NFT San Francisco SOMA / Potrero Hill (North)

SOMA / Potrero Hill (North)

The former industrial district of Soma is now dotted by spacious dot-com startups and hip restaurants where tech workers grab a quick lunch. The not-long-for-this-world witty sculpture Defenestration features apartment furniture freeze-framed in mid-suicide, and marks a city seam where urban tenements meet industrial glamour. Anchor Brewing Company still makes amazing beer in small batches.

The sun always shines on the Hill, but the bar scene is better in its shadow. Visit Hotel Utah and channel your inner Barbary Coast longshoreman. Mighty makes industrial space pulsate with beats demanding you get footloose. At the incline to Potrero, shopping gets serious and food becomes cuisine.See more.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Emilie Russell
Photo:  Emilie Russell

54 Mint
54 Mint is run by three charming old-school Italians--Claudio, Nicola, and Alberto--who will introduce themselves upon your arrival and make you feel as if you've just stepped into their home for a meal. The decor is rustic--wooden-beamed ceilings, walls lined with tins of olive oil and pottery, and wood tables. The place feels simultaneously glamorous and down-to-earth, and the food mirrors this ambiance. Simply but beautifully prepared, I can't say I've been disappointed by anything on their menu, which changes periodically. The pecorino alle mele cotogne (aged pecorino served with house-made quince jam) and carpaccio di polipo (octopus carpaccio topped with olive oil and shaved fennel) are lovely starters, along with their house-made bread. And the pasta! The pappardelle al ragu d'anatra (pappardelle with duck ragout) and the gnocchi al ragu (potato dumplings with beef and pork ragout) are must-trys. Gnocchi this light is oh-so-right.

Posted By:  Meat Meister
Photo:  Meat Meister

Hunter-themed paintings and a double-shotgun video arcade game make this Arkansas-goes-urban hipster cocktail destination in SOMA the perfect place for a neighborhood pig party. During Bloodhound's semi-regular whole hog barbecue feasts, rising culinary star Ryan Farr and friends from 4505 Meats commandeer the alley to grill up ribs on a 14-foot grill. Inside, Farr's fine friends dole out pulled pork sliders, incredible corn dogs, and Farr's signature, wispy, piquant chicharrones. There are also rarer porcine delights like sliced face, hung from long wood planks with big clothespins. (Yep, it's just what it sounds like, but tastes much better than you think.) "Porkapalooza" is a meat fetishist's delight and exemplifies Bloodhound's apogee as what a local bar should be. It's a low-key party that harkens back to 50 years ago when neighbors knew (and liked) each other. Plus there's bacon-infused bourbon and nobody leaves hungry. Shine on, you crazy piggies.

Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

There's no question that Specialty's is the local stronghold for gourmet sandwiches and cookies, and will remain so. But a New York import may be provide some competition, at least in the cookie department. Specialty's cookies come in a plethora of varieties, are thick and delicious, but also very rich, which can also make them overwhelming after a hearty sandwich. 'Wichcraft's sandwich cookies, though there are only three, are thin, filled with ganache, with just right amount of sweetness, making them about as close to perfection as cookies can get. And at $1 a piece, 'Wichcraft cookies are half the price of Specialty's, making less of a pinch on the wallet, and won't require a workout to eliminate the calories. There will still be times that merit a gooey, fresh-from-the-oven Specialty's cookie, though.

Posted By:  Elissa Pociask
Photo:  Elissa Pociask

Annie's Social Club
Hipsters and people who like to laugh at hipsters, unite! What better way to spend a Thursday night than to try to decide if the guy with the fedora and pencil-thin mustache is singing karaoke Robbie Williams to be ironic or not? Even if you're not a performer, this isn't the type of un-watchable karaoke where every other person sings a Journey hit. After a few drinks in the song room, come and get sweaty on the main floor’s Brit-Pop dance marathon, and find other people who like to dance to The Smiths. No matter what, when you're at Annie's, you can always count on the fact that there’s going to be someone who looks way more ridiculous than you do. Cash only.

Posted By:  Elizabeth Tauber
Photo:  Elizabeth Tauber

Thee Parkside
I love nothing more than an excuse to drink in the middle of the day while shopping. The Indie Mart is a bi-monthly market where local designers can sell their crafts--we're talking necklaces made out of buttons, knit pins, vintage shoes, and bizarre looking stuffed animals. DJs spin music, cheap drinks are served, and the designers are on hand to show off how they make bracelets out of sprinkles and resin. It leads to many a damn-I-wish-thought-of-that-moments. Eventually, all of the items will probably start to blend into one dizzying and cutesy blur, but you'll still have left with a few items and a buzz. July 27 at Thee Parkside.

