Beso Bistro and Wine Bar 502 Palm Dr, Novato, CA94949 The site of the old Hamilton Cafe, which closed in April 2011, was reopened as Beso Bistro and Wine Bar in December…More 2012. Leo Correa and his wife, Erika, made some significant upgrades to the city-owned historic building, which was part of the original Hamilton Army Air Field (which later became Hamilton Air Force Base). The Correas also own Picante Taqueria in San Rafael. Beso offers California cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Watch for a signature Peruvian dish from Leo Correa's mother country, called lomo saltado, a kind of beef stir fry.
Recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps share an office at the Nave Center shopping area at Center…More Road and South Novato Boulevard. Recruiting has picked up in Marin County as young people seek ways to attend expensive colleges and serve their country with pride, one recruiter at the office said.
It's best to make an appointment by phone with any branch of the services; many times the recruiters are working out of offices in nearby cities or are out in the field. The office hours in Novato can be irregular and often the front door is locked. However, business cards are available outside the office and potential recruits can make an appointment to meet a recruiter at that office.
The newest museum in Novato, the Hamilton Field History Museum, opened in May 2010 and drew many airmen who once…More served at the former air base. The grand opening took place on the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Hamilton Field. The base was operational from 1935 to 1974, first as an Army Air Corps field and later as a station for the U.S. Air Force. Hamilton is named after a World War I flier from Marin who was killed in action in France.
The museum, a rebuilt firehouse erected in 1934, was renovated by a crew of volunteers and was years in the making. It is a joint venture between the city and the Novato Historical Guild. Inside are hundreds of artifacts from the base's heyday, including photos, uniforms, pins, medals and a cockpit simulator. There is a library and research center full of books, posters and videos. Volunteers, curators and docents actively seek additional items from the public to place on display.
Serving Novato since 1918, Pini Ace Hardware is one location in Novato that almost everyone knows. So many…More conversations between Novato friends start with "I ran into (so-and-so) at Pini ... " The store has an incredible selection of home improvement items including paints, plumbing, woods and more. It features a gardening center and a design center for custom cabinetry and more. You'll find a propane tank exchange available here and on many weekends find something fun to occupy the kids.
Pini Hardware, renowed for its radio-controlled army of eager staffers, is located at the Nave Shopping Center near Grocery Outlet. It moved there several years ago from its longtime home on Grant Avenue at First Street -- a move that traumatized some longtime residents who though the downtown area would never recover from Pini's absence. Pini usually participates in the city's annual Fourth of July Parade with its popular Plunger Brigade.
A Spanish-style building from the Art Deco era serves as a lovely and appropriate home for the Novato Arts Center and…More Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. The structure was built as the centerpiece of the Hamilton Army Air Field, which later became Hamilton Air Force Base. When the base was decommissioned in 1974 and the area turned residential in the early 1990s, the city worked with its Civic Arts Commission to brainstorm how to use the facility as an epicenter for artists. After the City Council decided to create the Novato Arts Center in 1999, the building gradually morphed into studios, classrooms and gardens only a year later.
Since then, the local arts organization has provided a series of juried shows, regional and national exhibitions, member exhibits, lectures, workshops and classes. The gallery and gift shop opened in 2000 and adopted the Marin MOCA name in 2007.
The city arranges for a leasing agent to oversee the rentals of the 24 art studios in the three-building complex in Hamilton's "downtown" area. Visitors are welcome to swing through and talk to the artists at work, although many do not have regular studio hours.
The complex also is home of the nonprofit Artists of Marin MOCA, previously known as the Art League of Northern California and even earlier known as Indian Valley Artists. It was the Indian Valley group that spearheaded the effort to create a Novato Arts Center back in 1995.