A mile-and-a-half from Union Square, and just over two miles from The Moscone Center, meeting attendees will find two of the busiest, most vibrant, and most historic neighborhoods in San Francisco. Japantown and the Fillmore have been centers of culture, commerce, and fine dining for generations. Now when you meet in San Francisco, you can expose your attendees to all that these neighborhoods have to offer, including some freshly renovated hotels and meeting space.
Hotels and Meeting Space
The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel is a delightful boutique option if you're bringing a smaller group to San Francisco and want to stay somewhere unexpected. The hotel's Fillmore Room, with its adjoining private patio, can host 30 people for a reception or 10 for a sit-down meeting.
The Hotel Kabuki recently completed a $30 million renovation and is more stylish than ever. It also features 14 meeting and event spaces that total 14,000 square feet, able to service a group of up to 1,200 people.
"The Hotel Kabuki has been transformed from a traditional to a more modern feel, while still keeping its Japanese influences," says Evelyn Lucente, Manager of Convention Sales for San Francisco Travel. "Their bar has great shareable bites, from soba noodle salad to chicken katsu sliders. I also enjoy their Chrysanthemum specialty cocktail. It's made with rice whiskey, chrysanthemum, jasmine tea and lemon."
1300 on Fillmore is an excellent place to hold a cocktail hour, a private dinner, or a holiday party. Their kitchen specializes in Southern-inspired American cuisine, offering everything from hush puppies to blackened catfish to some truly outrageous bourbon mac and cheese.
If you want to immerse your attendees in rock and roll history, you can rent out The Fillmore. Bill Graham's famous music hall is where The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Carlos Santana, among others, launched their careers. The historic hall radiates energy and excitement, and its collection of vintage posters (more than 1,000 at last count) in the balcony bar are a veritable who's who of music's most legendary artists.
One of the most celebrated restaurants in San Francisco is in the Fillmore, but it's so unassuming that you might walk right past it and never know. State Bird Provisions has an ever-changing menu, but nothing on it ever disappoints. The restaurant is available for private events.
Just a few doors down is SPQR, an equally honored Italian restaurant. More casual options in the neighborhood are no less tasty, like Woodhouse Fish Company, Pizzeria Delfina, or Dosa.
Ramen is the must-have dish in Japantown, and you'd be hard pressed to find better options in the entire city than Tanpopo or Ramen Yamadaya. They're located in the heart of the neighborhood, making it a convenient place to meet and easy to find.
From Bush Street north to Jackson Street, Fillmore Street is lined with storefronts for some of the world's top brands as well as unique local trendsetters. This is where your attendees will want to go after they've purchased their more traditional souvenirs. From stylish clothes to out-of-print books to fine leather goods, you can find it all along Fillmore Street.
For authentic Japanese styles, visit the Japan Center Mall at Post and Webster Streets. Decorative stationery, locally-made art, origami supplies and traditional fashions can all be found inside (as can a few savory treats).
Every July, the Fillmore Jazz Festival pays tribute to the legends—Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, Count Bassie, and others—who have passed through the neighborhood. For a full weekend, entire blocks of Fillmore Street are closed off and stages are erected for performances. It's typically followed a few weeks later by the Salsa Festival, where visitors can watch performances (or even join in).
Every April, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival draws thousands of visitors to Japantown for a celebration of Japanese culture and tradition. There are parades, performances, and plenty of food. It would be a memorable experience for any convention attendee.