Where to trick or treat in San Francisco
October can be a whirlwind, packing in all the spooky and fall-festive activities, including visiting haunted spots, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. But the main event is at the very end: Halloween. As October 31 approaches, and if you have kiddos in your life, it's essential to have a plan of attack to make the most out of your trick-or-treating adventure. Thankfully, Halloween in San Francisco is taken seriously, with plenty of festive and picturesque neighborhoods that go all out to ensure the kids have a Halloween they'll remember—and enough candy to last them until Thanksgiving. We've compiled the best places to trick or treat in San Francisco. From the stately mansions of Presidio Heights to Sea Cliff to the communal vibes of the Mission to the big Halloween bash in Nopa, you're sure to find the perfect neighborhood for your family on our list. Just make sure to bring a bag big enough to hold all of your loot: Most of these neighborhoods are known to be quite generous! If you are after more adult-friendly Halloween ideas, don't miss our round-up of Halloween events in San Francisco.
The best Irish pubs in San Francisco
There’s no shortage of Irish-American pride in San Francisco. If you don't make it to the city's annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, you can always show your love of all things Irish year-round by putting back a few pints at one of the city’s fine Irish pubs. Forget sports bars—a true blue (er, green?) Irish pub can be found in practically every corner of the city, from the Mission to downtown. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in San Francisco
The best places for stand up comedy in San Francisco
This is a city that welcomes and embraces unique individuals and thus, it has long been known as a flourishing community for comedians. Catching a good stand up comedy show is one of the best things to do in San Francisco, and the city by the Bay is home to some of the best up-and-coming talent—many great comedians such as Margaret Cho, the late Robin Williams, and Dana Carvey got their start at the underground comedy clubs that dot North Beach and the Mission District. Wondering where you can catch a good laugh? Here are ten of the best place to see stand up comedy in SF.
The best blow dry bar options in the Bay
While San Francisco may not be known for its killer fashion sense, when it comes to beauty, the Bay Area brings its A-game. Well-known international brands like Benefit, Sephora and Bare Escentuals have their headquarters in San Francisco. Nail salons, day spas, makeup boutiques and barber shops are everywhere, with both luxury and affordable offerings in all of SF’s bustling neighborhoods, from West Portal to Cow Hollow. And one beauty trend that’s taken the city by storm? The blow dry bar. These wildly popular salons sell more than just a fun experience and polished locks. As Karen Hayes, owner of the East Bay’s Bounce Blow Dry Bars, puts it, “We’re in the business of empowering women. When you look good, you feel good, and you’re more inclined to do good.” Making the world a better place one blowout at a time? That’s something every savvy woman can get behind. Want to experience the blow dry bar trend first hand? Here are the top ten places to get a self-esteem boosting blowout in the Bay Area.
The best barber shops in the Bay
If you’re a gentleman about San Francisco in search of a stellar buzz cut, precise beard trim or straight razor shave, you’re in luck: The city by the Bay has a surprising amount of quality barber shops. From the no-nonsense, old-school style hair salon to the new wave hipster shop offering hangover facials, there is a barber for every babe out there. While finding the right spot is a personal thing—much like your preferred coffee shop or tattoo shop—you can’t go wrong with one of the following places. Here are the best barber shops in the Bay.
Grocery stores open on Christmas day
If you wake up on Christmas morning and realize you forgot to grab the shrimp/whipped cream/fruitcake your great aunt Marian asked you to bring to the family holiday celebration, don’t have a panic attack while you’re opening gifts. While many of San Francisco’s prime food outlets are closed (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Rainbow, Bi-Rite and Real Foods will all be shuttered), a few of SF's best grocery stores are open for a limited time during the big day. Wondering where to get eggs for the eggnog you decide to make at the last minute? Need kale for your kale caesar? Here to save the holiday are 14 grocery stores open on Christmas day. RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Christmas in San Francisco
The best grocery stores in San Francisco
San Francisco is truly a food lover’s city and at any given moment in time, you can find exactly what you’re craving, be it one of the city's best burgers and fries fresh from the deep fryer at 2am or a plate of top-notch sushi on a Tuesday at lunchtime. Not only do food lovers enjoy eating out, they also take pleasure in showing off their cooking chops. This serious food city is filled with culinary street knowledge, and the masses and chefs have to shop somewhere, right? Wondering where local foodies pick out the perfect peaches and the most marbled mignon? Here, we list the top ten places to shop for groceries in SF.
