9 Awesome Places to Be in San Francisco Now
SF is an indisputable hotspot year-round, but there’s just something about summer that gets us extra pumped: the outdoor cafes, new shops and art galleries. Take our word for it and hit these 9 spots.
Courtesy of Stern Grove
The Mission is no stranger to authentic Mexican spots, so Fenix has a lot to prove, but they're not playing: the inventive menu has housemade salsas, seasonal sangrias ("Prickly in Pink," anyone?) and large plates that come with every (yes, every) side from their "little tastes" menu. We're just as crazy about the vibe as we are the food. The airy dining room is dripping in ceiling planters and wallpapered with Mexican playing cards.
The new SFMOMA
The SFMOMA is back and better than ever after a $305 million expansion/renovation and new look from designer Snohetta. More than 2.5 times the size of its old digs, the museum now houses the US's largest collection of photography and is also home to a number of free-to-the-public exhibits and the privately-owned Fisher Collection with 1,100 works from American and European greats. If hunger strikes, you've got plenty of options onsite: chef Corey Lee's new three-Michelin-starred In Situ, hipster-magnet Sightglass Coffee, and Cafe 5 which serves up fresh salads and open-faced sandwiches all in the name of California-fusion.
It calls for a bold bar to take over the Lexington Club’s former space, once a veritable SF institution, and the city’s last lesbian bar (that had an incredible 18-year run). Rest assured, the new kid wows with a drink menu revolving around vermouth and innovative cocktails like the 'Breakfast Negroni,' a cocoa puff-infused number with Beefeater, campari, and chocolate salt bitters, and 'Corpse Reviver No. 2' made with Tanqueray 10 gin, Lillet, Cointreau, lemon and absinthe. Complementing the drinks is a categorically sexy atmosphere with a sleek black and white color scheme, interrupted only by dramatic, velvety emerald green chairs and deep purple floral arrangements.
(left) Photo by Matthew Millman, (right) Photo by Wendy Suh
Mac Daddy...Not yo Mamma’s Mac + Cheese
A little backstory: chef Brandon Peacock and owner Jocelyn Bulow opened American comfort food joint Dat Spot in this exact Potrero Hill locale just months ago, and despite rave reviews, it closed down without a word as to why. Now, nearly half a year later, the duo has bounced back with Mac Daddy. Hawking a menu of fancy-schmancy macs – catering to a notoriously gluten-free SF crowd with substitutions for every menu option – customers can pick between 12 variations. Our faves are the pesto mac (fresh basil, roasted pine nuts and pecorino romano cheese) and south of the border mac (chorizo, chipotle adobo, cilantro, avocado, jack cheese).
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Stern Grove Festival
The Stern Grove Festival happens every Sundays at 2 pm in Sigmund Stern Grove (at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard) with free concerts from burgeoning artists and funk innovators to acclaimed symphonies and Spanish singer-songwriters. This year, you can catch the likes of underground hip-hop collective the Hieroglyphics, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and the San Francisco Ballet and attend pre-concert Artist Talks at the Grove's Trocadero Clubhouse.
Courtesy of Stern Grove
Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market
Ok, so technically the Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market isn't new, but each year, it does come back with a slew of new vendors, so we're hitching our horse to that wagon and sticking with it. Every Sunday, 35+ merchants make their way to the waterfront market, bringing the best heirloom veggies, exotic fruits and brunch SF has to offer, within view of the Golden Gate. Get your reusable shopping bags and sun hats prepped and shop the organic produce to your heart's content (or wallets empty).
Rooftop Restaurant & Bar
Owned by Jim and Jennifer Telford of by Easy Bay’s Residual Sugar fame, Rooftop is one of Walnut Creek's most buzzworthy openings. The venue features a semi-covered glass-domed lounge (retractable for rain or dine dining) and an outdoor terrace with reclaimed brick and a living herb wall. Dine on family-style new American dishes like chicken jus smothered pork shank and banana leaf wrapped black cod from chef Justine Kelly (of The Battery and James Beard award-winning Slanted Door restaurant), while taking in the unrivaled views of Mt. Diablo.
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Le Chat Rouge
Brioches and Madeleines, Macarons and Vienneses, oh my. May 21st marked the grand opening of French-transplant David Carbonell’s Le Chat Rouge bakery. With imported flour, baratte butter straight from Normandy, and a 200+-year family-history of baking under his belt, we're confident his pastries are as authentic as they come this side of the pond. The place has a vintage feel by way of reclaimed wooden finishes, old timey cash registers, and a deep red exterior. Pop in for their special le pain du chat rouge, made fresh daily from a recipe more than 300-years old.
Temescal Alley and Alley 49
Take a jaunt over the water from SF to North Oakland and you’ll find Temescal Alley and Alley 49, a collection of eighteen highly-curated, locally-owned boutiques in one of Cali's trendiest shopping districts. The tiny community of artisans is housed in early 20th century buildings which once functioned as stables for the town's famous horse drawn trolleys. Hip shops are a dime a dozen, but our current faves include Crimson Horticultural Rarities, Standard & Strange menswear, Doughnut Dolly and Homestead Apothecary. Up next? The microbrewery Rose's Taproom which will open at the end of summer and serve up everything from classic pilsners to innovative barrel aged brews (stay tuned for forthcoming home brewing courses, too).