San Francisco doesn't exactly get scorching in summer--in fact, it's not even our warmest season--but the few blissful heat waves we do get sure make us thirsty. Summer drinks are typically made with lighter, un-aged spirits, served tall over ice, and are meant to refresh and rehydrate; Gatorade for a city where drinking is one of our favorite sports. Here's a sampling of some of the best summertime drinks from Camper English, a well-known SF cocktail expert and superstar tippler.
Built almost entirely of concrete in the 1970s, Japantown is a vibrant neighborhood, a cultural landmark, and a complete eyesore. But unlike our prettier, more popular neighborhoods, where everything has already been discovered, homely J-town still has hidden gems to unearth. From a tiny, hard-to-find sushi spot with a brilliant/crazy "soup nazi" chef to a soothing spa where you can get buff to a boutique where you'll browse the latest in bike messenger couture, check out our Japantown treasure map.
When cramped city life becomes too much to handle, why not combine the two things San Franciscans love most: great food and the great outdoors. Whether it's a simple grassy knoll, a majestic island or a gorgeous (if chilly) beach, it's all nearby, and made all the better by a perfectly prepared picnic; here's where to get the best picnic supplies and where to take them.
Economic meltdown. North Korean nukes. Swine flu. Signs abound that life as we know it may be coming to an end, and it's time to start preparing for post-apocalyptic scenarios. There's no time to build a panic room or bomb shelter--we'd suggest seducing somebody who already has--but we can point you toward the few local spots where you can find survival gear, menacing weaponry, firearm training and other Armageddon must-haves.
Dive bars have always provided sustenance for their pickled patrons, from the salty popcorn that keeps them drinking to the beer nuts whose few nutrients keep them from dying, but several of SF's standout hooch-hovels are now putting out pretty exceptional food--think deep-fried pickles, pulled pork, oyster po'boys, fish tacos and alligator corndogs--and at dive bar-level prices, too; check 'em out.
(Photo: ICHI sushi at Bender's Bar and Grill)
While we cringe at the Paris Hilton-style toting of rat-faced pygmy dogs in Hermes handbags, we do agree that most experiences are better (from sun bathing at Dolores Park to having a beer at 540 Club) with man's best friend. For the most dog-friendly neighborhoods, head to Castro, Bernal Heights, Mission or Cole Valley, and for a list of places to eat, drink, walk and overnight with your pup, try these Fido-friendly spots.
Whether you've recently been laid off or have always been cheap, getting stuffed or wasted for a handful of Washingtons is deeply satisfying--we know because we've tracked down the best dollar deals in San Francisco. Your $1 won't get you anything but dirty looks if you don't know where to go, but we will spare you that embarrassment with our suggestions for the best $1 deals in the city, and while we were at it, the better $2 bargains too--you know, for when you really want to make it rain. Happy buck hunting!
After all the lunch breaks you've spent eating PB&J hunched over your keyboard, you deserve a little midday pampering. Do yourself a favor and use your break for a quick, rejuvenating spa treatment at one of these spas, which offer nail, skin care, waxing and massage treatments; you'll come out primped, glowing, waxed or relaxed in less than an hour, and that sad little sandwich will be waiting for you when you get back.
This swoon-worthy soup--pronounced "fuh"--straight out of Vietnam has a cult-like following in San Francisco for many reasons: absurdly large, these hearty bowls of noodles are often also ludicrously inexpensive; ingredients can range from the approachable/pedestrian (chicken, beef) to the adventurous/disgusting (tripe, pork blood and chicken intestines); and the seventh grader in all of us can't get enough of the easily misappropriated name--Oakland's Pho King almost made our top five on sense of humor alone.
While the Castro's vibrant LGBT-friendly nightlife scene is best known to outsiders for tight tees, cheap cocktails and throbbing dance music, insiders know there's more to Castro bars than sweaty clubs and drunken boys. Stroll through the few square blocks after dark and--besides the requisite number of sweaty clubs--you'll find a beer-focused punk-rock bar, hip live music venue and a number of spots to fill up on both food and booze.