Posted By:  Dan Bollwinkel
Photo:  Dan Bollwinkel

Thee Parkside
As far as I’m concerned, Thee Parkside needs an extra ‘e’ for all the extra entertainment it provides at its red monstrosity of a dive bar. Aside from some pretty far out live music that tends to lean either toward the heavy experimental garage side, or into that lovely alt country rockabilly-ish stuff--see country Sunday’s--Thee Parkside is also the only bar I know of south of Market with a ping pong table. Sanctioned beer pong is, as far as I know, against city ordinances but if you have a yen for a money game it can be found on Thee Parkside’s spacious patio; it can get pretty hairy back there. They also have--gasp--a kitchen. I don’t typically go to dive bars for the food so I’m not so confident in describing any menu items here, nor can I figure out where in the building this alleged kitchen actually is, but they have cheap beer and loud music and a solid happy hour, and that’s good enough for me.

Posted By:  Dan Bollwinkel
Photo:  Dan Bollwinkel

Wolfe's Lunch
Aside from holding the distinction of technically being its own city block, Wolfe's Lunch deserves mention simply for the fact that under one roof one may purchase such wide-ranging items as espresso, a three-egg American breakfast, Korean barbeque, burgers, sandwiches, Chinese dishes and of course, hand-rolled sushi. Also beer, newspapers, gum, candy, cigarettes and V8 juice. Wolfe's is as eclectic as its clientele: typically a delicate mix of students and hangers-on of the art school across the street and various construction crews rebuilding and just plain building out Mission Bay. But if you're ever headed into or out of the Mission on 16th and you just can't decide what you want for lunch, stop by Wolfe's. There's a reason it's always busy: the food is decent, cheap, and if you can think of a dish, it's either on one of the seventeen menus on the wall or they'll just make it for you.

Posted By:  Dan Bollwinkel
Photo:  Dan Bollwinkel

Connecticut Yankee
If you’ve ever wondered where to find all the Boston fans in the Bay Area at the same time, apparently the Connecticut Yankee during a Pats or Red Sox game is the place. I had no idea there were so many chowder-heads in the 415. And who’d have thought they’d all hang out in a place involving the word “Yankee.” But when northeastern sports teams aren’t on TV, the Yankee is as good a place as any in Potrero Hill to duck in for a pint and some wings. And those of you not inclined toward screaming at referee’s thousands of miles away via flat screen TV’s will be right at home. The Yankee is the second closest place to prestigious California College of the Arts that serves booze (the closest isn’t worth mentioning…) so the heated back patio is typically occupied by packs of grad students, architects and designers huddled around professors and the occasional art world luminary.

Posted By:  Elise Burger
Photo:  Elise Burger

CCA Wattis Institute
When asked to fire off the names of San Francisco’s art museums, “SF MOMA” and the “Yerba Buena Center for the Arts” usually roll first from the tongues of most locals. Often overlooked by the general public and local media, however, is California College of the Arts’ Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, an internationally renowned gallery nestled just inside the school’s hulking, industrial doors. Over the past decade, a series of young, sharp-witted curators have exhibited some of the newest and brightest art stars out there; its new director, “it-boy” Jens Hoffman is no exception, as the Wattis recently kicked off its first season under his direction with five—count ‘em, five—exhibitions under one roof, all of which appear to be very promising. Hoffman has also given the Wattis a facelift, and a very collegiate one at that. Traced deliberately about the building in a bold cursive font, the Wattis’ new logo appears to have been swiped from a local little league team. The irony is running a bit too high: visitors now receive Wattis logo buttons, while gallery attendants sport a logo t-shirt uniform. So much school spirit at CCA…go team!

Posted By:  Galina Yakovenko
Photo:  Scott Chernis

Intersection for the Arts is San Francisco's oldest alternative non-profit art space (est. 1965) and has a long history of presenting new and experimental work in the fields of literature, theater, music and the visual arts, and also in nurturing and supporting the Bay Area's cultural community through service, technical support, and mentorship programs. Intersection provides a place where provocative ideas, diverse art forms, artists, and audiences can intersect one another. At Intersection for the Arts, experimentation and risk are possible, debate and critical inquiry are embraced, community is essential, resources and experience are democratized, and today's issues are thrashed about in the heat and immediacy of live art.

Posted By:  Tom Parker
Photo:  Tom Parker

When you’re in the mood for comfort food, “French” is not the first adjective that generally comes to mind. But at the tiny little hole in the wall that is Chez Maman (just two tables and counter space for about ten), that’s exactly what you’ll find. A less pretentious cousin (or spouse, I suppose) to the tony Chez Papa up the block, Chez Maman offers all the benefits of fine French cooking without the attitude or the price. Feast on a mouth-watering assortment of grilled sandwiches, tasty salads, and hearty crepes. They even have cheeseburgers, though the cheese in question would of course be Roquefort, not American. It is still a French restaurant, after all. Whether or not you appreciate the fancy fromage, Chez Maman proves that casual food can be delicious, and that just because your waiter is incredibly French, it doesn’t mean you have to pay twenty bucks for a sandwich.

