Shopping & Services

  • Readers' Poll

    Best Massages Sunset Sauna & Massage Best New Bookstore Borders Books and Music Best Used Bookstore Green Apple Books Best Women's Clothing Store Ooma Best Men's Clothing Store Macy's Best Vintage Clothing Store Crossroads Trading Co. Best Shoe Store Nordstrom Best Car Repair Robert's Best New Furniture Store IKEA Best Used Furniture Store Goodwill Best Art Supplies FLAX… More >>
  • Best Organic Grocery Delivery

    Planet Organics

    With their Planet Organics delivery service, husband and wife team Larry Bearg and Lorene Reed are helping to eliminate one more excuse folks give for not eating their vegetables. After being satisfied customers of the South San Francisco-based company for a year, back when it had just 100 clients, Bearg and Reed bought the online-based business from the previous owners… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Naked Eye News & Video

    The store specializes in cult and foreign films and doubles as an eclectic newsstand (you can find both 7x7 and The Baffler here), but the best thing about Naked Eye is the friendly guy who runs the place, Steve Chack. He's a far cry from your average video store clerk, the disapproving hipster watching Rushmore at the counter. This guy… More >>
  • Best Newsstand

    Fog City News

    When Adam Smith opened Fog City News in 1999, he focused on providing the most diverse offerings of magazines in what he accurately describes as an "elegantly old-fashioned" setting. He paid close attention to the aesthetics, hanging framed turn-of-the-century photos of San Francisco on the daffodil- yellow walls, laying plush burgundy carpeting on the floors, and outfitting the upscale shop… More >>
  • Best Used Books

    Book Bay at Fort Mason

    We freakin' love Book Bay. And if you're a connoisseur of top-quality used books at bargain-basement prices, you will, too. We frequently drop in to this cubbyhole of a store during weekend strolls through the Marina, and we're never disappointed. Many titles are only a few months old, the stock is replenished often, and the prices are ridiculously low. On… More >>
  • Best Place to Adopt a Cat

    Pets Unlimited

    Adopting a cat can be a daunting experience. How do you choose? Which one is right for your so-called lifestyle? Fortunately, Pets Unlimited in Pacific Heights eliminates the messy guesswork. Opened as an animal shelter and hospital more than 50 years ago, it strives to create a comfortable living environment for felines until they connect with the right person. Cats… More >>
  • Best Anarchist Underwear

    Needles and Pens

    Informally known in some circles as "the anarchist store," this Mission District shop sells home-published zines and cool, low-cost homemade clothing. The zines -- dozens and dozens of them, from all over -- are mostly photocopied, and the DIY-style wearables include underpants made of old silk-screened T-shirts with the original words and designs showing up in random, uh, places. Just… More >>
  • Best Analog Addition to Your Cell Phone

    Master Ding Zu-Yin

    Your cell phone is naked without the artistic embellishments of renowned Chinese master craftsman Ding Zu-Yin, who practices the 4,000-year-old art of microengraving with a couple of twists: His tools are electric powered, his canvases the vital communication devices we carry around. The images in his sample case -- all carved on real cell phones -- range from ornate traditional… More >>
  • Best Stationery Store

    Kinokuniya Stationery

    Need a red plastic protractor, Japanese greeting cards, designer photo albums, or vivid erasers in the shape of sushi rolls? Whether you have straightforward stationery needs (drafting paper, spiral notepads) or more specialized ones (Sanrio-style origami paper in all colors of the rainbow), Kinokuniya Stationery in Japantown is likely to carry it. The garishly lit and meticulously organized shop… More >>
  • Best Lumberyard

    MacBeath Hardwood

    MacBeath sells its handsome wood in five places -- San Francisco; Berkeley; Salt Lake City; Edinburgh, Ind.; and Perris, Calif., near Riverside -- but we're especially fond of the Hunters Point location. While it's true that the East Bay store stocks more tools, the S.F. shop just feels more like a lumberyard, and you can buy stains and woodworking… More >>
  • Best Children's Activities

    Crissy Field Center

    For ecologically minded, innovative stuff to do with your kids, look no further. The staffers at the Crissy Field Center consistently put together creative workshops that actually sound fun. With an emphasis on reusing common household castoffs and gently instilling a sense of land stewardship in youngsters, the activities also give the impression of working with thoughtful parenting rather than… More >>
  • Best Local Online DVD Subscription Service


