The Bay Area has always been a hotbed for scoring high-quality weed. But ever since California legalized the beloved herb, the city’s pot scene has exploded (there was even a Grass Land at Outside Lands last year). San Francisco weed dispensaries have upped their game, morphing from dark, intimidating head shops into airy, bar-like lounges and inviting bud boutiques. Whether you’re a longtime smoker or a curious newbie, here are the best spots to buy potent, safe cannabis in all its forms.
Styled by design firm Urban Chalet, these decked-out dispensaries look more like upscale bars or restaurants than weed shops. Outfitted with wingback chairs, geometric tile, floral arrangements, and well-appointed bookshelves, Architectural Digest named the original Castro location one of the best-designed dispensaries in the country. Owner Ryan Hudson has since followed up with two additional outposts. The Marina space is the sleekest of the bunch, with marble countertops, crystal chandeliers, and velvet seating arrangements. All three locations offer a wide array of cannabis, including flowers, edibles, topicals, and concentrates—all batch-tested for purity—as well as dozens of smoking and vaping accessories. One-on-one “consultants” are available to answer questions or steer you in the right direction. (Do you prefer edibles? Tinctures? Smoking?) Order online or request delivery from either the Castro or SoMa shop.
In early 2019, owner Nate Haas transformed a formerly dingy Market Street dollar store into a sprawling, 4,200-square-foot nightclub for cannabis lovers. Haas, who was previously a manager at Barbary Coast, knows his stuff: The selection of pre-rolled joints, flowers, vaporizers, cartridges, and edibles is unparalleled (if pricey). But the real allure is the ventilated, 1,500-square-foot lounge, decked with plush, grass-green booths and sputnik chandeliers. Nicknamed the “playground,” the lounge also offers cannabis-infused drinks and high-end edibles. (Outside food is allowed, with permission.) In addition to the main bar, there’s a high roller room outfitted with five booths and an intimate dab lounge for enjoying concentrated THC.
Sparc founder Erich Pearson is responsible for bringing California’s farm-to-table ethos to weed. He runs one of the largest legal cannabis farms in Sonoma County, with an emphasis on biodynamic, organic, and sustainable growing methods. His pair of dispensaries have rightfully been deemed the “Apple of pot shops,” thanks to its AIA Award-winning look: white walls, blond wood communal tables, warm lighting. The SoMA location is the larger of the two. Peruse the expansive menu from a screen behind the counter, or ask the helpful staff for recommendations for flowers, edibles, or accessories.
Amid the recent influx of swanky, design-conscious newcomers, Green Cross has been catering to in-the-know smokers for more than 15 years. It was one of the first cannabis delivery services, and Green Cross president Kevin Reed is well known in the community as an activist and leader. Reed set up shop in this Excelsior storefront in 2013, offering flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, pipes, vaporizers, topicals, and more. While the decor feels a bit throwback—neon, blacklights, trippy art—what it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for with its wide selection, super-knowledgeable staff, and affordable prices.
Harvest is white-and-wood swathed space that offers organic, naturally-grown cannabis in a boutique-like setting. Hundreds of flowers, edibles, tinctures, ointments, and lotions are available, and everything is openly displayed for easy browsing. (They’ll even offer a handy basket while you shop.) The majority of the products are sourced from artisan California growers; all are independently lab-tested. Members of the collective get free access to the lounge, where you can smoke, vape, or dab amid leather banquettes, game tables, and a wide-screen TVs; the state-of-the-art air filtration system means you won’t leave reeking of smoke. Education is big here—the lounge is frequently host to classes and workshops.
Barbary Coast originally opened in 2013 as a medical cannabis dispensary; it’s since doubled in size to include an indoor vaping, smoking, and dabbing lounge (accessible if you spend $40 or more). The pot shop’s name is a nod to San Francisco’s legendary, long-gone red-light district, which was known for hideaway bars in the Prohibition Era. Fittingly, the space has a speakeasy vibe, from the exposed brick, stained glass lighting, and Art Deco accents to the red wallpaper and banquettes. The store offers smoking, dabbing, and vaping tools as well as a leather-bound menu of flowers, vapes, and concentrates. In the swanky, smoke-filled adjoining lounge, vaporizers and rolling papers are provided at each table. The spot features regular events, demos, and tastings.
This narrow, industrial-chic space is modeled after the cannabis-friendly coffee shops of Amsterdam—it’s casually outfitted with exposed brick and abstract art. The selection of premium, medical-grade cannabis runs the gamut from flowers and concentrates to edibles and tinctures. The SoMa spot is all about transparency and safety, opting for full-spectrum lab testing and screening for all its products (That means you can see potency data on THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, THCV, and CBG; they also screen for pesticides, solvents, and bacteria.) All the flowers are displayed at the counter, so it’s easy to browse strains unassisted. Join Bloom Room’s collective for access to the dab bar or vapor lounge, which includes complimentary volcano vaporizers.
Vapor Room was founded in 2004 by a group of grassroots weed activists, then shut down in 2012 during a federal crackdown on medical marijuana shops. The store reopened in 2019 in a former sandwich shop. Where the original Haight Street location was an homage to the city’s hippie roots—1970s lounge furniture, bare-bones decor—the new space is intimate and inviting, decked with globe lighting, light wood, and art from The Perish Trust. Though the shop is compact, the selection is uncommonly broad, from flowers to edibles to accessories. And while there’s no lounge to speak of, you can sample the goods in-store.
Though Grass Roots has been around for more than a decade, this combo pot club and dispensary is invitingly modern. Budtenders are stationed behind a long wood bar, surrounded by jewel-tone, flocked-velvet wallpaper. Grass Roots prides itself on its knowledgeable staff, who project a near reverence for their products. Every item is lab tested for safety and accuracy and includes a helpful rundown of its cannabinoids (that’s the percentage of THC, CBD, etc.) The extensive menu features over 500 products, including extracts, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, pens, cartridges, topicals, and accessories. Hit the ATM before you come; it’s cash only.
This posh, minimalist dispensary flies under-the-radar—marked only by a sandwich board out front, it can be easy to miss. It’s named after the area’s original designation (before it was Dogpatch, it was Dutchman’s Flat) and nurtures a neighborhood-y, first-name-basis vibe with regulars. The menu is projected onto the white brick wall behind the counter, and buds are displayed in tidy tins with information and tasting notes printed below. The focus, while somewhat limited, is on top-grade, lab tested flowers; they grow much of what’s sold here and offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee (if not, you’ll receive a full refund).