The Haight

NEIGHBORHOODS:

Hanging in the Haight on a Sunday is a good idea because you can catch another of life's more unique experiences at the Saint John's African Orthodox Church, a.k.a. The Church of Coltrane (351 Divisidero). A tiny church located a few blocks from Golden Gate Park, the patron saint of this house of worship is indeed John Coltrane. And these people mean business. The services at Saint John's start at around 11:30 am, and run some three hours long with the music of the house band, Ohnedaruth, playing the sounds of the saxophonist's seminal album, A Love Supreme , throughout. Church regulars in their Sunday best and droppers-by who hang in the back in black jeans and flannel make beautiful music together in a church service that's more spiritual than religious.

Some final notes about the Haight: If you are up for the challenge, brave the inimitable Zam Zam (1635 Haight). Zam Zam's a bar with an ornate art-deco design, a jukebox with Fats Waller and Benny Goodman and owner/bartender Ali, a.k.a. the Martini Nazi. Ali will more likely than not throw you out, well, just because he can. All you can do is sit at the bar (Ali doesn't like to walk over to the tables), order a gin martini (vodka is considered an abomination) and keep your mouth shut (Ali doesn't like back talk). All in all, it's probably worth the humiliation -- but don't say you weren't warned. Or, try another single-syllable double, the Noc Noc (557 Haight), for Belgian champagne beer in a dark, smoky atmosphere reminicient of Beetlejuice and packed with down-tempo locals on the weekends.

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