    What distinguishes GreenCine from that other mail-order movie outfit (rhymes with "icks") isn't just its giddily un-corporate attitude. It's the buzz that comes from building a local community of renters and ranters. "Be a critic. Show your colors. Rate, review and compile lists that you thought only a freak like you would be interested in," says the site. "Throw a… More >>
  • Best Moving Company

    Bay City Movers

    Customer satisfaction speaks volumes, especially when it comes to moving companies, which are notorious for breaking shit, losing shit, and not apologizing for any of the shit they put you through. So the fact that Bay City Movers' entire client base is garnered through word-of-mouth speaks very loudly for itself. The magic stems from owner/operator John Reardon, whose goal is… More >>
  • Best Vintage Web Site

    Should you find yourself married to a foreign diplomat, the first thing you'll need to do is buy yourself a year's supply of vintage couture in which to flirt with Secret Service agents at cocktail parties. No matter what part of the world your spouse's work may take you to, you can always find such fripperies at, the virtual… More >>
  • Best Cards

    Crafty Cards

    If you love to give and send cards but hate the Hallmarked crap at your local Walgreens, check out Crafty Cards, where you can buy handmade, letterpress-printed (i.e., simple, beautiful) cards for just about any occasion. In addition to funny, pretty cards for birthdays, holidays, or any old day, you can find copies of the entertaining house zine, Ker-bloom!, and… More >>
  • Best New Furniture Store (tie)

    Harvest Home Stores, Valencia Interiors

    We've long been on a quest to find the perfect furniture store. San Francisco generally sucks in this area: As a rule we find antique shops that smell powerfully of mothballs or new stores that sell ghastly "modern" (read: really uncomfortable) styles at a premium. (Oh, and IKEA. Enough said.) Harvest and Valencia are two exceptions. Both sell a range… More >>
  • Best Used Furniture Store

    The Touch

    We're not sure we want to know why this shop is called "The Touch," but we don't really care. Two enormous rooms of well-kept, reasonably priced, non-stinky used furniture is enough for us. You can find old typewriters, midcentury coffee tables, metal desks, wooden lamps, the coolest retro couches in town, and a 6-foot-tall, pink-and-orange chair straight out of… More >>
  • Best Sewing Classes

    The Sewing Workshop

    We've always wanted to learn to sew, but we don't have a machine, and we don't have any friends who trust us enough to loan us theirs. Fortunately, the folks at the Sewing Workshop have no such compunctions. Even rank beginners get to use their (expensive) Bernina machines. But don't let that intimidate you: Starter classes are fun, encouraging, and… More >>
  • Best Desecration of a City Landmark

    Haight-Ashbury Gap

    There was a time when Haight and Ashbury used to be much more than an intersection. It was a sacred place that defined the cultural explorations of the mid-'60s, a spiritual beacon to all acid-dropping searchers throughout the cosmos. It was heavy, man. But today that legendary spirit is no more. This once-grand intersection is home to the most loathsome… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Almost Everything

    Mendel's Art Supplies

    Mendel's Art Supplies started out in 1968 as mainly a house-paint store. Since then it's diversified -- really diversified. If you fail to find what you need at a San Francisco bike shop, hardware store, art store, fabric shop, stationery store, or toy store, the clerk is likely to send you to Mendel's, which bills itself as specializing in eccentric… More >>
  • Best Place to Dress Like a Rich Porn Star


    No, you pervert; this is not a clothing store run by fat male hetero porn star Ron Jeremy. This is a marked-down designer clothing store where people who want to look like they've been to Wilkes Bashford, but can't afford it, shop. It was started in 1987 by a fellow named Jeremy Kidson in a storefront a few blocks… More >>
  • Best Bargain Store

    Bargain Bank

    If you go to the Bargain Bank desperately needing a jar of peanut butter pre-mixed with swirls of jelly, of a type discontinued several years ago, you're probably going to be disappointed. The store's stock turns over so fast, and is so varied, eclectic, and random, that the most successful shoppers enter with a Zen cast of mind utterly uncontaminated… More >>
  • Best Vinyl Snobs

    Record Collector

    This joint is a crate-digger's dream, the real deal: It only sells records. No tapes, no CDs. Even the obscure location -- tucked away on 21st, just off of Mission -- feels like insider information. But the scruffy dudes at the register make the store truly special. They mistake chomping on a sandwich for customer service, and if you can… More >>
  • Best Vinyl Staples