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The absolute closest watering hole to AT&T Park—in fact, it’s actually connected to the stadium—is Public House. A high-end sports bar option from chef Traci Des Jardins, Public House has 26 TVs and 21 beers on tap, most of which are local brews like Bear Republic Racer 5, Almanac Blueberry Jack, and Faction Alternative Facts Session IPA. The food is upscale pub grub: think pork belly potato skins with chipotle aioli and salsa verde; a tri-tip cheesesteak sandwich with gouda, poblanos and onions and spicy pulled pork sliders with cabbage-onion slaw and fried pickles. If you've got tickets to a game, grab a plastic cup of your favorite draft beer before using Public House’s secret entrance to get into the stadium.
“No cuts. No color. Just blowouts,” is the tagline of the insanely popular Drybar, the salon that’s credited with bringing the blowout craze to the masses. There are two Drybars in San Francisco—one in Pacific Heights another downtown. Both of the salons sport Drybar’s signature buttercup yellow, white and grey color palette and are constantly booked, so be sure to reserve a spot in advance. Romantic comedies and classic chick flicks play from muted, subtitled television screens, and when you check in, the receptionist offers you a cookie and a drink—water, coffee or sparkling wine, depending on the location. The hairstyles are cheekily named after cocktails: the Manhattan is a sleek and smooth do, while the Dirty Martini is tousled and textured hair. Drybar uses its own scented line of styling products (dry shampoo, weightless conditioner, shimmering leave-in spray) and tools (shower cap, hair clips and curling irons, all in Drybar’s official sunny yellow color) which are available for purchase at each location. What makes Drybar so great is its quality control and reliability. Whether you’re at the salon in Pacific Heights or one of their locations in Washington D.C., you can rest assured that you’ll get the same friendly service and sleek, stylish locks.
Although Drybar is credited with mainstreaming the blow-dry bar concept, Blo was actually the first hair dry salon to open in the United States. The experience is straightforward: just wash, blo and go. Blo is a small shop with a lot of attitude: clear plastic chairs, bright pink counters, sleek white cabinetry, large cushions and eight mirrored stations. The stylists wear fuchsia aprons and sport genuine smiles while expertly massaging your head with Unite products. A bonus? Blo often has blowout deals where you can score a dry and hairdo for $10 off.
With locations in Greenbrae and Petaluma, Style Bar is the North Bay’s go-to blow-dry salon. There is a certain formula that makes these boutiques successful; Style Bar has found just the right mix of unpretentious posh-ness. There are white leather chairs and orange velvet chaise lounges in the waiting area, and unique light fixtures above. Services include blowouts, updos, braids, extensions and smoothing treatments—all using Kerastase products—as well as makeup applications. The staff is super hospitable, and the Petaluma location also has a full-service nail salon and brow bar for facial waxing and brow-shaping.
On the corner of Fillmore and Jackson Streets in Pacific Heights, Posh is both a hair salon and blow-dry boutique. Unlike many of the blow-dry bars in the city, it’s not decorated with an overly girlie theme. With black leather chairs, modern rectangular mirrors and marble accents, Posh is sleek and inviting. An assortment of top haircare products are used: Bumble and Bumble, Kerastase and Shu Uemura among them. What’s lovely about the Posh experience is the amount of time they take with each customer, be it 45 or 90 minutes, to give them the exact style asked for.
This cheery salon has two locations in San Francisco—one in Russian Hill on Polk and Union and another in the Marina on Chestnut and Steiner. Ornate details like a candelabra chandelier, footed receptionist desk with Louis XV-style black leather chair, and white calla lilies give the salon a boudoir-like feel. While the Marina location is a full service salon, the Polk Street boutique is strictly for blowouts, makeup, and mini facials. All blowouts are with Kerastase’s haircare line.
Halo is a full service beauty salon in the South Bay offering blowouts, brow shaping and makeup at four locations: Palo Alto, Burlingame, Menlo Park and Los Altos. With white blow dryers attached to cords that hang from the ceilings, upside down tulip-shaped light fixtures and sleek silver chairs, everything about Halo feels tech-driven, modern and even futuristic. From the first phone call to the final tip, the service-driven staff treats you kindly upon every step of the way. It’s their mission to make each client a regular, so attention to detail is apparent and thus, it’s no surprise that Halo is the preferred blow-dry bar of the women of Silicon Valley.
Bounce Blow Dry Bar’s founder, Karen Hayes, is a woman who is passionate about empowering her fellow females and giving back to the community by sponsoring local organizations such as Girls, Inc. As a busy traveling professional, Hayes found that many areas lacked great hair styling options. One of the regions that didn’t have any blowout bars? The East Bay, specifically Oakland and Berkeley. These naturally diverse cities require stylists that are versed in all types of hair, something that Hayes is particularly proud of. There’s a decidedly laid back and eclectic vibe here—a couch is covered in a 60s-inspired orange, black and turquoise print, the chandeliers look like glass balloon sculptures and the stylists sport bright hair colors. R&B music plays in the background and there’s a lively, festive atmosphere that isn’t found at other salons in more suburban area. The blowouts last for days, illustrating that Hayes has accomplished her mission. When someone, be it a possible suitor or an old friend, comments on how sensational your hair looks, you can’t help but feel happier, more confident and ready to conquer the world.
