Modern Guide to Jackson Square: Art, Fashion + Very Fine Dining
(Courtesy of San Francisco Sundays)

Modern Guide to Jackson Square: Art, Fashion + Very Fine Dining


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Few neighborhoods blend sophistication and charm like San Francisco's Jackson Square.

Bounded by Broadway and Washington Street on the south, Columbus Avenue on the west, and Battery Street on the east, Jackson Square is where you go for a shot of retail therapy and a stroll through streets lined with serious historical cachet.

What was once a part of the notorious Barbary Coast—a nest of brothels, bars and gambling dens during the heyday of our Gold Rush era—is now a crosshatch of spotless streets and brick buildings where cool boutiques rub shoulders with contemporary art galleries and one can partake of a refreshing cucumber gimlet without feeling the crush of tourists from nearby North Beach or Chinatown.

If you're visiting from out of town, considering booking one of 15 plush hotel rooms at the Ken Fulk–designed private social club The Battery unless, of course, you're a member already.

The Best Restaurants in Jackson Square, San Francisco

Maison Nico's pâté en croûte are works of art.

(Sarah Chorey)

Fine Dining

Over the past several years, Michael and Lindsay Tusk have defined the Jackson Square dining scene. Quince (470 Pacific Ave.) has nabbed a third Michelin star—plus a Green Star for its commitment to sustainability. A remodel just a few years back added more warmth and texture to the intimate 62-seat dining room, making it the perfect setting to celebrate a special occasion over the seasonal tasting menu. // A towering pile of almond wood visible from the exterior hints at the dramatic open hearth that fuels Quince's handsome sibling restaurant, Cotogna (490 Pacific Ave.). Rustic spit-roasted meats complement supple handmade pastas and an extensive wine list. // Former Sushi Ran chef Mitsunori Kusakabe introduces lesser-known sushi styles into the multi-course omakase meals at Kusakabe (584 Washington St.). The serene dining room features warm wood and exposed brick, and don't miss the sake pairings to go with. // For something as comfortable as your favorite cashmere sweater, Kokkari Estiatorio (200 Jackson St.), famed for its hearth-warmed interior, aromatic meats, and modernized Greek cuisine, is always worth a return visit. // After a year and a half away, Bib Gourmand restaurant Trestle (531 Jackson St.) has returned to its Jackson Square digs to offer affordable three-course meals that change weekly. // Like a classic black-and-white movie, Bix (56 Gold St.) makes you want to don a suit and crack wise over a dry martini. The tucked-away locale, jacketed bartenders, and live jazz set the mood for expert cocktails and refined bites like potato "pillows" topped with crème fraîche and caviar.

Casual Eats + Drinks

Nicolas Delaroque (of now-shuttered fine dining spot Nico) and sommelier Paul Einbund's collaboration, Maison Nico(710 Montgomery St.), has mastered the art of the pâté en croûte. The épicerie's quiche, terrines, and flans are best enjoyed from stylish pink tables or as part of an at-home brunch spread. Opt to join the Maison Nico Wine Share for bottles that pair perfectly with the pâtés. // While we patiently await the reopening of the Tusks' Verjus(528 Washington St), a French-style wine bar and bistro, the Friday afternoon wine pickup and gourmet market outside of Cotogna has been tiding us over. You're guaranteed to walk away with fresh bread; a bounty from Fresh Run Farm; and a bottle or two of natural wine. // San Francisco's Basque community will already know this one. At Bask(42 Columbus Ave), it's all about sunlight, good vibes, and delicious tapas. // Descend into the sultry, subterranean den of Roka Bar(801 Montgomery St.) for cocktails served over hand-cut ice and a full robata and sushi menu from Roka Akor upstairs. // Bamboo Club(479 Broadway St.), a Jackson Square bar since 1997, has new cocktail offerings and updates to its tiki-themed interior. Settle at the bar or outside on the lanai for a Pretty Fly for a Mai Tai, or perhaps a Volcano Bowl to share. // Get your daily dose of history, plus an aptly named bourbon, lemon, and honey-filled Gold Rush, at the Old Ship(298 Pacific Ave.), an SF institution since 1851. Way back when, it operated out of the remains of a damaged ship. // Opened just over a year ago, Old Ship's sister bar, High Horse(582 Washington St.),welcomes cocktail connoisseurs into its historic 1903 space. A gilded ceiling and illuminated bar with a brick wall backdrop create the perfect mood for sipping cocktails like pisco punch and gourmet bites. // Mornings are best started with a cup of joe from Blue Bottle Coffee(909 Montgomery St.).

