Saturday, March 15, 2008
Return of The Blue Muse
Before the double-decker freeway that cut through the Hayes Valley came down in the early 1990s after it was weakened in the 1989 earthquake, the neighborhood was scary and crime-ridden, with crack dealing, murder and prostitution a daily occurrence. A rare oasis in the 1980s was the restaurant and bar The Blue Muse on Gough near Hayes Street.
As the neighborhood gentrified during the 1990s, with overpriced restaurants such as Jardiniere and Absinthe and Citizen Cake appearing, The Blue Muse felt oddly comforting and its bar became a sort of "Cheers" saloon for locals who could also eat a burger or appetizers at reasonable prices.
A couple of years ago, Sidney the proprietor (above) was bounced out of his lease without much warning and the space become a new restaurant called Breezy's that's more expensive and much less charming.
Finally, Sidney managed to find a narrow space on Grove Street in front of the Performing Arts garage where he reopened his restaurant a couple of months ago. The place mostly caters to older couples looking for an old-fashioned "fine dining" meal before the symphony, ballet and opera.
The restaurant is much smaller, but that's fine. Its bar area is cozy and gemutlich, and there's finally a place to gather with neighbors that's neither trendy nor overpriced nor filled with crazy drag queens like Marlena's down the street.
Plus, one of the coolest old food service dudes in town, Jonathan Kasper (above), is back in action on Thursday evenings. It looks like you really can go home again.