Dirtybird’s Nick Monaco walks us through the bay area of San Francisco

Dirtybird is kicking off the year on a strong note with a futuristic collaboration by Will Clarke and Nick Monaco titled, ‘Like A Girl.’ Its video game-esque synth hook is quirky and sinister at the same time, while subtle percussion and bass keep up endurance on the dance floor. Both collaborators have been rinsing this one heavily in their sets, and it’s rightfully stirred curiosity from among their fans.

Nick Monaco only has one secret and it’s that Nick Monaco is his real name. He’s never afraid to be exposed. He is a fluid, eclectic spirit, a way of being in the world. He’s the guy that you swear that you know from somewhere. But it’s not him that you recognise. It’s the familiar, essential, pulse of his art and aura.

‘Like A Girl’ is complementary of both artists’ styles, and starts off Dirtybird’s year on an experimental note. In particular, its lyrics speak to a common motif in Nick Monaco’s artistic aesthetic: eclecticism, radical and empowering expression, and a commitment to reminding an industry now dominated by heteronormativity of its queer roots. His label Unisex records also manifests this fluidity.

Monaco also happens to be a Bay Area native who was based in San Francisco for most of his career until a recent move to Brooklyn. Nick has taken it wide and covered the full bay, so we’ll now let him do the talking.

YUM YUM

Gangnam Tofu (El Cerrito)
11740 San Pablo Ave, Ste C, El Cerrito

Go with a group eat your weight in Tofu Bibimbap and potato pancake (Gamjajeon) This is a ritual go-to for a cousin reunion.

Bartavelle Cafe (Berkeley)
1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

This is true California eating, a Berkeley institution and relative of Chez Panisse. The cafe is sandwiched between Acme Bakery and Kermit Lynch wine shop so it’s a true gourmand’s haven. Persian breakfast and an oat milk cortado makes Nicky’s soul sing.

Vik’s Chaat Corner (Berkeley)
2390 4th St, Berkeley

Super authentic Indian street snacks served cafeteria style. My family would go here religiously after trips to Ikea. The Chole Bhature is my go to. It’s essentially a fried dough cloud served with fresh aromatic chana masala. Peace out!

The Punchdown Wine Bar (Oakland)
19th street bart, Oakland

Natty wine hub and bottle shop in downtown Oakland. No frills, just that good effervescent communion juice and knowledgeable staff always steer you in the right direction and help discover new wines.

Flour + Water (San Francisco)
2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Sexy handmade pastas. Bring a date. Wine list will make your nips hard.

Tartine Manufactory (San Francisco)
565 Alabama St, San Francisco

Clean, Contemporary, Chronic, Pure Nor Cal vibes right here. Flex your new Patagonia fleece vest and enjoy Tartine’s unobstructed and soul warming ethos.

LOCAL HOT SPOTS

Mac Dre’s Gravesite (Oakland)
Pay your respects to the godfather of hyphy music. Smoke a blunt and leave an offering to Andre Macassi. Not to mention beautiful views of Oak town.

Archimedes Banya (San Francisco)
748 Innes Ave, San Francisco

Traditional Russian bathhouse conveniently located within arms reach of the airport. I come here to decompress after long flights. There’s a cafe with classic Russian fare and a terrace with unique views of the Bay from the south.

DANCING

Great Northern (San Francisco)
119 Utah St, San Francisco 94103

Da club. One of the best sound systems in SF. I can’t leave out Monarch and Public Works either.

Baobab (San Francisco)
3372 19th Street, San Francisco

This place holds a special place in my heart. It’s where the international turn up goes down. Dancehall and Latin nights bring out the true steppers.

Will Clarke and Nick Monaco ‘Like A Girl’ is out now on Dirtybird. Buy here


Photo credit, Billy Kennedy

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Decoded Magazine Director and Operations Manager of Decoded Magazine Radio.

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