Behind Cliff House is Camera Obscura , built in 1948-49 as part of the Playland at the Beach amusement area. The small building is...
Hard to imagine from these ruins, but Victorian dandies and working stiffs once converged here for bracing baths in itchy wool rental...
Surfers aiming for Ocean Beach tilt toward these twin landmarks on Golden Gate Park's extreme western edge. The 1902 Dutch windmill at...
Microbrews with views: watch Pacific sunsets through pint glasses of the Beach Chalet's house beer, with live music most Fridays and...
The newfangled and sadly soulless Cliff House can’t compare to old-school Louis just up the street, with its Pacific views, ’70s...
1090 Point Lobos Ave · interesting places nearby
Cliff House information
Populist millionaire Adolph Sutro imagined the Cliff House as a working-man's paradise in 1863, but Sutro's dream was rebuilt thrice. A $19-million 2004 facelift turned the Cliff House into a sadly generic, if panoramic, restaurant complex. Two key attractions remain: sea lions barking on Seal Rock and the Camera Obscura , a vintage 1946 attraction projecting outdoor sea views onto a parabolic screen.
After an 1894 fire destroyed the original structure, Sutro rebuilt the Cliff House as a palatial eight-story Victorian resort with art galleries, dining rooms and an observation tower. It miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake, only to be destroyed by fire the following year. The 1909 stark neoclassical replacement built by Sutro's daughter Emma remained popular for its saloon and restaurant. Today the Bistro's Zinc Bar is in the 1909 structure, while the upscale restaurant is in the 2004 addition.