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Take A Towncar To San Francisco's Historic Beach Chalet

Mar 2, 2008
The Beach Chalet is a gem located on the Western edge of San Francisco where Golden Gate Park meets the Pacific Ocean. Have your Quicksilver TownCar driver stop at on your way San Francisco International Airport. View the murals on the first floor. Have a handcrafted beer in the upstairs restaurant, catch the surf in your toes and if you have time before your TownCar whisks you to the airport, watch the sun set over the pacific.

The building or Chalet was designed by noted local architect Willis Polk, opened in 1925 with a lounge and changing rooms on the first floor and a restaurant on the second.

The wall murals, mosaics and wood carvings portray outstanding San Francisco panorama, they were completed in 1936 as part of a federal works program. Both murals and structure are listed in the National Register as Landmark 179.

In the 1930s the Works Progress Administration commissioned artist Lucien Labaudt to create frescoes on the downstairs walls. Labaudt's 1,500 square feet of frescoes, according to Chronicle reporter Jerry Carroll, "Show well-fed people taking their ease with waxy looks of placid contentment."

Just north, a Dutch windmill peeks above the cypress trees. Quicksilver, 800.486.9622, can take you there on your way into town or on the way out.

Restored in the 90's to their original colors, the scenes include a Baker Beach barbecue with the Golden Gate Bridge under construction in the background. They show pigeon-feeding at Union Square, longshoremen at Pier 26, Seal Rock, and the ethnic neighborhoods of Chinatown, the Mission and Fisherman's Wharf.

The Chalet had a colorful history. According to Carroll, "The Beach Chalet was remote enough from the rest of San Francisco that it could seem to be operating under different laws. A 1932 police raid netted a dozen men who were charged with sponsoring lewd shows and gambling parties."

During World War II the Chalet served as a coastal defense headquarters.

After the war big city shenanigans took over as the city leased the Beach Chalet to the Veterans of Foreign Wars for $50 a month. Soon it became San Francisco westernmost den of inequity. In 1952 smoker was reported to police. The agenda included gambling, strippers and lewd films. The SFPD were called when a crowd of rowdy teenagers wanted to participate. Alas, they were not veterans and so were barred.

In the early 70's when Quicksilver Messenger Service was founded, the Chalet was a bikers bar attracting a crowd of, bike messengers and original hippies from the Family Dog rock shows at Playland just down the beach.

After a decade under padlock the building was restored with a restaurant on the second floor and a one-of-a-kind City of San Francisco gift shop on the first floor which features a line of unique San Francisco Beach and Surfing T-shirts and old city street signs for sale. Today gift shop is closed. The view of the sea at this beachside eatery is incredible, especially if your dining room doesn't overlook the Pacific Ocean.

After your exotic and historic break at the Beach Chalet, your Quicksilver driver can have you at San Francisco International airport is a half hour for your flight home.
About the Author
SF Bay Area Transportation Expert As President of Quicksilver TownCar Service http://www.qstc.net, Phil Macafee knows all of the freeways and most of the byways from Carmel to Sacramento to the wine country and many of the high-cultures aviaries and sailor's dives in between.
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