Mission-Bernal Heights in San Francisco
Mission-Bernal Heights is a district of San Francisco, bounded roughly by the 101 freeway on the east and north, Dolores Street on the west, and I-280 on the south. Composed of the historic Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, this area is noted for its ethnic diversity, in particular its large Hispanic community. Though the district is slowly gentrifying, many urban artisans and immigrants still make their home here, and the restaurant and nightlife scene here is among the best in the city and perhaps the most locally-oriented one.
The Mission District (fit in with the locals by just calling it "The Mission") lies to the east of the oldest building in San Francisco, Mission Dolores, though that building is located just within Noe Valley. The area was the site of the Spanish mission that was the kernel of the city San Francisco is today. The mission itself was secularized in the 1820s, and the lands were given to the Native Americans who lived there. Many sold or lost the land in later years.
During the 19th century, the Mission District was physically separated from San Francisco proper, which mostly clustered around the seaport on the San Francisco Bay. The district's area was a pleasant country day trip for San Franciscans, and soon grew into a small village. By the end of the 1800s, the area had been assimilated into the rest of the city.
By the early 20th century, after the 1906 earthquake that destroyed several blue-collar neighborhoods, Irish and Italians relocated to the quickly expanding Mission District. From the 1940s the district gradually became more populated with Mexican/Latin-American immigrants creating a strong counterculture in the arts and politics during the civil rights movement. Following this era, the Mission remained a strongly Chicano and Latin-American neighborhood, but also with a great contingency of African-American, Asian-American and European-American driven by the relatively cheap rents in the neighborhood. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it attracted an influx of new artists, musicians, and other counterculture types.
By the turn of the 21st century, the district experienced an increased gentrification. Expensive restaurants and the construction of "live-work" spaces were moving in to the area, displacing hundreds of residents. However, as the post-Internet boom recedes, the wave of affluence is partly diminishing and the Mission is continuing to be a place for multicultural encounters, where long term residents, immigrants, hipsters and yuppies are living side-by-side.
Bernal Heights, just south of the Mission District, is a cute, eclectic neighborhood that was once very working class, but is becoming quickly gentrified. Sister to the Castro, this neighborhood is very popular with the lesbian community. The main commercial drag of the neighborhood is located along Cortland Avenue.
From other parts of San Francisco and the Bay Area, BART serves the Mission neighborhood with stations at 16th Street and Mission (served by the MUNI 14, 22, 33, 49 and 53 bus lines) and 24th Street and Mission (served by the MUNI 14, 48, 49 and 67 bus lines).
The MUNI Metro J-Church line runs along the western boundary of the area from downtown through the nearby Castro and Noe Valley neighborhoods, and passes within a block from the Mission Dolores that gives the Mission neighborhood its name. From the J line you can just walk into the area or easily transfer to one of the following MUNI bus lines:
- 22-Fillmore from the Church Street Metro station. From the station, the #22 will travel down Church Street, then turn left onto 16th Street and travel across the Mission neighborhood to Potrero Hill on the other side.
- 33-Stanyan from the Church and 18th Metro station. From the station the #33 will head east on 18th Street before turning left on Mission, then turning right onto 16th Street. Then it will turn right again onto Potrero Avenue and head south to 25th Street before turning around again.
- 48-Quintara/24th Street from the Church and 24th Metro station. Through the area, the #48 travels east-west along 24th Street.
- 24-Divisadero from the Church and 30th Metro station. From the station, you can take the #24 east down 30th Street and Cortland Avenue through Bernal Heights before continuing onto Bayview-Hunters Point.
- 23-Monterey from the Glen Park station. From the station, the #23 heads up Bosworth and Mission Streets before turning right onto Crescent Avenue, running along the southern end of the district and into Bayview-Hunters Point.
