The Layover: San Francisco

Altitude member and writer Andrew Braithwaite recommends his 5 favourite spots.

Eat: RN74


Named after the famed route nationale running through the heart of France’s wine-loving Côte-d’Or, RN74 toasts the culinary pleasures of Burgundy – via California. Created by one of America’s of-the-moment chefs, Michael Mina, and influential sommelier Rajat Parr, the restaurant is set in a contemporary, industrial-cool room equally suited to a relaxed client lunch (think frisée aux lardons and a glass of Louis Michel Chablis) or an intimate late-night dinner at the buzzy bar (roasted duck breast and a bottle of Fixin from Hubert Lignier). Look for the Last Bottle Board, an airport-style flap display that lists remaining one-of-a-kinds from the cellar. It’s a New World take on Old World dining.

301 Mission St.,

Drink: Wilson & Wilson

Wilson & Wilson

Photo: Kimberly Sandie

Speakeasies have become so abundant in this city that Bourbon & Branch, the joint that launched the hush-hush trend, decided to hide a second bar beyond its own back wall. Reserve online, give your password to the B & B doorman and you’re secreted away to the tiny, detective-agency-themed Wilson & Wilson. The best way to investigate the talented barkeeps’ precise cocktails is via a three-course “tasting menu”: appetizer, main and dessert. Our pick: The Hard Boiled = Old Tom gin, apple brandy, cardamom, rhubarb amari and orange bitters.

505 Jones St.,

Listen: SFJAZZ Center

SF JAZZ Center

Photo: Tim Griffiths

Opened in 2013, the new permanent home of SFJAZZ in Hayes Valley is an utterly modern temple to the greatest art form America ever created. Fluid fraternizing spaces lead into the cutting-edge auditorium that manages to feel both intimate and significant. And, most importantly, the room sounds great – a key factor in helping to attract such talents as pianist Jason Moran and Latin percussionist John Santos. Hep cats know to begin the night with a Brother Thelonious abbey ale downstairs at South, the small-plates bar by famed Slanted Door daddio Charles Phan.

201 Franklin St.,

Visit: The Exploratorium

The Exploratorium

Photo: Amy Snyder/Exploratorium

This uniquely San Franciscan take on the science museum recently moved into a gleaming new glass building on the waterfront, replete with indoor and outdoor galleries. An in-house staff of tinkerers designs a rotating collection of some 600 tech-geeky interactive exhibits, like the feel-your-way-through-the-dark Tactile Dome. Come on the first Thursday of each month for After Dark, an evening of cocktails, live performances and guest speakers loosely organized around such topics as the science of sharing. Add a little gin, and gadgets have never been so much fun.

Embarcadero, Pier 15,

Relax: Lafayette Park

Lafayette Park

Hopper/San Francisco Recreation Park

This historic four-square-block park on a hilltop in Pacific Heights reopened last summer after a $10-million renovation, and its neighbours couldn’t be happier. Take in the manicured lawns, winding paths and terrific views before the Frisbee-and-beer hordes that clog Mission Dolores Park catch onto this gem. The resculpted landscape remains heavily treed, so that “new-park smell” ends up being reminiscent of fragrant eucalyptus. Bonus point: From the terrace lookout, take in the majesty of the historic 1913 Spreckels Mansion, the heavily fortified home of bestselling author Danielle Steel.

Gough St. and Sacramento St.,