That logic loses its charm after five miles when it dawns on you that you actually have to get back home.
Regardless, after ten miles out to ocean beach (and back…) I found myself wanting to stretch at Patricia Green. Always a hub for dog walkers and picnickers, I find it lively enough to be ideal for people watching, but calm enough that I don’t have to worry about taking up too much space and breathing in the pot-smoke of Dolores Park.
Yet as I took my final strides toward the Green, I could immediately sense that something was different. A large white tent across from Ritual in the former AetherStream spot; amazing music from the ‘60s and ‘70s blaring; and a ton of people – separate from the never-ending line at the Biergarten.
As it turns out, Ritual Coffee was celebrating its first anniversary in the Proxy (seventh anniversary since inception), just in time for SF Made Week. As I stepped underneath the mysterious white tent, my eyes were drawn to a slew goings-on. To my immediate right, a bar serving beer and three (I can only imagine delicious, yet I can only attest to one) "punches" - lemon lavender, cucumber mint, and grapefruit something-or-other.
"I wanted to elevate the level of coffee in the Bay Area, but also create a sense of community."
And indeed she has.
Among the people I met were Paul and Ben, Hayes Valley locals and owners of a well-known cockatoo named Casper, who actually has his own Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/casper.cockatoo). Originally from Australia, Paul has been in San Francisco for about 30 years, and couldn't be happier to be part of the Hayes Valley community. When I mentioned that I felt out of place, doused in post-run sweat and donning my Vibram five fingers amidst the skirts, dresses, suits and ties, of those who actually knew about this shindig, he alleviated my stress. "No way! That's what makes San Francisco man! It takes all kinds."
"Do people even know what this is for?"
Most people did, but some were unsure. Two girls thought it was a private party, but were waved over by some strangers who invited them with open arms. Given how classy an event this was, I would have been skeptical as well. But I know one thing - everyone in the community was in for a damn good party. Drinks, dancing, and desserts made for a killer time.
By the time I left, the party was still going strong. From hipsters to suits to cockatoo owners and everything in between - the people of Hayes Valley, the staff and customers of Ritual, and lucky passers-by were treated to a fine time.
Each step that every person took to attend this incredible extravaganza counted as two, because eventually everyone would have to end up back at home. But I guarantee you that each person in attendance will continue to make trips to Ritual, no matter how far: not only for the delicious coffee, but for the sense of community it creates.
Happy birthday, Ritual!