Other bus routes which serve the area include the 14-Mission bus, which runs right down Mission Street from the north and south, the 49-Van Ness, which comes down Mission Street from Van Ness near Fisherman's Wharf, the 9-San Bruno which runs along Potrero Avenue through the Mission neighborhood, the 67-Bernal Heights which runs through much of Bernal Heights from the 24th Street BART station, the 12-Folsom/Pacific which heads down Folsom through Mission to Cesar Chavez, and the 27-Bryant which runs along Bryant Street through Mission to Cesar Chavez. Both the #12 and #27 terminate around Cesar Chavez and Mission Street.
For cars, the Cesar Chavez Street exit from highway 101 comes right into the Mission, and the San Jose Avenue exit from Highway 280 North brings you past Bernal Heights and onto Guerrero Avenue.
The Inner Mission is only about 20 blocks by 10 blocks, and is easily navigated by foot. The Mission is generally safe for walking (even though 16th and Mission remains a major drug dealing corner). It's not dangerous, but one should expect a certain amount of urban grittiness at night up and down Mission street near 16th. Valencia Street, just one block over, is much more gentrified and is filled with bars and eateries.
By car: You will find that people attending religious ceremonies at one of the churches dotting the mission will park down the center lane of Valencia. This is not a common practice at any other time and not advised as SFPD will not hesitate to have you towed. A popular dinner destination neighborhood, street parking is difficult to find in the early evenings. There are two cheap parking garages, one at 21st Street and Bartlett between Valencia and Mission and another on 16th and Hoff St also between Valencia and Mission.
By bicycle: You'll see many people using the dedicated bike lanes on Valencia Street, but the entire neighborhood, with the exception of the Dolores Park area, is flat and easy to navigate.
- Mission Dolores (address: 3321 16th Street) (directions: at Dolores) +1 415 621-8203 firstname.lastname@example.org
The oldest building in San Francisco and one of the many Spanish missions in California, the white, intricately decorated towers of Mission Dolores tower over the neighborhood.
- The Women's Building (and MaestraPeace Mural) (address: 3543 18th Street, #8) (directions: between Valencia and Guerrero) +1 415 431-1180
Houses women's nonprofits groups.
- Precita Eyes Murals
Can be found all around the Mission neighborhood, especially on 24th street, east of Mission Street.
- Balmy Alley
An alley full of incredible murals between 24th and 25th Street. There are some really beautiful works here, and it's always changing.
- Bernal Heights Neighborhood
Take a wander around losing yourself amongst the pretty houses and the charm, it's a fine way to spend an afternoon.
- Bernal Hill
The top is more than 40 acres of grassy open space, with views of the San Francisco Bay and Mt. Diablo to the east, downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Twin Peaks and Noe Valley to the west and a rise of hills leading up to San Bruno Mountain in the south. People come and run their dogs here and watch eclipses, sunrises, sunsets, the Blue Angels and wildlife. There's been a celebrated coyote since 2003; recent sightings confirm it's still there. There are nooks and crannies and stairs and weeds and it's a big, big, well-loved back yard.
- Bernal Hill
- Galeria de la Raza (address: 2857 24th St.) +1 415 826-8009
open: Tu 1PM-7PM, W-Sa Noon-6PM
Opened in 1970, the non-profit gallery specializes in Chicano/Latino art.
- Roxie Cinema (address: 3117 16th Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 863-1087
An independent art-film theatre, with some of the best features shown in the country. If it's showing here, it's usually worth seeing.
- The Marsh Theatre (address: 1062 Valencia Street) (directions: at 22nd Street) +1 415 826-5750
A breeding ground for new performance, playwriting workshops, performances, a youth program, and classes. Some excellent one-person shows have been hatched out in the Marsh.
- Intersection for the Arts (address: 446 Valencia Street) (directions: between 15th and 16th Streets) +1 415 626-3311
San Francisco's oldest alternative art space, This tiny space has premiered works by noted authors such as Dave Eggers and world-class playwrights such as Denis Johnson. The resident theater group, Campo Santo, is very good. The space also has an upstairs art gallery.
- Artists' Television Access (address: 992 Valencia Street) (directions: near 21st) +1 415 824-3890
price: ">A nonprofit educational group and screening venue for independent film and video. This center often shows genuinely strange art films and videos, particularly during their frequent "open screenings
- Carnival San Francisco
Late May. A Mardi Gras-like event which features a parade with colorful costumes, choreographed dancers, and scantily clad women.
