There are certain blocks in this city that seem like mini-universes. Each week, we'll highlight a stretch of pavement where you could spend an entire day and night. Next up? Hayes Street between Gough and Octavia.
Where to people watch with a cup of Blue Bottle: So you've just eaten brunch, you're tired of shopping, and need an afternoon pick-me-up. Head to Patricia's Green to lounge with a cup of Blue Bottle (skip the New Orleans Iced this time of year, duh) for solid people-watching opportunities and a chance to digest while cute dogs and babies play in the grass.
Where to buy jeans and other cool duds: Jeans shopping is a bitch, but the kids at Azalea are always there to help a brother or sister out. They've got all the brands with cult followings, from Nudies to Naked & Famous to DL1961 to J Brands, Kasil, Genetic and more. And if you're looking to go beyond denim, the rest of the store is bursting at the seams with expertly curated tops, dresses, shoes, jewelry (editor's note: I love their jewelry selection), and jackets for guys and girls.
Where to get the meat sweats: Moishe's Pippic is a Chicago-style deli owned by a Brazilian, but no matter. It's still ground zero for no-nonsense meat lovers, matzo ball soup and Cubs fans searching for hot dogs swimming in mustard and sport peppers. Just come at lunchtime with an empty stomach.
Where to snag beautiful shoes: Long renowned by shoe fetishists as one of the best footwear stores in the city, Gimme Shoes has cult brands galore, with the price tags to match. They've got classic styles as well as more avant garde kicks, and their selection changes every season to make you even more of a shoe addict than you already are. What was that Carrie Bradshaw quote about clothes over food, again?
Photo of Marlena's from Yelp user Truth S.
Where to get a stiff drink and watch a drag show: Marlena's is easily one of the most special spots in all of Hayes Valley. It's been around for decades, has an intimate, homey dive bar feel (have you been during Christmastime and seen their thousands of Santas?), stiff drinks, sweet bartenders, and quality drag shows that can really get your night started. Each weekend, they bust out the fab queens for impersonations, dancing, singing, and expert lip synching, and general sexy hilarity. This is a true 'hood treasure, perfect for a funny first date or a night out with the girls.
Where to go for a petite dessert: For a true French macaron, you've got to get your fix at a spot that makes only macarons. That's why Chantal Guillon Macarons offers some of the best in the Bay–because their real-deal macarons are made in-house by Chantal's own French-American team, and a ton of creativity is put into each flavor (which change seasonally! How very Californian). My favorite ones to bite into are dark chocolate, green tea, lemon, and earl grey tea.
Where to stock up on pristine vintage: At a certain point, combing through the dusty racks at Thrift Town or Salvation Army just doesn't seem worth the hunt. Why not head to a shop that has all the good stuff already picked out and cleaned up for you? Ver Unica is that happy place. It's got some of the most fashion forward vintage duds we've seen, along with vintage designer pieces in almost-perfect condition, from dresses, jackets, shoes, sweaters, bags, jewelry, and everything in between. Really, their collection has to be seen to be believed.