    Amoeba Music

    The pristine reputation of Amoeba is no secret to Bay Area music lovers; the shelves of new and used goodies and the encyclopedically knowledgeable staff have made the place internationally renowned. But check this out: Way down below the racks of good music you really want are piles of used $1 records that you should own. These dusty little nuggets… More >>
  • Best Vinyl That's Not Amoeba

    Open Mind Music

    Hordes of shoppers can give Amoeba the frenzied flavor of a Bangladesh marketplace. If you're in the mood for more peaceful crate-digging, Open Mind has the intimate feel of a mom and pop record store. It's an easy stroll down the hill from the bustling Haight. Inside, vinyl lovers will delight in the well-organized rows of clean records, all justly… More >>
  • Best Bargain-Priced Pianos

    Salvation Army

    Beethovens on a budget are advised to bop into this resale shop where orphaned ivories can be taken home and tickled on the cheap. There's never a huge selection of instruments (usually only three or four, sometimes none at all), but most that wind up here are priced under a thousand bucks -- pocket change compared to buying a new… More >>
  • Best Reagan-Era Road Trip Tapes

    Community Thrift

    Sure, the advent of the 10-CD changer was probably a godsend to long-haul truckers, but there's a certain old-school charm to day-tripping with cassette tapes. If you're getting ready to hit the road, the motley selection of highway-ready cassettes at Community Thrift is unmatched. You can pillage boxes and shelves and find some great selections -- everything from Cold War… More >>
  • Best Vintage Drum Shop

    Sam Adato's Drum Shop

    If you're looking for a set of skins with some classic character, talk to Sam Adato, the curly-coiffed ex-rocker behind the counter at this SOMA drum shop. The place has been buying, selling, and swapping drum sets for more than 10 years, and Sam's selection of sparkly vintage kits is way cooler (and probably better-sounding) than any cheap McDrumset… More >>
  • Best Muni Solution


    Rather than shit-talk Muni for its erratic schedules, crazy drivers, and jacked-up fare, we'd prefer to praise the Emeryville-based company NextBus for making the Muni experience that much better. Through the use of satellite tracking technology, NextBus makes arrival information available online (and in select bus shelters) for several of S.F.'s most-used lines, such as the 22 Fillmore and the… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Haircut and See Modern Art


    If John Waters were given free rein to design a hair salon, it might look something like Glama-Rama! Gigantic cans of Aqua Net rest on pillars situated amidst lush greenery, tall ceilings, and an ever-changing selection of art, from edgy glitter portraits to cartoonish digital images of war. The shop's clientele includes transgender performance artists and notable drag queens, as… More >>
  • Best Beads/Jewelry Making

    General Bead

    Although it's tucked away in the not-always-inviting alley of Minna Street, General Bead is a jewelry- and dressmaker's paradise. The worldly store houses millions of decorative adornments, from Austrian crystal to African wood, as well as all the fixings to secure, string, or display them. The organization of the place makes it a friendly one for all designers' skill levels.… More >>
  • Best Independent Dance Music Store

    Tweekin Records

    Sure, you can find more records at Amoeba or more flavor-of-the-minute tunes at BPM, but Tweekin Records owner Darren Davis supports the local dance music community where it counts, by releasing singles from some of our most promising house music talents -- from Joshua to S.W.A.T. -- on his own label. Then his small but dedicated staff of DJs spins… More >>
  • Best Gently Used Porn

    The Magazine

    The atmosphere at this venerable institution is surprisingly friendly and democratic considering its product: piles and piles of new-to-you porn. And not just any porn -- weeeeeeird porn. In the wooden glass-fronted cabinets and flip-through bins lining the walls of the rather dim shop are ancient photo magazines catering to all possible predilections, catalogs of aggressive-looking vintage marital aids, Betamax… More >>
  • Best Edible Cosmetics

    Lush Fresh Cosmetics

    Sniffing the gobs of real cocoa powder that spill out of their toffee- and honey-scented massage bars or the kiwi, pineapple, and papaya in their hair treatments, it's easy to mistake either of the two Lush Fresh Cosmetics locations as actual confectioneries. All of the stores' products are vegetarian, most are vegan -- many are so close to actual food… More >>
  • Best Poster Store