- Outdoor open mike poetry/music/spoken word/etc. (address: 16th and Mission)
Every Thursday starting sometime between 9PM and 10PM and ending around midnight on the southwest streetcorner at 16th and Mission. No mike (so you have to shout...), and no sign-up. Completely free to all. Open to poets, MCs, musicians, comedians and all manner of performers, the open mic has been happening for the past five years and has recently spawned a lit magazine, the 16th & Mission Review, and a website: 16thmission.com - newcomers are encouraged to perform. Bag your beer and see what the fuss is about!
- Bernal Yoga (address: 461 Cortland Avenue) (directions: between Andover and Wool) +1 415 643-9007
price: ">If what you want in a yoga studio is a lot of hot, tight young bodies bending away in spandex, well, Bernal Yoga has that. But it's also got a lot of older practioners, less fit practitioners, moms-to-be and moms-returning-to-shape, and a set of instructors that really know the meaning of "all levels classes.
- J+K Fitness Studio (address: 1947 Mission Street) +1 415 621-5775
A fitness studio fully equipped with the latest machines, colorful exercise balls, and shiny free weights. Full service trainers encourage customers to achieve their goals and genuinely care about their clients' fitness and nutrition.
- Aldea Home (address: 3338 17th Street) (directions: between Valencia and Mission) +1 415 865-9807
open: M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM
A wide array of lifestyle accessories, bed and bath products and dining accouterments.
- Aldea Niños (address: 1017 Valencia Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd) +1 415 874-9520
open: 10AM-6PM daily
A design-minded shop that caters to all of your baby needs, with stylish clothing, hand-picked toys, and unique, modern furnishings.
- Alemany Farmers Market (address: 100 Alemany Blvd) (directions: at Bayshore) +1 415 647-9423
Forget the farmers market at the Ferry Building, unless you just can't live without the high prices and the most fashionable vegetables. San Francisco's original 1943 farmer's market is where it's at. It was founded by the Victory Garden Council as a WWII ag-surplus depot! Rock-bottom cheap, we-picked-it-at-3AM fresh, it's where elderly Asian ladies swarm piles of fresh peanuts and carefully pick out the live chicken to bring home. It has flowers at unbelievable prices and a really stellar selection of basic fruits, nuts, tubers and vegetables, and exotic Asian produce. There aren't that many organic farmers, but there are some. Get there early for salad greens and Euro-American vegetables, as these go fast. The fish market is mixed but sometimes has good local catches.
- Aquarius Records (address: 1055 Valencia Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd Street) +1 415 647-2272
open: Su-W 10AM-9PM, Th-Sa 10AM-10PM
An eclectic music store specializing in the best of many obscure genres, including drone, prog, psychedelic, indie rock, experimental, electronic, noise, black metal as well as many other international/cultural styles. While it has been a San Francisco icon since 1970 and has been located in different neighborhoods in the past, it is truly a Mission mainstay, and the staff is very knowledgeable and passionate about what they stock.
- Dog Eared Books (address: 900 Valencia St.) (directions: between 20th St. & Liberty St.) (415) 282-1901
A great selection of used books and readings by authors.
- Good Life Grocery (address: 448 Cortland Avenue) (directions: between Andover and Bennington) +1 415 648-3221
People tend to have a love-hate relationship with this grocery store on the busy Cortland/Andover corner. On one hand, it's a fine, manageably-sized market with all the quality brands of pasta, meat, dairy, condiments, juices, vegetarian staples, etc. that you would hope for in a neighborhood with a significant upscale, foodie population. On the other hand, the prices are high, and it would be really nice to be able to purchase a razor blade or non-natural hair conditioner. Great wine selection and recommendations, though.
- Red Hill Books (address: 401 Cortland Ave.) (directions: at Bennington) (415)648-5331
A good neighborhood magazine stand, with new and used books, albeit smaller than Dog Eared Books.