Bloom Blow Dry Bar
Though Bloom Blow Dry Bar’s West Portal location may be out of the way for some people, the blowout that you’ll walk away with is worth the trek to this Southern suburb. Enter Bloom and you feel like you’ve walked into your wildly chic older sister’s house. The walls are white and soft grey, a mural of blooming pink flowers graces the entire back wall and everything feels clean, fresh and new. There are no lookbooks, instead salon-goers are invited to browse an iPad for the hairstyle they want. The iPad also has a selection of the most recent style and gossip magazines downloaded, so Bloom is doing their part to go green by reducing paper waste. Everything about Bloom is luxurious and precise. The Unite products are geared toward specific hair types and the stylists check out what kind of hair you have before they begin the choreographed blowout routine. The shampooing bowls are comfy; you won’t get a kink in your neck while the stylist is giving you a relaxing head massage during the hair wash. Back at your station, enjoy a frothy and delicious cappuccino while your hair gets done.
Blowology is a beauty oasis in the heart of downtown San Francisco on Market Street. The intimate salon is located on the second floor in the back corner of an open studio space that’s home to a variety of beauty-related services. The three-seat salon feels like the sophisticated backstage of a sexy theater. An ornate silver chandelier hangs from the ceiling, ivy and orchid plants bring a lushness to the space and amethyst crystals add a calming zen vibe. The team here, including makeup artists, are the type of women who offer salon-goers a mimosa upon arrival and a bear hug before departure. The Blowology experience is one of a kind, thanks to its organic, gluten-free products by Pureology and VIP-like setting that brings to mind a day spa. The stylists get to know you while you’re at the salon and regulars include a handful of women who travel to San Francisco for work.
Cherry Blow Dry Bar
Cherry Blow Dry Bar is the preferred salon of the ladies who lunch in Laurel Heights. This large, airy and bright space on Sacramento Street has a long bar with ten stations running the length of the space and an area for wash basins in the back. Unlike most salons, the walls are not covered in mirrors. Instead a single silver vanity with a mirror sits in front of each station, making the space feel like a stylish grandmother’s oversized closet. Since it’s off the beaten track, Cherry is an awesome spot for walk-ins and blowouts that are scheduled the same day. For the woman who hates doing her own hair, Cherry offers a variety of different memberships that are incredible deals. The most popular plan offers two blowouts per month, plus 10% of all retail—the salon is stocked with BlowPro and Kevin Murphy products. The frequent dryer membership is unlimited monthly blowouts, an unparalleled steal if you plan on getting a blowout once a week.
Walk into O’Keefe’s and you’ll feel as if you’ve walked back in time. There’s a layer of dust that covers everything in the bar, but it’s no matter, you’re not here to clean the place. You’re here to drink. The Inner Richmond bar is filled to the brim with memorabilia as well as a pool table and plenty of square four-tops for playing a leisurely game of dice or cards. Don’t think about ordering anything fancy, grab a beer and a shot of whiskey and you’ll be on the friendly staff’s good side in no time. Most of the folks here are regulars who welcome you with open arms even when you’re a first timer. It could be called a dive, but I prefer to use the term hidden gem: it’s a superb low-key spot to chill and enjoy cheap drinks in a interesting atmosphere.
BottleRock announces single day passes, daily lineups
BottleRock, Napa Valley’s music, wine, and food extravaganza, has just announced the daily lineup for this year’s show, which is taking place over Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, 2016. Headliners include Stevie Wonder, Florence + the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers, with supporting acts from more than 70 bands across four stages, including The Lumineers, Death Cab For Cutie, Lenny Kravitz, Walk the Moon, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ziggy Marley, Grouplove, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Ozomatli, Jamestown Revival and more. Many of the area’s most illustrious chefs, vintners, sommeliers, and brew masters will also be on hand performing demos and foodie hi-jinx on the culinary stage. Hungry festival-goers can enjoy cuisine from the following Napa favorites: Morimoto, La Toque, Atlas Social, Ca’Moni, La Taberna, Oenotri and Mustards Grill. Wineries include the always amazing JCB by Jean Charles Boisset, Schramsberg, Del Dotto, Miner Family Winery and Cakebread. Anchor and Lagunitas are the headlining breweries. There’s also one-of-a-kind artist installations and a complimentary bike valet that will keep bikes secure. Tickets for Bottlerock went on sale January 7th at 10am, and GA 3-day passes, VIP passes and VIP SkyDeck passes are already sold out. If you're still trying to get tickets, now's your chance to purchase by day. Single day tickets will go on sale Tuesday, February 2 at 10am.