    Poster Source

    Some poster stores specialize in rock art, others in movie ads, others in reproductions of post-impressionist paintings, and still others in those vintage broadsheets with the grinning demon enjoying a glass of Campari. Poster Source specializes in all of them. The walls and bins of its two well-organized floors are packed with jumbo-size replicas of Van Goghs, Klimts, Picassos, and… More >>
  • Best Knife Sharpening

    Columbus Cutlery

    Last year, when Ottilia Malattia decided to retire from the North Beach neighborhood knife-sharpening store she'd run with her husband, Pietro, for 40 years (his great-great-grandfather started the business in 1850, during the Gold Rush), she turned the place over to her friend Phillip Antonelli, of the Antonelli Knife Sharpening firm. Both of Antonelli's grandfathers were traveling knife sharpeners in… More >>
  • Best Furniture Bargains

    Alemany Flea Market

    Conventional wisdom says to visit the Alemany Flea Market, the weekly used-goods spree that sets up shop each Sunday, early in the day for the best finds. But when you're looking for a groovy couch or a kitchen table, that just ain't the truth. The sellers who hauled their heavy crap to the curb at 6 a.m. are loath to… More >>
  • Best Kitchenware Bargains

    Economy Restaurant Fixtures

    Yes, we admit it: We lust for classy kitchen tools. Luscious visions of All-Clad sauciers, Bron mandolines, and Wüsthof Grand Prix 8-inch chef's knives haunt us. But since working for a free weekly means no enormous paycheck, rather than spend ourselves into the poorhouse shopping at Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma we stop by the vast bargain warehouse that is… More >>
  • Best Hip Hop Condoms

    Jimmie Hatz

    OK, truthfully, Jimmie Hatz are the only hip hop condoms available. But that doesn't mean they don't rule. What player wouldn't want to strap on a big dog when "putting in real work," as the Hatz's packaging suggests. The rubbers come in three styles -- Rottweiler, Mixed Breed, and, hoo boy, Great Dane -- each featuring the trademark bulldog on… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Albanese Hair Salon

    Debra Albanese knows how to take care of her clients. Whether it's that fresh spring hairstyle you've been yearning for (she's an expert on accentuating your best features) or a little pick-me-up for your washed-out 'do (radiant highlights, anyone?), she and her staff will cater to your styling needs. If you're looking to have your curly locks straightened, ask about… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Les Cent Culottes

    Once you've gone French in the lingerie department, it's hard to go back to run-of-the-mill, department-store bras and panties. Sophie Boudet, a former chef from Paris, recognized the hole in the market when she couldn't find the high-quality lingerie so common in her native France, and there's no sexier lingerie shop in the city than her Les Cent Culottes. There… More >>
  • Best Gift Shop

    Kamei Restaurant Supply Co.

    This store specializes in beautiful Asian ceramics at incredibly affordable prices. We've stocked our kitchen with its wares, but we're fondest of a set of pale blue-and-green shallow dishes, at $1.49 each, that we use as coasters or saucers for condiments, and a pale-green-pottery lidded canister, for $4.99. The stock is amazing; in addition to ceramics you'll find utensils, collapsing… More >>
  • Best Boutique Shopping

    Union Street We know that our city is a regular shoppers' mecca, filled with options. Of course there's Union Square, if your choice is to go elbow to elbow with the tourist and society set. And there are great vintage finds on Valencia Street and in the Haight. But for flat-out excellent boutique shopping, no street in the city packs… More >>
  • Best Places for Same-Sex Wedding Registry

    The wedding business is big business, and it has only grown in recent years thanks to the spike in same-sex weddings. In this city alone, there reside a few thousand couples who were lucky enough to have a City Hall ceremony during the month of love that began in February and was abruptly halted in mid-March. For them, and the… More >>
  • Six Best Bookstores

    The following are what we like to call real bookstores: places that smell of old wood, leather bindings, and pressed flowers; places with whimsical notions of organization, bookcases that don't match, and a love of literature that's palpable; places with narrow aisles, eccentric little signs, comfortable chairs, and so many great books you know you'll have to come back again.… More >>
  • Best Stores for Crafty Types

    Paper Source 1925 Fillmore (at Pine), 409-7710; 2061 Chestnut (at Steiner), 614-1585, The motto of Paper Source, a small chain of shops selling gorgeous paper-related products, is "Do something creative every day," and if you were to go into one of its two San Francisco locations just once a month you'd be set to meet that demand. Filled not… More >>
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