- Another Monkey (address: 280 Valencia St.) (directions: at Brosnan St.) (415) 241-0288
High quality Thai food in a chic dining room with excellent service.
- Arinell's Pizza (address: 509 Valencia Street) (directions: just south of 16th Street) +1 415 255-1303
open: M-W 11:30AM-10PM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-Midnight, Su 1:30PM-10PM
Pizza by the slice. Loved and worshipped by East Coast transplants for being some of the closest to real NY pizza available in the Bay Area. Open until 3AM on weekends.
- Bissap Baobab (address: 2323 Mission Street) (directions: at 19th Street) (415) 826-9287
A Senegalese restaurant with roots in West African Senegalese culture.
- Boogaloo's (address: 3296 22nd Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 824-4088
open: Daily 8AM-3PM
Hipster-ed up diner, only open for lunch & breakfast. Long lines on the weekends, but surprisingly it moves quickly. Much better vegan breakfast option than Herbivore. Try the plaintain cake and the mimosas.
- Cha Cha Cha (address: 2327 Mission Street) (directions: between 19th and 20th) +1 415 824-1502
open: Su-Th 5-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-1AM
- El Castillito (address: 2092 Mission Street) (directions: at 17th Street) +1 415 621-6971
open: Daily 10AM-2AM
While everyone has their favorite Mission taqueria, this one may legitimately have a claim to the 'best salsa verde' throne, which is filled with serious avocado chunks. Also, they grill (rather than steam) their tortillas, a key burrito preparation issue.
- Foreign Cinema (address: 2534 Mission Street) (directions: at 21st Street) +1 415 648-7600
open: M-F 6PM-2AM, Sa-Su 11AM-2AM
Dinner and a movie. The Laszlo Bar. A little splurgy and quite fine. Reservations recommended.
- Frjtz (address: 590 Valencia Street) (directions: at 18th Street) +1 415 863-8272
open: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-12AM, Su 11AM-9PM
- Herbivore (address: 983 Valencia Street) (directions: between 20th and 21st Streets) +1 415 826-5657
open: Su-Th 9AM-10PM, F-Sa 9AM-11PM
All-Vegan Restaurant. Mediocre entrees, but delicious sandwiches, soups & salads. If it sounds too complicated, don't order it. Only all-vegan brunch in the area.
- Jay's Cheesesteak (address: 3285 21st Street) (directions: between Valencia and Mission) +1 415 285-5200
open: Daily 11AM-10PM
Niman Ranch beef, or seitan veggie/vegan sandwich options. Great garlic fries!
- Little Star Pizza (address: 400 Valencia Street) (directions: at 14th Street) +1 415 551-7827
open: Su, Tu-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM
For a deep dish that can't be beat here, in Chicago, or anywhere else.
- Luna Park (address: 694 Valencia Street) (directions: at 18th Street) +1 415 553-8584 email@example.com
open: M-Th 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-10:30PM, F 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-11:30PM, Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM
Upscale American comfort food menu. Small, slightly swanky. Always packed, with the accompanying noise level. Decent grub. And their signature drink is the mojito.
- Mitchell's Ice Cream (address: 688 San Jose Ave. (Guerrero)) (directions: at 29th St.) (415) 648-2300
open: Daily 11:00 to 11:00
Mitchell's has been serving the best ice cream and sorbets in SF since 1953. Choose from traditional fare or exotic flavors such as avocado, buko (baby coconut), guava, langka (jackfruit), macapuno (sweet coconut), mango, pineapple and ube (purple yam).
- Philz Coffee (address: 3101 24th St.) (directions: at Folsom) (415) 875-9370
The place for serious coffee drinkers. Choose from a wide variety of beans from all over the world, light, medium or dark roast.
- Picaro (address: 3120 16th Street) (directions: at Valencia Street) +1 415 431-4089
open: Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM
- Puerto Alegre (address: 546 Valencia Street) (directions: at 16th Street) +1 415 255-8201
open: M 11AM-10PM, Tu 5PM-10PM, W-Su 11AM-11PM
Local favorite, Puerto Alegre churns out inexpensive, delicious Mexican food & margaritas in a fun, festive environment. Divey atmosphere, but that's what you come to the Mission for. Very long wait on the weekends, but absolutely worth it. Host rules the restaurant with an iron fist, so don't try to sneak in!
