The holidays and new year usher in a wave of exceptional finds—here are some of our favorite Bay Area options for the next two months.
Elusa Winery’s chic members lounge
A decade in the making, Napa Valley’s boutique Elusa Winery has opened a nearly 5-acre vineyard surrounded by the Palisades of the Vaca Mountains and the rolling hills of Calistoga. The winery houses a variety of luxe spaces, including an outdoor courtyard, a private wine library, members lounge and a tank room, where the wine is made, featuring an art collection curated by Kevin Barry Fine Art. 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga
Bar Fluxus’ renovated outdoor space
Located in the colorful Harlan Place alleyway, the new and improved Bar Fluxus brings a vibrant energy to the city’s nightlife scene. With a rotating selection of eclectic artworks, a renovated outdoor space and an exciting entertainment schedule, the venue cultivates a culture of creativity, conversation and self-expression that is so inherently San Francisco. “Bar Fluxus will remain vocal through art displays, activism and as a platform for others to embrace a free-thinking state of mind, all while remaining playful and not taking ourselves too seriously,” says owner Ludo Racinet. Sip on local beers, wines or classic cocktails made with premium spirits and fresh produce, and munch on bites like homemade Mediterranean olive mix or charcuterie while enjoying a stand-up comedy show. 18 Harlan Place
A hot air balloon safari in East Africa
Itching for a new adventure? Ker & Downey Africa’s luxury exploration experiences, including trips to Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and other nations on the African continent, are the perfect ways to check off bucket-list destinations. From private jet safaris to silverback gorilla trekking, travelers can spend days traversing the landscape, encountering exotic animals and learning about the area, and nights of sumptuous accommodations and stargazing in the desert. Family safaris, solo explorations and honeymoon trips are available.
The B. Wise Loft
Brion Wise, proprietor of BRION and B. Wise Vineyards, recently unveiled his latest tasting experience, the B. Wise Loft. Nestled in a cozy nook on the second floor of BRION’s restored 1876 bank barn—one of only two in California—the B. Wise Loft is a unique Napa experience. Overlooking the famed Sleeping Lady Vineyard south of downtown Yountville, guests can taste their way through the acclaimed B. Wise portfolio of Sonoma-centric wines without having to cross the Mayacamas. Guests are seated around a glass table and surrounded by 100-year-old barrels as they receive pours of two single-vineyard pinot noirs from Sonoma and two cabernet sauvignons—from B. Wise Estate and TRIOS—and complemented by expertly paired local cheeses, almonds and crackers. By appointment only, 5537 Solano Ave., 707.935.1791
Head to Taj Campton Place this season for a luxe recharge.
Looking for a little staycation with family and friends over the holidays? Taj Campton Place recently unveiled The Floor Is Yours package, where guests can book a bundle of rooms on an entire floor to take advantage of luxe privacy. Our suggestion: Since there are only four rooms per level above the eighth floor, choose a buyout at this perch or higher (an exclusive offering of 20% off of the best available rate will be applied to the package). Guests also receive a gift bag upon arrival. Also, enjoy dinner at the property’s restaurant, which has earned two Michelin stars under the culinary guidance of chef Srijith Gopinathan. Available through Dec. 31, minimum four rooms and up to 14 with the same check-in and check-out dates, 415.781.5555, email for reservations, [email protected]
Nathan Sawaya, “Yellow” (2006)
Renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya brings his sculpted vision of LEGO blocks to San Francisco this month with The Art of the Brick. Housed in the historic 1 Grant Ave. building, the show features original artworks and reimagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” Patrons also shouldn’t miss the multimedia collection of LEGO brick-infused photography that Sawaya produced in collaboration with award-winning photographer Dean West. Dec. 4-Jan. 30, 1 Grant Ave.
Inside a Coterie two-bedroom residence
Coterie, a gorgeous new development in Cathedral Hill from Related Companies and Atria Senior Living, opens this winter. The property stands apart for combining five-star amenities with wellness services and state-of-the-art tech tailored to older adults. “Coterie is expertly crafting an environment where older adults live at the nexus of art, culture, wellness and cuisine,” says John Moore, Atria Senior Living CEO and chairman of the board. “Residents will have the peace of mind that comes with living in a safe community staffed by a vaccinated workforce following industry-leading COVID-19 protocols.” Homeowners will find fitness centers curated by the Mayo Clinic, a tailored nutrition plan, yoga studio, heated indoor and outdoor pools, rooftop gardens and salon. Residents also can take advantage of master classes for learning, as well as programs to nourish the mind, body and spirit.
Holiday Heroes, the annual fundraising event hosted by Palo Alto-based organization Wender Weis Foundation for Children, brings joy and raises the spirits of underserved kids this holiday season. The 2021 goal is to raise funds and deliver happiness to hundreds of underserved children and families in the Bay Area. An evening of in-person activities will feature holiday crafts and meet-and-greets with sports personalities at Oracle Park. “We join with local teams, companies, organizations and philanthropists to connect at-risk children with professional athletes,” says Amy Wender, founder and president of the WWFC. Dec. 7, 5:30PM, Oracle Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza
Dear San Francisco promises an unforgettable night.
Back with an immersive production from contemporary circus arts collective The 7 Fingers, Club Fugazi flies high at the North Beach venue best known for hosting Beach Blanket Babylon. An homage to the storied past, beauty and people of the City by the Bay, The 7 Fingers’ Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story features astounding acrobatics, choreography, spoken word, video projections, shadow play and original music. The vibrant characteristics and history of San Francisco come to life in this exhilarating production with thrilling acts like hoop diving, hand balancing and juggling. “Dear San Francisco is the result of a lifelong love affair with the city that continues to reinvent, redefine and inspire awe,” says co-creator and co-director Gypsy Snider. 678 Green St.
Outside the stunning Harmon Guest House
Award-winning and environmentally friendly boutique hotel Harmon Guest House has a new, limited-time package available until Dec. 16 that highlights the recently opened Marine Layer Wines tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. The package includes a stay in one of Harmon Guest House’s luxury rooms, an exclusive tasting of five Marine Layer Wines and a signature food pairing from plant-based restaurant Little Saint. The exquisite 3,200-square-foot tasting space is just a few steps from the hotel and the historic Healdsburg Plaza, so guests can explore the area at their leisure before heading back to their cozy, spacious rooms. 227 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707.431.8220
Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the music lover in your life? Consider Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There (Grove Atlantic). Written by music historian and acclaimed author Marc Myers, the book tells the story of the genre’s evolution. From the Grateful Dead’s psychedelic jam that took over San Francisco to the British Invasion led by the Beatles, Myers explores 35 years of rock, featuring 94 interviews with a roster of A-listers like Bob Weir, Cameron Crowe and Alice Cooper, along with fans and tour crews. Plus, Myers rounds up 50 of his favorite live albums, rock documentaries and concert films.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY NOAH WEBB; BRION PHOTO BY SUZANNE BECKER BRONK; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; LEGO PHOTO BY ERICA ANN PHOTOGRAPHY; HOLIDAY HEROES PHOTO BY DREW ALTIZER; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; DEAR SAN FRANCISCO PHOTO BY KEVINE BERNE; PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND; BOOK PHOTO COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGE