Download our Free Best Of App

Shopping & Services

  • Best Pet Boutique

    Babies

    It's no secret that San Francisco is a dog lovers' town, and no one caters to all types of dog lovers better than Hayes Valley's Babies. Whether you deck out your Chihuahua in the latest fashions or seek the most wholesome food for your Great Dane, Babies has it all. The owner, Michael Cunningham, and his two boisterous dachshunds, Zeke… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Frogs

    Sunset Super

    San Francisco's sizeable Asian population ensures that the city stays stocked with creatures not particularly indigenous to the American diet, including live frogs and turtles. Frogs are a notable inclusion in Sunset Super's vast selection of meat in a department that ranges from giant, wiggly conches to (thankfully dead) pork intestines. Last we checked, the amphibious treats could be yours… More >>
  • Readers' Poll

    Best Massages Kabuki/International Orange (Tie) Best Bookstore Green Apple Best Cannabis Club The Vapor Room Best Women's Clothing Store H&M Best Men's Clothing Store Macy's Best Thrift Store Crossroads Best Shoe Store Shoe Biz Best Mechanic No winner Best Furniture Store Propeller Best Veterinarian Pets Unlimited Best Art Supplies Flax Best Music Supplies Guitar Center Best Sex Supplies Good Vibrations Best Pet Supplies Petco Best Kitchen Supplies Sur La Table Best Hardware Store Cole Hardware Best… More >>
  • Best Brazilian

    Marilyn Jaeger Skincare

    There's no one quite like Marilyn Jaeger, a woman who can make you feel comfortable and chatty in the midst of removing all of your pubic hair. She has turned the once painful Brazilian wax into a world-famous art form. Jaeger's version is virtually painless and takes all of four minutes. Her motto is "A clean girl is a happy… More >>
  • Best Cheap Records

    101 Basement

    We've argued the merits of this record store with many a San Francisco record dork, and they always proffer three points: One, the dude with horn-rimmed glasses behind the counter cops an attitude. (He's always nice to us.) Two, the gear for sale on the main floor is overpriced. (The needle for our turntable was affordably priced.) And three, the… More >>
  • Best Bulk Shopping

    FoodsCo

    When you want the low prices of Costco but don't want to pay for membership or brave the sheer mass of cheap humanity, give the unexpectedly helpful FoodsCo a try. The warehouselike building is nothing fancy — OK, it's a little scary — but the prices can't be beat. Here you can buy everything from baby food and diapers to… More >>
  • Best Funky Hotel

    Hotel Boheme

    When our friends visit from London and New York, we put them up at Hotel Boh�me because it's fabulously cosmopolitan (right in the heart of North Beach) without being absurdly spendy. Rooms run from $159 to $189, and they're sumptuous: no chintz bedspreads or hideous floral artwork here. The furniture runs from wrought-iron beds to antique armoires you want to… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    Day One Center

    Baby's on its way and you have no idea where to start. Friends are having a kid and you want to buy them something they might actually use. Got an infant at home and need to find updated supplies. For all of these situations — for just about any baby-related event, really — there's Day One. In one sense, it's… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Doctor for $39

    Farmacia Remedios

    It may not be ideal from a traditional doctor's point of view, but the recent trend of mini-offices in drugstores is often the only option for people without health care. Locally, Farmacia Remedios caters proudly to Spanish-speaking clients, but the large shop's friendly workers make it easy for anyone to visit. That's the point, after all: Should it really be… More >>
  • Best Veterinarian

    Mission Pet Hospital

    San Franciscans spoil their pets horribly. Handmade clothing, special food, and excellent health care are practically the norm. We do it our own way, of course — this is no L.A. full of rich ladies clutching toy poodles. Mission District denizens, for example, are as likely to lavish a mutt with goodies as a show dog, and both pet and… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn a Language

    Pacific Arabic Resources

    Jamal Mavrikios, the president and founder of Pacific Arabic Resources, begins a class by reminding students that there's no better time to learn Arabic. And he's right. This feisty, multilingual Greek New Yorker is the perfect Arabic instructor, with a sharp wit and an easy teaching style. He created Pacific Arabic Resources in hopes of promoting inclusiveness, multilingualism, and internationalism.… More >>
  • Best Lingerie Store

    Alla Prima

    These extravagant, elegant boutiques give new meaning to the word sexy. The stores have an air of rococo elegance, from the crystal chandeliers to the array of silks and lace. In addition to a divine selection and sultry atmosphere, Alla Prima owners Magie Crystal and Yolaida Durán are known for their measuring-tape magic. Even if you're sure you know your… More >>
  • Best Pet-Friendly Hotel

    Hotel Palomar

    As more and more hotels open their doors to our pets, it takes a lot to stand out. Hotel Palomar, near Union Square, has gone the extra mile. When making reservations, guests have two pet package options to choose from — a deluxe room or a suite, ranging from $239 to $439. And with 10 percent of all pet package… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Thrift Town

    Thrift Town is not a shop for the weak-willed or the time-strapped. Unlike some other Mission District "thrift" stores, its selection has not been pre-edited by hipsters. For some this is a deterrent, as it requires more digging. To the pure of heart the store presents a welcome challenge, and the rewards are so much sweeter. Gorgeous, mint-condition Gunne Sax… More >>
  • Best Gifts

    Period George

    The art of display is key here. At Period George the carefully curated and orchestrated tableaux of china, tableware, cooking utensils, vases, candle holders, framed prints, and sundry other decorative objets are delightful to peruse on a regular basis, whether or not you find something to purchase. Offerings range widely in price and style, from affordable kitschy Victoriana to expensive… More >>
  • Best Mascara Alternative

    Benefit Cosmetics

    Eyelash tinting — it sounds like the kind of scary beauty procedure that's normally the sad provenance of starlets and sorority girls. But when you consider all the shortcomings of mascara (bleary, early-morning pokes in the eye; the emotional foresight needed to avoid it on days when someone might break up with you; waking up all raccoony if you forget… More >>
  • Best Cheap Designer Threads

    Jeremys

    Nestled on the darling little alley leading to the almost disgustingly charming little South Park, Jeremys has long been the preferred feeding trough of S.F.'s cheapskate clotheshorses, a classy, well-organized riot of discount designer threads for broke boys and girls. The store reels in customer returns, damaged goods, and past-season items from high-end department stores; it's also in touch with… More >>
  • Best Indian Bazaar

    New India Bazaar

    Every square foot of this friendly, fragrant grocery store is packed with the makings for your next Indian banquet. Dried rajma, moong, chandal and masoor beans, bulk cardamom, coriander and other essential spices, and huge sacks of basmati rice, both raw and puffed, adjoin cans and jars of coconut milk, ghee, preserved mango and papaya, and a wide array of… More >>
  • Best Office Supplies (Plus)

    Polk-a-Dot Stationers

    Polk-a-Dot stocks all the usual stationery-store suspects — pencils, paper clips, staples, and such — but it's the stuff between the glue sticks and the Wite-Out that makes you want to browse the afternoon away. Tiny wooden drawers are neatly stocked with glitter, ladybugs, pint-size printing blocks, and miniature Buddhas. Beautifully tactile Quo Vadis planners from England share display space… More >>
  • Best Tobacconist

    Grant's

    Grant's is a venerable refuge for anyone who still enjoys a contemplative puff of the pipe and the vanishing aroma of smoldering carcinogens. Tucked into only its third location since 1849, this handsome, wood-paneled den is fragrant with history as well as cedar and tobacco. Originally the Sutcliff Pipe Shop, purveyor to prospectors, it was purchased in 1953 by manager… More >>
  • Best Dog Walker/Trainer

    Youngblood Harris

    After just one session with dog trainer extraordinaire Youngblood Harris, your stubborn pooch or unruly puppy will be well on the road to good behavior. Harris has worked with animals for most of his life, and it shows. He cultivates an instant rapport with your four-legged friend with just the right balance of tough love and playfulness. Harris provides in-home… More >>
  • Best Store to Inspire You to Open Your Own Restaurant