Posted By:  Jennifer Anthony
Photo:  Jennifer Anthony

Asia SF
Just when I thought I’d come to grips with my confusing titillation over Brokeback Mountain, I went to AsiaSF for a thirtieth birthday celebration. After weeks of conversations and planning with the staff that vaguely smacked of a relationship, the night had arrived. AsiaSF offers CalAsian cuisine served by transvestites who perform hourly along the red bar that cuts the restaurant in two. It is also one of the few restaurants I know of with a downstairs club where our group was able to throw down some specialty beverages and dance themselves into a sweaty frenzy before sitting at the table to partake of the platinum menu selected for our group. We were too cheap for the ritzier diamond menu but the second-class menu didn’t disappoint: before long, dishes boasting such delish options as blackened tuna sashimi, miso-glazed king salmon, and chicken satays arrived. The real party began when the music blared suddenly from the speakers and trannies emerged, one by one, to dance seductively atop the bar. And the confusion began when I pushed aside the miniature ice cream cones and warm banana beignets, lost in befuddled lust over the bewitching trannies.

Posted By:  April Davila
Photo:  April Davila

The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant
I love the Chieftain for its saucy Irish bartenders, for its delicious fish and chips, and because if not for them—I would have had to watch the US get schooled by the Czech Republic in the World Cup this summer stone cold sober. At six thirty in the morning. On a work day! Yes, it’s certainly hard to find a place like the Chieftain these days in San Francisco. And because it’s a neighborhood pub where there is no neighborhood to speak of, you’ll find a great mix of folks—from bankers to construction workers—all there for the love of the pub.

Posted By:  James Wigdel
Photo:  courtesy of Titantic-The Artifact Exhibition

Metreon Mall
At 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg. Roughly two hours and 40 minutes later, it plunged two and a half miles to the ocean floor. Almost 100 years later, people are still fascinated with those last 160 minutes of the Titanic’s life and nothing brings that fascination to life better than Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition. San Francisco is fortunate to be graced with this collection consisting of over 300 actual artifacts from the wreck site, including a remarkable 30,000-pound section of the ships hull. This is an actual piece of the Titanic, not a reproduction. Just the fact that this artifact was hauled up from the ocean floor, transported to San Francisco, and then lifted four stories is amazing in and of itself. The reproduction of the Grand Staircase (you saw it in the movie), and a First Class Stateroom along with the hats, shoes, plates, cutlery, and a myriad of other objects recovered form the wreck are guaranteed to hold your attention for the one to two hours it takes to see the entire exhibit. There is also an excellent gift shop to take home some artifacts of your own, so plan some time to stop by after visiting the exhibit.

Posted By:  Catherine Wargo
Photo:  Courtesy SFCB

Recently named “Best Place to Take An Art Class” by SF Weekly, this quietly fabulous organization might soon be mobbed by the adoring public. Class offerings include “Quick, Expressive Paperback Rebind,” “Mapping as a Creative Strategy,” or “Paper Stencil Silkscreen Printing.” Never heard of any of those things? Time to learn. The Center also features ongoing exhibitions, such as “Found In Translation,” a look at the art of languages like Japanese, Spanish and Khirghiz, and the process and the art of translation. The “Hands On History of the Book” this summer also explores historical modalities of printing and bookmaking: carving on stones, making papyrus, using broad-nib pens, and setting type by hand. The Center also offers more free lectures than you can shake a stick at, so there’s no excuse not to educate yourself.

Posted By:  Jody Ryan
Photo:  none

Metreon Mall
It’s all about having fun at Metreon. Portal 1 adventure zone features all the latest games in futuristic setting. Don't miss their signature gaming experience, HyperBowl, where you can "bowl" down the streets of San Francisco, through the trees of Yosemite, or across the deck of a rocking pirate ship! Try karaoke for your feet with Dance Dance Revolution, the interactive dancing game. Located on the third floor of Metreon, the 15-screen Loews Theatres Metreon is San Francisco’s largest movie theatre complex, with a 3,900-guest capacity. Where the Wild Things Are is an interactive playing space based on the adventures of Max, the hero of the classic children’s book by Maurice Sendak. At Metreon, you can also travel the culinary world without ever setting foot outside the building.

Posted By:  Catherine Wargo
Photo:  Designed by: John Liechty

Cherry Bar and Lounge
Bootie is possibly the best dance party in San Francisco. Presented by well-known mash-up DJs Adrian, MysteriousD, and Party Ben, attendees find themselves on the cutting edge of the bastard pop scene as it is created. What is mash-up (or bootie, or bastard pop)? DJs mix the vocal track of one song over the instrumental track of another to produce combinations that you never dreamed would work. Like “Black Beatles,” a mix of the Beatles, the Black-eyed Peas, Ludacris, and Kelis. Or “Sweet Home Country Grammar,” which features Nelly’s vocals over Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic instrumentals. It sounds crazy. It is crazy. But Bootie is coming up on its second anniversary, and they’re throwing a party at the Ricksaw Stop (155 Fell St) on August 13 to celebrate. As demonstrated by their pirate flag logo, this is technically illegal. Many artists have gone on record as loving hearing their songs mixed by these dj’s, but the record companies hate it. Mash-ups played at these dance parties are only available online or on the free CDs the DJs give away at the events. Bootie draws quite a diverse crowd; would one expect any less from a party that features mash-ups of Kelly Clarkson and the Eagles?

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