Wednesday, January 5, 2011

54 Mint Plaza

54 Mint, originally uploaded by deanv41.

Over the two decades I've been here, the area just south of Market Street has gone through as much evolution as any part of San Francisco. The Old Mint is still a museum fund drive in progress, but the plaza around it is settling into a special part of town as yet undefined, in fact, uninhabited yet by any habitué. The plaza is so reconfigured and without routine. Only now are people finding their way back to it.

Mint Plaza WinterOnce were only derelict alleys and men falling down faster than the buildings around them. Now the revitalized district is waking again from its decades-long junkie's nap.

In the 1990s, i had an association with 54 Mint as it was the HQ of the magazine, Genre, a gay lifestyle warhorse. I was a close confidante of one of its editors and got a few pieces published in it including a feature on Boy George in one of his many fraught comebacks.

Today, a full 15 years later, the main attraction is Blue Bottle Coffeehouse, the Dub&dance-centric Mezzanine Music Club down Jessie Street toward 6th Street, and a clutch of stylish eateries: Chez Papa Resto, Thermidor, and 54 Mint.

Watching it all change is a wonderful thing.

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