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MAX Stories

Palm Springs Gay Pride Getaway, Plus Halloween and Priscilla

On Halloween 2019, a group from MAX checked into a spacious six bedroom house for the MAX Palm Springs Gay Pride/Halloween Getaway and immediately went to the Arenas Gay District for a gathering of 10,000 people watching a parade of over 50 contestants in the most outrageous and elaborate costumes. After the contest, disco diva Evelyn Champagne King performed live and the bars were overflowing with festive costumed revelers.

The following day the group spent five hours hiking and driving through Joshua Tree National Park.


That evening MAX Chairman Mike Barsul and Member Chair Scott Tsui hosted a cocktail party at Mike's home for about 30 guys, San Francisco MAXers in town for the weekend along with a lot of CMG (California Men’s Gatherings) local members.


After the party, the group had dinner at Billy Reed's Restaurant and some broke off to dance to music by DJ Chi Chi Larue at Toucans.

On Saturday, two group members participated in the Pride 5K Run and MAX member Robby Scalise won a third place medal.  That earned him and everyone a generous buffet brunch at the local casino, where CMG local members get together monthly.


In the afternoon they checked out the booths at the Gay Pride festival which stretched over 20 blocks of downtown streets.


After a refreshing dip in the pool in the afternoon, they had pre-theater dinner at the 849 Restaurant and saw the hilarious community theater performance of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

The group was up early on Sunday morning to get a prime spot for viewing the three hour Pride parade with over 250 colorful entries.  The group was impressed by the community feel of the parade which included several local high school marching bands and a large contingent of high school gay/straight alliance groups along with a brigade of grandmas twirling pom poms.  After a delicious brunch, the group went back to the street fair, where there was more entertainment and eye candy from all over.

Although the group was small, due to some last minute cancellations, everyone had a fun getaway and agreed that they want to come back to Palm Springs for Pride/Halloween weekend.


Thanks to MAX travel champion Lorenzo Taylor for organizing!

MAX Booth at the 2019 Castro Street Fair

This year, MAX was at the Castro Street Fair on Sunday October 6th, 2019, with a booth at a prime Castro St and 18th St location!


The weather was perfect with a clear day and warm fall temperatures which brought out a large and festive crowd.


This year’s Castro Street Fair was a great opportunity to spread the word about the many fun MAX SF activities and the many benefits of MAX SF membership. Nearly 100 guys signed-up to receive the MAX SF newsletter and five signed-up as new dues-paying members.


Seven of the ten MAX SF Board members (left to right): Jason Feinberg, Scott Tsui, Mike Barsul, Jerry Tusan, Paul Munro, Jim Cady, Bruce Cecil.

A drawing was held for prizes for each of three categories of visitors to the MAX SF booth:

  • Among those who signed-up at the booth to receive the MAX SF newsletter, the winner received a $100 Apple gift card.
  • The winner from those who signed-up and paid for a dues-paying membership received a bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon.
  • The winner among existing dues-paying members who visited the MAX booth received a bottle of 2008 Château Troplong Mondot St. Emilion Bordeaux (96 Robert Parker).


Many thanks to MAX Board Members Jim Cady and Scott Tsui for making the MAX SF booth happen at this year’s Castro Street Fair.

Special thanks as well to the MAX Board Member who donated the fabulous prizes and to the MAX Member whose designated contribution underwrote the cost of this year’s MAX booth.

Inaugural Chairman’s First Friday at Beaux

On Friday October 4th, 2019, MAX moved our monthly First Friday to Beaux Bar, conveniently located in the Castro neighborhood.

MAX Chairman Mike Barsul took over as event champion and we rebranded this monthly get-together as Chairman’s First Friday.

Many thanks to Jason Feinberg for championing First Fridays for the last two years!

Over the course of the evening, well over 80 men from MAX gathered at Beaux Bar for this inaugural Chairman’s First Friday.



The group enjoyed the chance to catch-up, meet new friends, and unwind after the week. They also enjoyed the more modest drink prices including Happy Hour 2-for-1 cocktails and $2 well drinks!



Join MAX SF for Chairman’s First Friday from 6pm to 8:30 pm at Beaux Bar (2344 Market St, San Francisco) on the first Friday of every month.

For MAX events that feature alcohol, we strongly encourage you to take public transportation, a cab/Uber/Lyft, walk, or have a designated driver.

August Third Thursday

On Thursday August 15th, 2019, over two dozen men joined us at Beaux Bar for MAX’s Third Thursday. Check out members of the group enjoying the evening!).


September New Member Brunch

On Sunday September 22nd, 2019, MAX SF Chairman Mike Barsul and MAX SF Programs and Events Chair Nick Wade held a New Member Brunch at Catch (2362 Market St, between 16th and 17th streets).

New Member Brunches are held periodically to welcome our newest dues- paying members to MAX SF. Join today at https://maxsf.org/join-us!

