. And in this the Beatniks asserted themselves with all their bitter, melancholic strength, which they used for drinking, traveling, but also for writing unforgettable texts and poems. They wrote against the conventions of their time. Without a permanent place of residence, without security, outside on the streets of life.
This revolutionary attitude may nowadays please a “tattooed soul”, a “cool” one always. Here we will introduce a few places in San Francisco that a traveler can still visit today, which have preserved the spirit of the Beatniks.
Back then, San Francisco was a Beatniks territory, alongside New York on the east coast and Marrakech on the north side of Africa.
A “Tattooed Soul” can follow many traces of the Beatniks in San Francisco – tracks that allow one or the other drink to be sipped in the name of “Jack” (or for any other occasion).
The beat scene took place in “Little Italy”, district of North Beach. You should start here with the “Citylights Bookstore” where you can (still soberly) browse through many books. Even then, the bookstore was used to access censored outsider literature, but also to hold readings – loud, jazzy readings. Later you can head next door; even the “Tattooed Soul” can still do this today. There is the bar “Vesuvio”, where Kerouac spent a lot of time writing (and by the way, Coppola also wrote The Godfather here). The “Vesuvio” has retained the charm of the old times. Lots of wood, dimmed light and furniture that could tell many stories. Late at night, the spirit of the Beatniks likes to come by here to toast with a glass of absinthe, the specialty of the house.
It is a good thing that the next Beatnik place can be found right across the street: the “Specs”. The Specs is a cave and a hell of a lot curiosities. Even then, the bar was frequented by a lot by the tattooed sailors and their little ladies. This atmosphere also attracted the Beatniks. Here they found a lot of material for their stories. The owner Richard “Specs” Simmons can tell these stories to this day. He has held the position in his bar for more than 50 years; and has been known to give a “for free” when the bill can no longer be paid. In this case, however, a small gift should be left on site. At that time the sailors had plenty of them, and so the inventory in the Specs was constantly expanded: from maritime things, such as lifebuoys, nets, smaller paintings to a dusty walrus penis. It is easy to drink here and is uninhibited. Then, as now.
If you want to and can put a little more emphasis on historicity and education the next day, the BeatnikMuseum is recommended. Also around the corner, the Cafe Tosca. If you want to go through some culinary in between stops, Tony’s is recommended a few streets further. Here you will find the best “original” Neapolitan pizza in San Francisco.
Enjoy / buon appetito
CITYLIGHTS BOOKSTORE: 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
VESUVIO: 255 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
SPEC’S TWELVE ADLER MUSEUM CAFE: 12 William Saroyan Place, San Francisco, CA 94133
BEAT MUSEUM: 540 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
CAFE TOSCA: 242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLITANO: 1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Text: Julian Bachmann