(Patricia Chang, courtesy of @juniorbarsf)

Side of Art: 10 Bay Area Bars + Restaurants Serving Creativity on the Walls

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In a place where hot new restaurants and bars are, let's be real, a dime a dozen, design-savvy entrepreneurs are looking to art to help distinguish their brands from the pack.

But we aren't talking about nice little painting in frames. Nope, murals, and even graffiti, are making big statements inside the buzziest restaurants of San Francisco and Oakland. From feminine florals to testosterone-driven hunting scenes to playful street art–inspired works, check out 10 local eateries winning at the art game.


For International Smoke, partners Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry tapped notable graffiti artist Apexer, aka Ricardo Richey, to tag the restaurant. Well known in the international graffiti community and, best of all, in his hometown of San Francisco. As an active menacer of the Gestalt Collective, he's worked on several projects in the city including display windows at SFMOMA. Here he painted the pillars in the main dining room with the translation of the word "smoke" in different languages from around the world. // International Smoke, 301 Mission St. (SoMa), internationalsmoke.com

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