“Always Be My Maybe,” the new rom-com streaming on Netflix and screening in select theatres, stars Ali Wong and Randall Park as childhood friends who fumble on their long road to love and self-discovery. The flick, set predominantly in San Francisco, filmed in Vancouver for about a month and half in the spring and summer of 2018, followed by a few days on location in San Francisco.
Keen-eyed Vancouver viewers will easily spot some key locations in the movie, particularly the restaurants. Wong plays high-powered celeb chef Sasha Tran, whose flashy restaurant empire covers both coasts, while Park plays her childhood pal who is a little bit stunted in their hometown of San Francisco.
Real-life restaurant folk will give some heavy side-eye to Tran’s hiccup-free and rapid-succession opening of two huge restaurant projects in San Francisco and New York while running a major L.A. hot spot, (as well as her copious amounts of free time in the process to cavort around town), but much like good cooking, you can take this kind of fun romantic comedy romp with a dash of salt.
For the movie, Wong’s food was created by Los Angeles chef Niki Nakayama; in Vancouver, Wong was aided by local chef Juno Kim, who has a brief appearance at the end of the film as a sous chef. Also, keep an eye out for CTV Vancouver morning show personality Sonia Beeksma as a red carpet reporter (scroll down to see where they filmed her scene).
Be warned, some of the locations below reveal a bit of plot, so if you haven’t watched yet, consider this your spoiler alert.
Glowbal: Knives + Mercy
When we first meet Sasha Tran, she’s the big boss lady at a sleek, modern, bustling restaurant in Los Angeles called Knives + Mercy, which is actually downtown’s Glowbal restaurant. Located on Georgia at Seymour, Glowbal’s sweeping arches over the patio as well as some of the posh interior and semi-open kitchen are seen in the movie.
Nightingale: Saintly Fare
Chef Tran is opening a restaurant in San Francisco, called Saintly Fare. The beautiful two-level restaurant with its bird accents is actually Nightingale on Hastings at Burrard, the acclaimed David Hawksworth restaurant.
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Vancouver Art Gallery: Site of Food & Wine Awards
For a big sweeping gesture, Marcus chooses to ambush Sasha outside the venue where she is set to receive a big food industry award. While the rows of trees sparkling with lights might have thrown you (movie magic!) it’s actually the Georgia Street plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, really decked out for a swank evening.
Cinara/Autostrada: Judy’s Way
Here’s a spoiler alert: Sasha swiftly conceptualizes, funds, secures a location, renovates, preps, and launches a third restaurant in the last bit of the film. Judy’s Way is a clever and deeply personal nod to Sasha and Marcus’ childhood, and the warm interior and smaller space throws off everyone in Sasha’s life who is used to her being a bit more splashy. That charming restaurant is Autostrada on Pender, which, at the time of filming, was still Cinara (same owners, similar concept).
New Town Bakery: Best Luck Dim Sum
Although Sasha grows up to become a prominent chef specializing in modern Asian cuisine, she and Marcus rekindle their love…of affordable dim sum. While Sasha marvels at how much she never gave the modest shop credit, Marcus shows off that he’s a regular there. They filmed this cute scene at New Town in Chinatown.
Streets of Chinatown
The streets of Vancouver’s Chinatown stand in for San Francisco’s – you’ll easily recognize plenty of local businesses and signage (although the production inserted large black-on-white San Francisco street signs) and lots of TransLink blue and yellow buses move about on the streets. You’ll definitely spot places like Sai Woo and its beautiful replica neon sign, as the would-be couple stroll about, as well as Say Hey Cafe, DD Mau,
After an awkward dinner with Marcus’ current girlfriend Jenny, Marcus and Sasha take a stroll on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. Don’t be fooled by the white 23rd St. sign, those banners say “The Drive.” You’ll also spot them walking by the big rainbow and coffee cup mural of Joe’s Cafe.
Marcus is in a band called Hello Peril, and you can catch them playing in the film at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret. The exterior, however, was filmed in San Francisco at a venue called Trax.
Sasha’s Rental Home
When Sasha comes to San Francisco to open Saintly Fare, she puts herself up in a super practical massive mansion outside the city core with gorgeous sweeping bay views. Mind you, the bay is Horseshoe Bay, as the house they used is located in West Vancouver.
Koret Lofts, Gastown: Sasha’s NYC apartment
You’d likely have to be on the inside of this Gastown building to recognize Sasha’s chic urban New York loft as a Vancouver location. We heard from the resident of this wicked cool penthouse suite in the Koret Lofts whose unit in the NYC-inspired building stood in for, well, NYC, in the Netflix movie.
The Roxy: Southies
Hello Peril ventures out of Marcus’ comfort zone to play Southies, which was played by The Roxy.
Marcus’ new apartment: The Jackson (660 Jackson Ave)
Props to the location scouts for finding the exterior for Marcus’ new grown-up person pad on Jackson, which is also a major street in San Francisco, where the movie is set. This apartment building, at 660 Jackson Avenue, is located in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood.
Palace of Fine Arts: Orpheum Theatre
San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts serves as the exterior establishing shot for an opulent gala to which Marcus arrives in a t-shirt. Once inside, not only does he slip into an oversized borrowed jacket, but the entire event slips inside Vancouver’s historic Orpheum Theatre for the interior shots. Movie magic, baby.
Operation Smile Gala: Polygon Gallery
One of the first scenes filmed when the production was in Vancouver was outside North Vancouver’s Polygon Gallery, which served as the bright and modern exterior for an Operation Smile gala Sasha attends with her then-fiancé. This is where you’ll catch CTV’s Sonia Beeksma on the red carpet, too. While it’s tempting to imagine the interior served as the high-concept modern restaurant later in the film, that was actual a museum in San Francisco; sadly star Keanu Reeves’ schedule couldn’t accommodate him being in Vancouver, so scenes with him were all done in SF.
“Always Be My Maybe” is streaming now on Netflix.
- This story has been updated to add four additional confirmed locations