It's a two-parter!
August 16, 2017 2:28 PM   Subscribe

My partner is out of town for a week and I need some downtime suggestions. Namely, what movies should I watch and can you name the best San Francisco bars/restaurants to read a book alone in? Specifics and preferences inside.

For movies, I'm in a thriller-y mood at the moment, but don't necessarily want "scary" (alone, after all). Movies about paranoia, the deep state, various types of intrigue are good. Sicario is a recent one that fits the bill. Alternately, cult favorite or genuine classics in the action genre would be good suggestions-- anything from Roadhouse to Indiana Jones. Not a huge sci-fi movie fan (books are a different story) but wouldn't mind sci-fi window dressing in the vein of Blade Runner. Huge fan of Verhoeven and Michael Mann. Getting into more contemporary action thrillers lately, like mostly the type of stuff Daniel Craig is in.

As for the second request, in a huge airport/hotel bar type person-- solid food, a cold drink, and a good book is my happy place. I don't want like a shitty airport bar-esque place to go in the city but I'm new to the area and would like quality food, a nice environment but not too stuffy or trendy. A place you can linger on a weekend, if possible, but clean and nice. I'm in the east part of the city but willing to explore.
posted by stoneandstar to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite thrillers about "paranoia, the deep state, various types of intrigue" are Arlington Road and The Game
posted by Mchelly at 3:04 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Salt is a tight spy action thriller. The Conversation is a classic of the paranoia genre. There's a sort-of-but-not-quite sequel called Enemy of the State starring Will Smith, which isn't great but is reasonably entertaining.

Edge of Tomorrow is sci-fi, but it has Emily Blunt (Sicario) and buggy aliens (sort of in the vein of Verhoeven's Starship Troopers) and it's fun and clever.

The Island is actually a pretty well-made action film with a sci-fi conceit, but it's really more of a futuristic action movie than a sci-fi film.

Arlington Road, yeah. Forgot about that one.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Third Rail in the Dogpatch has excellent cocktails and has always been quiet on the weeknights and weekend days I've been there except when something is going on at Pier 70. They have 8+ types of jerky, and nearby Long Bridge Pizza has great pizza and they'll probably be fine with you bringing it in. Triple Voodoo, a nearby beer bar that is even quieter, definitely will let you bring in pizza and has a few comfortable chairs.

Alchemist Bar & Lounge in SOMA has tons of space unless there is a baseball game. I don't think they have food, but I would feel comfortable reading there for hours.

Anti-recommendations for these bars/restaurants, which while all enjoyable, are probably too crowded or loud for what you're looking for: Garaje, Black Hammer Brewing, The View, Lord George, Mars, Magnolia Smokehouse

And welcome to the Bay!
posted by asphericalcow at 3:48 PM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, you might enjoy The Limey and Out of Sight, maybe Sexy Beast.

If foreign films are OK I'd also check out Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows, Read My Lips by Jacques Audiard and La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:55 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Star Chamber and The Parallax View are conspiracy thrillers that might be worth a look.

Sorry for the many replies, my internal database keeps bubbling up results but I don't want to abuse the edit window.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:57 PM on August 16, 2017

If you feel like coming to Oakland, the Trappist is an excellent place to spend time with a beer and a book. (If there's a gal there reading a Kindle in a metallic purple cover, c'mon over and say hi to me!)
posted by Lexica at 4:22 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sparrow bar/cafe in the Haight has a quiet garden to read in during the day, and good food - their restaurant is pretty unpeopled in daylight hours. Never been there in the evening but it probably fills up for happy hour. Bonus that it is right beside a great little bookstore.
posted by egeanin at 4:33 PM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Maybe too sci-f, but for classic thrill/suspense/neo-noir style , check out Dark City, this Jennifer Conolly-as-lounge-singer clip gives a decent feel for it.

If you want something on the weird/absurd/humor side of suspense/intrigue, maybe a Charlie Kauffman flick you may have missed, like Adaptation or Being John Malkovich.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:27 PM on August 16, 2017

Wrong area, but I think Mario's Bohemian in North Beach would be a nice to place to hang out and read. Good food. Also near the great City Lights bookstore.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2017

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