Art & Antiques in SF's Jackson Square

William Stout Architectural Books.

(Courtesy of Arkitektura Assembly)

One would be remiss to not check out at least one gallery when you're in the area. Jackson Square remains a bit of a locus for contemporary art galleries. The beautifully allocated Gallery Japonesque (824 Montgomery St.) is home to artworks by Alessandro Twombly (artist Cy Twombly's son) and the compelling ink paintings of Japanese artist Yuichi Inoue. // Just a few steps down is Simon Breitbard Fine Arts (843 Montgomery St.), a private gallery and art consulting firm run by Stephanie Breitbard. If you aren't sure which to pick, defer to the extensive expertise of their in-house consulting team of talented women. // Those looking for something a little more historical will find plenty to inspire them at Foster-Gwin Art & Antiques (38 Hotaling Pl.). Amble through the high-ceilinged rooms stocked with a beautifully curated collection of Greco-Roman antiquities placed alongside cutting-edge modern art. // Contemporary realism and abstraction works by American and international artists like Jack Wolfe, Gianluca Franzese, and Anne Leone are on view at CK Contemporary(246 Powell St.). // Housed in an 1854 bank building, William Stout Architectural Books (804 Montgomery St.) is a design-lover's mecca, piled high with both current and rare titles of architecture, art, and every design discipline under the sun.

Shopping in Jackson Square, San Francisco

Those wool sneakers you're seeing absolutely everywhere? Find their HQ in San Francisco's Jackson Square.

(Courtesy of Allbirds)

Stoke your home envy at the SF showroom of Danish furniture label Fritz Hansen(440 Jackson St.), which stocks seating, lighting, accessories, and more in minimalist Scandinavian style. // The soft, eco-friendly woolen sneakers from locally based brand Allbirds (57 Hotaling Pl.) have all but taken over the streets of SF. Head to the brick-and-mortar to shop seasonal colors as well as their newer Wool Dasher Mizzles. // Then, head to Shinola (53 Hotaling Pl.), an airy, wood-lined space stocked with handsome, leather accessories, heavy-duty commuter bags, slick bicycles, and iconic timepieces all made in Detroit. // Saunter through Shinola and you'll find yourself in the domain of its brother brand, Filson (722 Montgomery St.), another proudly American-made label of rugged outdoor wear since 1897. Pick up one of their sturdy canvas and leather bags, crafted from heavyweight twill, or slip on a classic field parka. // It girls are loving the spacious Isabel Marant boutique (455 Jackson St.), home to both the French label's covetable main line as well as its more youthful (and slightly lower-priced) Etoile collection. Pick up an embellished blouson or a pair of boots, or just feast your eyes on the beautiful clothes in their gallery-like environs. // There's much to love at the fun, smart boutique Eden & Eden (560 Jackson St.), with great style and zero pretense. Owners Rachel and Charles are delightful, as is their mix of home design, women's apparel, handmade jewelry, and vintage finds. // Chic wardrobe essentials—think graphic tees and structured blazers—line the racks at cool-girl-approved, SoCal-based brand Anine Bing(412 Jackson St.). // Just down the street, Australian label Zimmerman(458-460 Jackson St.) stocks feminine dresses and blouses worthy of your next vacation or special event. // Schott NYC(619 Sansome St) is an all-American success story dating back to 1913. The SF flagship sells one-of-a-kind pieces for both men and women, handmade in the U.S. of A. // Ladies looking for stylish basics with French flair can head over to A.P.C.(407 Jackson St.). // Aēsop(445 Jackson St.) houses a collection of high-quality, plant based fragrances, skin, and hair products. // The U.S. flagship store for the Japanese technical apparel brand Goldwin(444 Jackson St.) connects outdoor and city life, offering performance wear with a distinct fashion sensibility.

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