    Kamei Household Wares

    There's something strangely disorienting about stepping inside Kamei Household Wares & Restaurant Supply, the Inner Richmond's bargain-filled answer to Bed Bath & Beyond. Its aisles are filled with thousands of items most people have never seen outside a restaurant. At every turn, there's another surprising rack — wooden sushi boats and bridges, the fountain glasses used exclusively for ice cream… More >>
  • Best Map Resource

    Get Lost

    Try as they might, the goons at MapQuest will never supplant the tactile gratification of opening a map, creases intact, and thinking about faraway places with strange-sounding names. Although the wistful fun of plotting a 'round-the-world voyage is nearly obsolete, Get Lost doesn't seem to notice — or care. Here both armchair and actual travelers can find wall maps and… More >>
  • Best Shoeshine

    Allen Feaster, St. Francis Hotel

    "I don't give shoeshines," says Allen Feaster. "I give shoe care. I'm a shoe doctor. You know what I call people who put shoe polish right on a shoe? Shoe murderers. And if you do it yourself, it's shoe-acide." Instead Feaster, proprietor of the vintage shoeshine stand off the St. Francis Hotel lobby, prepares the leather with a thorough cleaning… More >>
  • Best Cheap Haircut

    Bing Du, Supercuts

    Supercuts may be the McDonald's of hair salons, but if the opinions of a growing number of style-conscious locals count for anything, then at least one Supercuts stylist — Bing Du at the chain's Noe Valley branch — should win awards for her work. Her no-nonsense approach (you're in and out of the chair in 20 minutes flat) might put… More >>
  • Best Hole-in-the-Wall Florist

    Guy's Flowers

    Guy's Flowers creates a riot of color on the leafy, pedestrian-friendly stretch of Noe Street between Duboce and Market. On open days (currently Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) the genial florist can often be seen lolling about outside his garage storefront in a deck chair, freshly picked seasonal stems spilling out of buckets along the nearby… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Veggies

    Golden Produce

    A David to Safeway's Goliath across the street, the cramped yet bountiful Golden Produce grocery on Church Street serves a faithful clientele with its high-quality selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Stocking everything from the humble spud to obscure varieties of kumquat, the family-run store purveys standard and organic produce at reasonable prices. Beyond the wide selection of produce, the… More >>
  • Best $8 Manicure

    Relax Nails

    Many nail salons look like Relax, but few offer the same level of service and attention to detail. While an $8 manicure in a similar beauty parlor might leave you with uneven tips, ragged cuticles, and smudged lacquer, the ladies here take so much care over the job they do that they'd rather wipe off the polish and start over… More >>
  • Best Animal Groomer

    Bow Wow Meow

    From Bernese mountain dogs to Siamese cats, Bow Wow Meow is the place to have your pal scrubbed, clipped, and trimmed. With its great prices and top-notch facilities, no place in the city rivals Bow Wow Meow when it comes to grooming our furry friends. The air-conditioned grooming space and large pens for big dogs make for a comfy, stress-free… More >>
  • Best Place to Take an Art Class

    San Francisco Center for the Book

    In this era of instant-gratification entertainment and techno-peppered art, it's nice to know that there are still places to cultivate hobbies that hark back to a simpler time. The San Francisco Center for the Book ups the ante on the craft of bookmaking with a smattering of innovative and delightfully vintage workshops. Here you can take a wood engraving class… More >>
  • Best Naked Yoga

    One Taste

    San Francisco may have more yoga studios than people, but for $12 a pop, you can forego all the others and get the city's quintessential yoga experience at One Taste. Naked yoga has been getting its share of raised eyebrows from less crunchy aficionados — particularly those who (regretfully) remember the famous "Naked Yoga Guy" on Fisherman's Wharf — but… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    The Bike Hut

    We're not sure if Victor Veysey, proprietor of the Bike Hut at Pier 40, would go so far as to say that using and exchanging bicycle stems over and over until a customer finds one that's just right — as he allowed us to do once — counts as official store policy. But it's a good example of the no-worries,… More >>
  • Best World Music Store