- Ritual Roasters Coffee (address: 1026 Valencia Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd) +1 415 641-1011
open: Monday-Friday 6:00am - 10:00pm
Saturday 7:00am - 10:00pm Sunday 7:00am - 9:00pm
Absolutely the best coffee in the city. Organic beans roasted locally, each cup made fresh individually. A large seating area with free wi-fi.
- Savanna Jazz (address: 2937 Mission Street) (directions: between 25th and 26th) 415-285-3369
open: Music begins at 8 PM on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and 8:30 PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
A fun, cozy lounge and restaurant for lovers of American, Brazilian and Latin American jazz music. Have a steak and enjoy a live show.
- Serrano's Pizza (address: 3274 21st Street) (directions: between Valencia and Mission Streets) +1 415 695-1615
price: ">Buy a "slice
open: Su-Th 11AM-Midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM
- Taqueria Cancun (address: 2288 Mission Street) (directions: at 19th Street) +1 415 252-9560
open: M-Th 10AM-11:30PM, F-Sat 10AM-1AM
Commonly touted as having the best vegetarian burrito in SF. If you're a meat-eater, try the Alambres (beef, peppers, onions, and bacon sauteed together, served with beans, rice, tortillas and (optional) avocado.
- Taqueria El Farolito (address: 2779 Mission Street) (directions: at 24th) +1 415 824-7877
Gigantic super burritos. Grilled chicken and steak both are really great. Super steak quesadilla is the highlight of the menu. Open till 3AM on Friday and Saturday, 1AM the rest of the week. Nachos are enormous. Expect a line of drunks after midnight.
- Tartine (address: 600 Guerrero Street) (directions: at 18th Street) +1 415 487-2600
open: M 8AM-7PM, Tu-W 7:30AM-7PM, Th-F 7:30AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 9AM-8PM
One of the Bay Area's best bakeries; rich, decadent, and pricey.
- Ti Couz (address: 3108 16th Street) (directions: at Valencia Street) +1 415 252-7373
open: M-W 11AM-11PM, Th-F 11AM-Midnight, Sa 10AM-Midnight, Su 10AM-11PM
Excellent Breton creperie.
- Tokyo Go Go (address: 3174 16th Street) (directions: between Valencia and Guerrero) +1 415 864-2288
open: M-Th 5:30-10:30 P.M. Fri & Sat. 5:30-10:30 P.M. Sun. 5-10 P.M.
An uber-hip izakaya with a DJ spinning beats and old Godzilla flicks projected onto a wall. The rolls are more expensive than in most sushi places but well worth it. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- We Be Sushi (address: 538 Valencia Street) (directions: between 16th and 17th) +1 415 565-0749
The best of a handful of locations of this restaurant, truly "sushi like mom used to make". Try the early bird special.
- [www.babybluessf.com Baby Blues BBQ] (address: 3149 Mission St.) (directions: between Cesar Chavez St. and Powers Ave.) (415) 896-4250
Gourmet BBQ with hot waitresses.
- Blue Plate (address: 3218 Mission Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 282-6777
open: M–Th 5:30–10PM, F–Sa 5:30–10:30PM, Su 5:30–9:30PM
- Emmy's Spaghetti Shack (address: 3355 Mission St.) (directions: at Virginia Street) (415) 206-2086
open: Sun.-Thur. 5:30 -10:30 Fri. & Sat. 5:30-11:30
- Liberty Cafe (address: 410 Cortland Avenue) +1 415 695-1223
open: Cafe: Tu-Th 11:30AM-3PM and 5:30PM-9:30PM, F 11:30AM-3PM and 5:30PM-10PM, Sa 10AM-2PM and 5:30PM-10PM, Su 10AM-2PM and 5:30PM-9:30PM. Bakery: Tu-Su 7:30AM-2PM
This is one of those places that would be perfect for a business lunch, a dinner with visiting family or any other time you want relaxed elegance. The reviews about its pot pies are quite true. They're better than your mother used to make. There's a tiny narrow walkway to a back courtyard and cottage that's a bakery for your baguettes, cafe au lait, warm raspberry bran muffins and brioches by day, and a wine bar by night. The post-yoga crowd goes there for their coffee, as opposed to Progressive Grounds and Martha & Bros.