September Elegant Brunch: The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel

On Sunday September 8th, 2019, nine men from MAX joined MAX SF Communications Chair Paul Munro for an Elegant Brunch at one of the most majestic places to eat in San Francisco, the Garden Court at the landmark historic Palace Hotel.


This event continued our summer monthly event series “Elegant Brunch” in which MAX explores the many opportunities to enjoy an elegant weekend brunch in San Francisco.


The group had a great time getting to know each other while enjoying the majestic setting, live music, and their delicious Sunday brunch selections.



September Wooftop Wednesday: Spirts in the Sky at the Loews Regency

On Wednesday September 11th, 2019, over 40 men from MAX joined MAX SF Programs and Events Chair Nick Wade for cocktails at Spirits in the Sky.



Located on the Loews Regency Sky Deck, Spirits in the Sky is the highest outdoor bar in San Francisco.


Held on the second Wednesday of each month, MAX SF explores the rooftop bars of San Francisco in an event series we’re calling Wooftop Wednesdays with Nick Wade.

The group from MAX had a great time enjoying cocktails while taking in the stunning panoramic views of San Francisco.


August My Favorite Place: Catch

On Tuesday August 13th, 2019, 14 men from MAX joined Jerry Tusan for dinner at one of his favorite places, Catch (2362 Market St, between 16th and 17th streets).


My Favorite Place is our monthly dinner series. Each month a MAX member selects one of their favorite restaurants to introduce to the MAX community.


July Wooftop Wednesday: Spirts in the Sky at the Loews Regency

On Wednesday, July10 th , 2019, about 15 men from MAX met for cocktails at Spirits in the Sky, located on the Loews Regency Sky Deck, the highest outdoor venue in San Francisco.

Held on the second Wednesday of each month, MAX SF explores the rooftop bars of San Francisco in an event series we’re calling Wooftop Wednesdays.

The group from MAX had a great time together enjoying cocktails while taking in the stunning panoramic views of San Francisco.


July Elegant Brunch: The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus

On the first Saturday of July 2019, a group from MAX joined MAX SF Programs and Events Chair Nick Wade for an Elegant Brunch at one of the classiest places to eat in San Francisco, the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus San Francisco.

The sold-out July 6th brunch was the premier of a new monthly event series “Elegant Brunch”, in which Nick Wade explores the many opportunities to enjoy an elegant weekend brunch in San Francisco.

The group had a great time getting to know each other and enjoying the fine-dining atmosphere and delicious menu selections.


MAX Pool Party in the East Bay

On Saturday June 22nd MAX held our first pool party of 2019. 22 men joined MAX at the Walnut Creek home of MAX members Andrew and Anthony starting at 2pm.


The temperature was 92 degrees. Plenty of cold beer, margaritas, sangria, wine, and soft drinks were provided and the guys had a relaxing fun time.


Our hosts Andrew and Anthony prepared a veritable feast, a buffet of delicious Mexican food.


Pool games were organized by Anthony starting at 4pm.


Three winners won prizes!


The pool party was a great afternoon of fun, relaxation, and great food!

My Favorite Place: The Blind Butcher

On Sunday June 16th, Jerry Tusan introduced MAX to one of his favorite places, The Blind Butcher. The Blind Butcher is the Castro’s newest premier steak house located on 18th St between Castro and Hartford Streets. The Blind Butcher features a casual and comfortable vibe with a menu that offers hearty main dishes (including both vegan and vegetarian options).

The event sold out with 14 members of the MAX community attending (we filled their largest table). It was a fun time, great food, and great venue!


The MAX group with our waiter Miguel
(who was very popular with the group!)


Memorial Day Weekend In Ashland!

On Friday, May 24th, 2019, fourteen MAX members traveled up to Ashland Oregon for a delightful weekend adventure organized by MAX champion Lorenzo Taylor. After the six-hour journey by van, the group settled into their cottages and gathered Friday evening for a relaxing dinner at the Brickworks.

On Saturday morning, some participants learned more about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) during an informative backstage tour, while others relaxed at a Japanese spa or checked out the Creekside farmers and artisans market.

After a lovely alfresco lunch on the banks of the Rogue River near Grants Pass, the group meandered through the lush Applegate Valley and stopped at Valley View winery for a winetasting.

That evening, the group saw “As You Like It” the first of three productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Most of the group thought it was thoroughly entertaining with some stellar performances, music, and staging. The female director chose to do several gender-bending twists, including a male coupling.

The group had Sunday brunch and a trolley tour in the nearby historic Gold Rush town of Jacksonville and returned in time for the afternoon matinee of “Hairspray”. The show was uplifting, energetic, and fun, with great vocals and in a groundbreaking more, it featured a differently-able actress in a leading role and some of the group attended a talk back discussion with a lead actress after the play.

Before the Sunday evening performance, the group gathered for an elegant dinner at colorful Hearsay Restaurant.

