Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Filtering by Tag: South Beach

Play It Again Sam - Julie's Choice

    CitySleuth must confess that he has struggled to nail the location of this next scene, where Allan takes his new friend Julie out for a date at a tavern.  Instead he presents educated guesses and looks to his readers to confirm or otherwise.

Then ...  In the tavern two bikers spot them in a booth and head over.  (Click or swipe the image for an enlarged view).

... and Now?  Could this have been filmed in the Hidive bar at Pier 28 on the Embarcadero (map)?  The angled front door with the window next to it on the right matches nicely.  The tavern, for many decades known as the Boondocks, was remodeled in 2004, which might explain why the bar is now on the opposite side.


    As the bikers mercilessly hit on Julie (Joy Bang), totally ignoring our hapless hero, the writing on the life ring buoy on the wall references Pier 28, the location of the Hidive.  (A different shot showing all of the buoy revealed its full text as 'Maries Pier 28').


Then ...  The big guys follow them outside.  Allan's amusingly puny efforts to 'fight' them gets him nowhere fast but they leave him mostly unscathed after Julie makes a choice - them.  To CitySleuth's eye this is a different building than that used for the interior scene.

and Now? ...     Note the bar's name above - 'Pier Head'.  The 1972 street directory lists a Pier Head tavern at 780 Embarcadero South opposite Piers 42 and 44.  The tavern, indicated below in a vintage aerial photo, and the piers were demolished decades ago during major reconstruction of the Embarcadero.  But was this scene filmed here?  CitySleuth appeals to anyone who might know, or who might have a vintage photo of the long-gone building, to comment below or contact him at

    Since then, these southern-most couple of blocks of the Embarcadero have been removed, making room for the Giants ballpark; as a result the spot where the Pier Head used to sit is now right next to the ballpark.


The Laughing Policeman - Tailing Camerero

Then ... Larsen has been assigned to tail suspect Camerero, beginning at a small gym alongside the bay.

... and Now,  the gym, still there, belongs to the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club at 502 Jefferson Street at Aquatic Park (map).  On the right, above, the schooner moored at the Hyde Street pier is the Wapama; it has since been dismantled and in its place, below, we now see the square-rigged sailing ship Balclutha.  On the left, there's a small jetty...

    ... here's a view of the gym in a recent photo looking back from that jetty. The Dolphin Club is cheek by jowl with another club, the South End Rowing Club on the left.


Then ... next up, an energetic game of handball.

... and Now,  the court, in the same building, continues to keep club members on their toes.


Then ... Camerero moves on to a hairdressers with a window view that identifies this location... that's Fredericksen's venerable Cow Hollow hardware store across the street.

... and Now,  the same view from inside the store that currently occupies this site.  To the left it has since been expanded into the  store next door.

    The store is currently the Simply Chic boutique at 3038 Fillmore (map) but back then it was a men's hairstylist called Forum II.

   Fredericksen's has been serving the Cow Hollow neighborhood at 3029 Fillmore since 1896.  In this recent photo the part of the store visible through the hair stylists' window in the Then image above is outlined in yellow.


Then ... The surveillance continues in a parking garage as the suspect walks to his car.

... and Now,  this was filmed on level A of the underground garage of One Embarcadero Center in the Financial District.


Then ... But when Camerero exits the garage, this isn't One Embarcadero Center...

... and Now,  instead, it's the Clay Street exit of the Golden Gateway Garage across the street from One Embarcadero Center (map), viewed from a pedestrian bridge spanning the road.


Then ...  Jake follows him to a narrow street and watches him pull up outside a club where an awning marks a discreet entrance.

... and Now,  this is Ritch Street, an alley in the SoMa South Beach neighborhood close to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants (map).


Then ...  As Camerero enters the club the awning displays the address - 330 Ritch Street.  This was the Ritch Street Health Club, one of the many bath houses that catered in the pre-Aids era to the gay men's community before they were all shut down by the City in the interest of public health.

... and Now,  that same doorway has since been re-addressed as 360 Ritch Street.  Comparing the Then and Now images you can see the identical outline of the bricked-in former windows next to the doorway.  Today retail and commercial businesses occupy the building including the Little Skillet whose Southern Comfort food serves an eager lunch crowd daily from the shuttered window on the left.


  Here's a vintage poster advertising the club that left no room for the imagination as to the activities inside.


Then ...  Inside the club entrance a stairway draped with a colorful tapestry leads up to their "exciting psychedelic 3rd floor".

... and Now,  a storage closet has been built under the stairway at left and plain white walls make for a more appropriate approach to the offices above.


Then ...  Another day but still tailing.  Larsen tries his best to look inconspicuous when Camerero walks right by him after exiting the narrow alley flanked by the pair of concrete bollards.  Note the vertical sign - 'Poster Alley'. 

... and Now,  this is Union Street in Cow Hollow - Larsen was sitting at the steps of 1960 Union Street (map) in the center of the seven-block stretch that back then was a much-touted tourist shopping favorite.  Poster Alley ran alongside the Artisans poster and framing store at 1964 Union, there since the early 1950s.  Customers could view posters and prints hanging in the alley and buy them in the store.

    Artisans is still in business but recently moved to the Sunset district.  In a sign of transition the photo below taken in January 2016 pictures the empty store up for lease.  The bollards are still there on either side of the garage door that now blocks access to the old Poster Alley.


Thieves' Highway - Shorty's Bar

  Nick insists on taking a reluctant Rica out for a drink at Shorty's Bar, seen below.  CitySleuth searched 1949 City records but found no mention of a Shorty's so presumably it was a fictitious movie name.  The shop front below is certainly real enough -  the question is ... where was it?

  Two views from the interior of the bar help provide the answer.  The first shows an Embarcadero pier across the street, Pier 44.  (It's possible the interiors were filmed in the studio with projected window views to set the location).

  In the second view, seen through the entrance doorway to Shorty's, another pier, Pier 42, is seen across the Embarcadero looking in the opposite direction.  So, Shorty's was on the Embarcadero opposite and between Piers 42 and 44.  Both piers were terminals for American President Lines.

  How does CitySleuth know these were Piers 42 and 44?  They are not there any more, but compare the shots above with the vintage photo below of these two piers (which incidentally shows the Bay Bridge under construction in 1935).  They match.


Then ...  In this movie pan below, the view looks south down the Embarcadero as Nick and Rica cross the rail tracks heading for Shorty's.  (This panorama links with the one at the top of this post).  Pier 44 is on the left and the Embarcadero continues past Berry Street before ending at Pier 46.

... and Now,  Pier 42, 44 and 46 are no longer there; they were replaced by the South Beach Marina.  Instead of continuing straight on past King and Berry Streets as it used to, the Embarcadero now swings to the right into King Street alongside the San Francisco Giants ballpark.  The marina is on the left, as is South Beach Park which replaced the block where Shorty's Bar used to be, between King and Berry Streets.


  If all of this is confusing, the photo and map below may help ...

Then ...  this 1955 aerial photo shows piers 42 and 44 before they were removed.  Shorty's bar location was in the block opposite those two piers, between King Street and Berry Street.  Note also that back then Berry Sreet connected to the Embarcadero.

... and Now,  The same view today courtesy of Google maps showing that the Embarcadero now swings into King Street.  A section of Berry Street has been swallowed up by South Beach Park and the ballpark redevelopment project, completed in 2000.  The locations where Piers 42 and 44 used to be are shown in orange and the approximate location for Shorty's bar is indicated by the asterisk, within South Beach Park.

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