Burn the Bay

Pub date January 25, 2011

Self-medicate and simmer? Hardly. A nice big toke deserves (another and) a trip out and about to see some of the Bay Area’s finest sites to be stoned in. Just don’t flash that bong around — we hear that shit’s still illegal (?). Here are the Guardian staff picks for places around town that your buzz will love.



Post-Mary munchies are no joking matter. Yeah, you laugh when your buddy eats sausages dipped in maple syrup, but when it’s your turn the joke’s on you. Fortunately, Good Mang Kok Bakery in Chinatown is there to get you through those funky hunger spells. It’s got it all: pork buns, shrimp dumplings, egg tarts, mochi, sesame balls, chow mein — more grease and sugar than you can shake a spliff at. The joint (ha!) smells like stoner heaven, but the best part about Good Mang Kok is that it won’t leave a dent in your wallet — three steamed pork buns cost only $1.50 and all the food a stoner can eat won’t ever cost more than a 10 spot. Peep the window sign that says “Dim Sum Nice Food” and you’ll know you’re at the right place.

1039 Stockton, SF. (415) 397-2688



It’s Sunday morning, you’re stoned, and your heart is full of love. Kumbaya friend, mosey down to the Mission’s Kadampa Buddhist Temple for its weekly group meditation on world peace — because we all know that war, violence, and suffering are huge mellow-harshers. Inside the small building you’ll find a meeting room lined with chairs, Buddhist art, and sculpture — take a seat and be on time. Class includes a guided prayer, a spiritual teaching (try not to space, because if you pay attention here you can learn a lot), and refreshments. Every level of experience is welcome and no stoner will be turned away for lack of funds.

Sundays, 10:30 a.m.–noon, $10 donation suggested. 3324 17th St., SF. (415) 503-1187, www.meditationinnortherncalifornia.org



We regard the Revolution Cafe as its own mythic country, one in which bearded men and dashing women from various cosmopolitan European, Latin-American, and African cities epically lounge, smoke from their spliffs still lingering in their leather jackets and hand-woven mountain sweaters. In this convivial company, there is no better vantage point to regard the Mission’s ragtag parade from behind the fog of (medicinal, surely) Humboldt fog, particularly with a glass of house red or cappuccino in hand. Languid inter-table conversation is a mandate on the Revolution porch — retreat inside to giggle at The Awl’s witticisms on your laptop or take in the piano-guitar duo occupying Rev’s tiny corner that is allotted to its live music offerings.

3248 22nd St., SF. (415) 642-0474



Who says you have to be a kid to get a kick out of this museum’s interactive art and technology exhibits? Twist one up and try your hand at photo manipulation, animation, and video-mixing geared toward the mini-mind. And while we’re feeding our heads here, why not go truly techno-psychedelic with the kids’ museum’s Z Dance — dance in front of a green screen and a computer will transfer your image to a trippy backdrop (see Jefferson Airplane’s Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour performance of “White Rabbit” for inspiration). For gizmo gear-heads to blasé Betties, some advice for truly groking the beauty of Zeum: nothing will awaken your childlike wonder like a little William’s Wonder.

221 Fourth St., SF. (415) 820-3320, www.zeum.org



In 1966, Seward Street minipark was the site of a neighborhood sit-in that saved the last remaining open space between Seward and Corwin streets from encroaching development. Honor the community protesters’ struggle in true ’60s spirit by lighting up, grabbing a cardboard box, and flying down the polished concrete flumes for freedom (you can also slide at the chutes in Children’s Playground and Bernal Heights). Getting blazed is a good way to mitigate small bruises and the burn of climbing to the top of the remarkably long chute. But if intoxication and high velocity isn’t your favorite mix, there are plenty of places to perch peacefully and watch the action.

Acme between Seward and Corwin, SF



This locally-owned grocery chain is a stoner’s dream, whether you alight on the 40,000 square foot megastore or the sleek new western location complete with parking lot: an added convenience for pre-browse hot-boxing. From asparagus to zatar (a Lebanese spice related to mint), the Technicolor aisles tantalize tokers’ taste buds, and are the ideal playscape for customer antics — shopping cart drag races are not unheard of. Feeling peckish? Avoid being “that hippy” shoving patchouli-scented paws in the bulk bins. Try baking among the baked goods at the store café, where you’ll find plenty of fresh soups, sandwiches, and company to ponder universal truths with.

2020 Oregon, Berk. (510) 843-6929; 920 Heinz, Berk. (510) 898-9555, www.berkeleybowl.com



Try to accomplish anything at the Westfield Mall while sober and you will surely end up crying outside of Jamba Juice, then struggling for hours more just to find the first floor exit. A better way of approaching the shiny downtown consumerist behemoth is to get faded and ride the escalators for, like, a really long time. The inter-floor specimens at the Westfield are a sight to behold. Unlike boring linear escalators, these zigzag upward and downward in Escher-esque profundity, caged in the mall’s dome-like interior. Those seeking ascent or descent must navigate a loop of shiny retail spaces just to find their way to the next moving staircase. Keep your wits about you — if you know which way is up, you may just reach Century Theatres!

865 Market, SF. (415) 512-6776, www.westfield.com/sanfrancisco



Seeing the sights while stoned is all well and good, but you can give your optic nerves the night off and still totally trip off of SF. The wonder that makes it all possible is the Audium, where synapse-stimulating sound sculptures are unleashed on listeners seated in a round auditorium that is darkened to blackness to further heighten the experience. This place was constructed to get you high off auditory fumes. Sayeth Stan Shaff, the composer who co-masterminded the Audium concept back in the 1950s: “As people walk into a work, they become part of its realization. From entrance to exit, Audium is a sound-space continuum.” Somehow we’ve made it through this entire paragraph without using the term “mind-blowing.” Shoulder pat.

Performances Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. 1616 Bush, SF. (415) 771-1616, www.audium.org



Look, for those riding the green hornet, buzziness doesn’t get much better done than at the California Academy of Sciences. The Morrison Planetarium sends not just cosmic gas and glistening stars whirling around your dome, but protozoan tendrils and glimmering ambient sounds as well, as part of the current “Life” show. Iridescent butterflies flit unfettered about the Buckyball-like “Rainforests of the World” structure. And of course there’s Claude the preening albino alligator and a clownish troupe of cavorting penguins. But for sheer shivery loveliness, we like to slip into the basement for the Steinhart Aquarium’s gorgeously curated exhibits of regional undersea habitats. The Philippine Coral Reef wastes our retinas with its neon delights and the generalist Water Planet Galleries include infinite otherworldly species. But it’s the Northern California Coast Gallery that keeps us rooted in a meditative pose with its hypnotically undulating anemones and sensuously intertwined towers of opalescent kelp. Think about it. That’s, like, right off Ocean Beach, dude. Your pipe is your snorkel.

55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park, www.calacademy.org

List assembled by Emily Appelbaum, Marke B., Caitlin Donohue, and Hannah Tepper.