    Grooves Inspiralled Vinyl

    First off, Grooves Inspiralled Vinyl — that white building with all the candy-colored albums hanging in the windows sitting just around the corner from It's Tops Coffee Shop — is not a used record store dedicated exclusively to world music. It peddles all kinds of styles: rock, jazz, classical, comedy, blues, soundtracks, folk, electronic, as well as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,… More >>
  • Best Place to Get (Almost) Everything for Dad

    Cable Car Clothiers

    It might be the arresting scent of leather and Brut that greets you at the door, but Cable Car Clothiers ("San Francisco's British goods store since 1939") simply screams Father's Day.* The place has a mountain of headwear to choose from — wool newsies, Borsalino fedoras, safari-ready pith helmets, and Greek fisherman caps — and various styles that, according to… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Dad That Other Thing

    Sally Beauty Supply

    Take some advice: Though Cable Car Clothiers has nearly everything else you might want to get for your pop (see above), don't ask about picking up a straight razor. You'll be quickly put in your place when the lads behind the counter roll their eyes and tell you such razors are technically illegal, and they're tired of everyone asking. But… More >>
  • Best Spa

    Kamalaspa

    Aside from the fact that Kamalaspa looks like it's straight out of an Arabian Nights fairy tale, it's singular among its S.F. cohorts for specializing in the ancient Hindu practice of Ayurveda, an across-the-board wellness practice that means "knowledge of life" in Sanskrit. Launched by self-professed spa junkies Christopher and Amber Marie Bently, whose treks across India's Rajasthan informed their… More >>
  • Best Picnic Supply

    24th Street Cheese Company

    We've learned our soggy lesson well: Fickle microclimates make it impossible to plan a picnic in advance. So when the sun breaks through, we have to be ready to grab the checkered blanket and get to the park on a moment's notice. A pit stop at the 24th Street Cheese Company makes Bay Area picnicking possible. It's not just the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Sell Your Car

    City CarShare

    Wish you could get rid of that gas-guzzling eyesore? It's expensive, smelly inside and out, and nearly impossible to park. Join City CarShare, sell your hunk of junk, and you're likely to save money — and definitely lower your blood pressure. The math may seem complicated at first: Add up the yearly expenses on your car, estimate the number of… More >>
  • Best Craft Haven

    Craft Gym

    Craft Gym is a hidden gem located near the Tenderloin's tenements. Inside it's another universe — a cozy, minimalist space arranged to please craft fanatics. To get things warmed up, the place offers a wide selection of teas. The bathrooms are clean and smell nice and are stocked with hand cream. Tea-fortified and moisturized customers can then take classes in… More >>
  • Best Boutique Hotel

    Inn at the Opera

    Built half a century ago to cater to visiting opera stars, this sophisticated European-style resort is the perfect accommodation for patrons of nearby Davies Concert Hall, War Memorial Opera House, and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. (Among notable guests who've slept here are Plácido Domingo and Mikhail Baryshnikov.) The 48 well-appointed rooms and suites, tastefully decorated with European furnishings, evoke the… More >>
  • Best Eyebrow/Lip Wax

    Jai Anderson at BeneFit Brow

    There aren't many people in the world you'd trust to handle both your facial aesthetics and your most sensitive nerve endings. That's why an excellent waxer is so valuable; she must be gentle yet brutally precise about the requirements of your bone structure. Benefit's star is Jai Anderson, famous among a certain set for her tender touch and patient manner.… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Alemany Flea Market

    We're always hesitant to draw attention to Bernal Heights: For all its marketable charm, the neighborhood remains oddly quaint and unhyped. Its weekly flea market, however, is too great to keep secret. Unfortunately, for you Saturday-night-owls, you must hit the market by 11 a.m. (it runs every Sunday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to get the good stuff. The… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods/Outdoor Store

    Sports Basement

    Take a cavernous warehouse, stuff it with sporting goods of every imaginable kind, add a staff that's as friendly as it is knowledgeable — presto, you have Sports Basement. From snowboards to hiking boots, biking helmets to swimming goggles, brand-name equipment can be had here for — we can't help ourselves — bargain-basement prices. The pretty little secret of how… More >>
  • Best Magazine Stand