The final performance was “Mother Road”, which imagined the Joads of today in a sequel to John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” Another well- executed performance, but a little unsettling. As one MAXer observed, “Nicely staged, powerful acting from the old man character. You feel like you are in another world, you can almost taste the dust. In the end we have an unlikely rag tag band of folks finishing a journey not unlike the Wizard of Oz.”

The group returned to the Carlise Garden Suites and spent a while dissecting some of the themes over Applegate Valley wines.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with new friends, great performances, intimate conversations, and great food.

Bourbon Tasting in San Francisco

Thank you to Bruce Cecil and Phil Carberry for a great bourbon tasting event on May 18th, 2019. The event was held at a MAX member’s glamorous penthouse on Telegraph Hill.

As one MAX member said, “I tasted more Bourbon last night than in the past year”.

There was a good crowd, the Kentucky Derby Burgoo stew was outstanding, and everyone had a great time!!

The results for the tasting were:

  • Elijah Craig – 7 votes
  • Woodford Reserve – 5 votes
  • Makers Mark  – 4 votes
  • Knob Creek – 1 vote
  • Bulleit, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam – 0 votes

April Wooftop Wednesday With Nick Wade: Rooftop 25

On Wednesday, April 10th, 2019, a group from MAX enjoyed cocktails, conversations, and views at Rooftop 25. This was the second of our new series Wooftop Wednesdays with MAX SF Programs and Events Chair Nick Wade, in which Nick invites MAX along as he explores the rooftop bars of San Francisco.

DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles)

On the weekend of March 29th - 31st, 2019, MAX member Phil Carberry led a small group of MAX members on a trip to explore Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).

The group enjoyed exploring the rooftop bars of DTLA as well as a walking tour which included the iconic Bradbury Building. One member made it to The Broad, LA’s most in-demand contemporary art museum.

Here are MAX members Bob McGuire, Greg Williams, and Phil Carberry at the 15th floor Perch Rooftop Bar.


Here is event champion Phil Carberry and MAX member Greg Williams at the Ace Hotel rooftop bar along with a view from the rooftop.


This is a photo of the iconic Bradbury Building from their walking tour.


The group was very pleased with the accommodations, beautiful public spaces, bars, and restaurants at the stunning restored Beaux Arts Millennium Biltmore Hotel, recommended by MAX’s travel consultant, David Petlin.

MAX Went to the Theatre: Steve and Pre-Show Brunch

On Sunday March 31st, 2019, members of MAX went to see the New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) production of the tragicomedy Steve.


Before the show, some of the MAX attendees met for brunch at Revelry Bistro, a nearby Hayes Valley French-inspired bistro. The food was wonderful, the atmosphere was casual, and the service was professional, friendly and quick. The group had a great time meeting and socializing over Sunday brunch before heading over to the NCTC theatre.


At the NCTC full-service bar, the staff had thoughtfully reserved a table for our group and had even gone out of the way to produce a custom sign for MAX based on the graphic used for the Steve program.

After enjoying cocktails and refreshments at the NCTC bar the group posed for one last photo before enjoying the NCTC production.


The New Conservatory Theatre Center (25 Van Ness Street, San Francisco), is the premier LGBTQ theatre center in San Francisco.

For any questions regarding future MAX events at NCTC or regarding the MAX discount code offered by NCTC, please contact MAX SF Programs and Events Chair Nick Wade at wade.nicky@yahoo.com.

My Favorite Place - Dinner at Beretta

On Sunday April 7th, a large group from MAX joined our new Chairman, Tom Frank, to enjoy a curated culinary dinner at one of Tom’s favorite places, Beretta. Our group of twenty was seated at one long table in the middle of the restaurant. We enjoyed a five course Italian dinner “family style”.

We sampled a variety of contemporary Italian dishes including eggplant caponatina, arugula & fennel salad with shaved parmesan, pizzas (Italian sausage with marinara, béchamel and green onions, and pear pancetta with gorgonzola and caramelized onions), and short ribs. Just as we thought there couldn’t be more food, another course was brought out.

To complement the delicious culinary experience, we also enjoyed a number of very fine wines from Tom’s wine cellar that he brought along to share with the group.

The most meaningful part of the evening was the opportunity to get to know other members of the MAX community while sharing a fine dinner. At Beretta, the pacing of the dishes was ideal, as the staff kept the dishes coming out but provided pauses just long enough to provide an opportunity to get up and visit with MAX members at a different part of the table.

We were thankful to Tom for introducing us to Beretta. Multiple MAX members commented about the positive energy at Beretta, the great food, and the friendly and excellent service.


For dessert, we had a special treat. Our oldest MAX member, Gordon Deegan, was celebrating his 94th birthday. MAX COO Stuart McFaul arranged for a fabulous cake (white and gold with lemon curd filling, Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, with decorations of white chocolate and pearl and gold sprinkles). Gordon loved his cake (as did everyone else)!

Want to introduce MAX members to your favorite place? Contact Nick Wade at wade.nicky@yahoo.com

MAX
584 Castro Street #672
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 562-5582
concierge@maxsf.org

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