    Fog City News

    There's nothing like a good magazine stand to make you realize you're reading the wrong magazines. A corporate rag like Spin may seem like a hot ticket at the doctor's office, but it pales when set among hipper labor-of-love endeavors at a place like Fog City News, which has the kind of selection that forcibly broadens your horizons. A ridiculous… More >>
  • Best Surf Shop

    Mollusk Surf Shop

    In the 1970s, surfing had plenty to do with art — boards were sculpted more than manufactured, airbrushed in wild designs, and ridden with an anything-goes flair more about personal expression than knocking off competitors. Mollusk celebrates that spirit with a ramshackle shop inspired by pure '70s soul surfing. The boards lean heavily toward the long and the fish, with… More >>
  • Best Brand-New Vintage Clothing

    Al's Custom Originals

    You can spend years hunting at thrift stores for the perfect '70s trench or '50s swing coat, but when you consider the potential for failure, the lost hours, the gas money, and the knickknacks you'll inadvertently pick up along the way, you should probably just head to North Beach to see Al. The man is a wizard. He has a… More >>
  • Best Custom Fashions

    My Trick Pony

    Oh, the tyranny of the T-shirt. Stroll down Haight Street and the situation appears positively oppressive: You're either stuck with an overpriced ironic vintage concert tee ("Journey World Tour 1983") or one of a hundred new tees with a Curious George knockoff smiling back at you. How to free yourself from this cycle of fashion frustration? Visit My Trick Pony.… More >>
  • Best Surveillance Technique

    The Safeway Club Card

    Has anyone else noticed that the rise of the Safeway Club Card — that credit-card thingy the store gives out when you sign up with your name and address — nicely parallels that of the Department of Homeland Security? We're not sure this is just a coincidence. Because a record of groceries purchased (which is part of the point of… More >>
  • Best Return Policy

    REI

    Imagine the following scenario: You purchase a backpack. You take it camping — 50 times. Five years after you bought it you're trudging through Yosemite when one of the shoulder straps breaks off. In any normal situation your only option would be to buy a new one or learn to sew industrial material. If you bought it at REI, however,… More >>
  • Best Small Clothing Stores

    Painted Bird and Minnie Wilde (tie)

    Second-hand stores are getting a bit greedy in hawking their wares. Who wants to pay $60 for a dress that you know would cost $5 at a suburban Goodwill? Luckily, there are still places like Painted Bird in this city, shops with discriminating taste in buying clothing and decency in pricing when selling it back to customers. Folk fairies, '60s… More >>
  • Best Creative Reuse

    SCRAP

    An imaginative person's junkyard, SCRAP describes itself as a "creative reuse center" that encourages both innovation and environmental awareness. The store and workshop is a scrounger's paradise of castoffs repurposed as art supplies — textiles, paper, jewelry, wood, buttons, and plastics. SCRAP collects these goods from companies and individuals and distributes them to art groups, schools, and other organizations, encouraging… More >>
  • Best 24-Hour Establishments

    Bob's Donuts

    Bob's is an oasis of civilization in the wee small hours of the morning when the rest of the city's fast asleep and there are glazed old-fashioneds to be dunked. These fresh, hot, made-from-scratch triumphs come in several varieties — plain, cinnamon, glazed, jelly, light, dense — yet none has ever been heavy, greasy, or stale. It's a pleasure to… More >>
  • Best 24-Hour Establishments

    Fiesta Laundromat

    The Fiesta glows like a Fab-scented beacon in a dirt-stained post-midnight world, its cheerful yellow edifice beckoning the sleepless and the crazed to wash, fluff, and fold their way through the predawn hours. There's more to the place than its all-day, all-night welcome mat, though. The city's first solar awning system was installed right here. A magnetic-strip Easy Card payment… More >>
  • Best 24-Hour Establishments

    Walgreens

    When you wake up at 3 a.m. with the sort of sharp pain only prescription drugs can handle, head for one of the 24-hour Walgreens listed above. And even if you aren't in need of round-the-clock Vicodin service, it's a comfort to know that there are other human beings up and about at this time of night, stocking shelves and… More >>
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...