- Martha & Bros (address: 745 Cortland Avenue) (directions: between Anderson and Ellsworth) +1 415 642-7585
open: M-F 5:30AM-8PM, Sa-Su 6AM-7PM
Hands down, the strongest coffee on the strip. Martha & Bros. is part of a six-shop San Francisco chain. The smiling, mostly Hispanic female staff, crack-of-dawn hours (it opens at 5:30AM), big pastries and reasonable prices make the place a favorite of newspaper readers, working men and the California Highway Patrol.
- Moki's Sushi & Pacific Grill (address: 615 Cortland Avenue) (directions: between Anderson and Moultrie) +1 415 970-9336
open: Su-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM
This peach-walled fish chop shop serves fun maki rolls, including a variety with tempura'd ingredients. Its also got killer barbeque spare ribs with wasabi mashed potatoes and steamed greens on its small-plates menu. A good time, often packed, so get there early.
- Moonlight Cafe (address: 634 Cortland Avenue) (directions: between Anderson and Moultrie) +1 415 647-6448
open: M-F 6:30AM-6PM, Sa-Su 7AM-5PM
A creperie with some great taste sensations. If you're hungry, the Mediterranean platter will fill you up. The toasted bagels with cream cheese, sun-dried tomato and cucumber are perfect, as is the lavender or ginger lemonade.
- Progressive Grounds (address: 400 Cortland Avenue) (directions: at Bennington) +1 415 282-6233
A perfect Bernal Heights cafe. Serves up some great coffee drinks and a good selection of salads and lavash wrapped sandwiches. The hummus will make anyone think twice about buying hummus from a grocery store again. Great service. A great place for all types and ages. Kids have their fun with Enzo and his assorted instruments every Sunday. PG also has a nice garden space in the back.
- Taqueria Can-cun (not to be confused with Cancun) (address: 3211 Mission Street) (directions: at Valencia Street) +1 415 550-1414
open: Sun: 9:00AM - 1:00AM, Mon: 9:00AM - 12:45AM, Tue: 9:00AM - 12:45AM, Wed: 9:00AM - 12:45AM, Fri: 9:00AM - 2:45AM, Sat: 9:00AM - 2:45AM
Simply the best taqueria in San Francisco, especially if you've had a few drinks at the Knockout or Argus Lounge. The Quesadilla Suiza with some horchata to sip on is just killer.
- Zante Pizza (address: 3489 Mission Street) (directions: at Cortland) (415) 821-3949
open: 11 A.M.-3 P.M., 5-11 P.M
Indian pizza! Need we say more?
- Bi-Rite Grocery (address: 3639 18th Street) (directions: between Guarrero and Dolores Park) +1 415 241-9760
open: Daily 9AM-9PM
How do they get that much good produce and that incredible deli counter into that storefront? Essential neighborhood and picnic-in-the-park resource. Dolores Park is handily enough a block away, and you're likely to find festivals, rallies, or the SF Mime Troupe at the start and close of their summer touring season there along with kids, dogs and tennis players.
- Lucca Ravioli Company (address: 1100 Valencia Street) (directions: at 22nd Street) +1 415 647-5581
open: M-Sa 9AM-6PM
An old-world style Italian deli/dry goods grocery who, bless them, sell ingredients. Check out the Ferlenghetti poem over the door while getting your sheet-pan pizza, sliced turkey, good wine and tiramisu.
- Valencia Whole Foods (address: 999 Valencia Street) (directions: at 21st Street) +1 415 285-0231
open: Daily 8:30AM-9PM
Organic produce and groceries, good bulk foods, and a deli with organic salads, Middle Eastern foods, and sandwiches to order. A neighborhood essential.
While you're in SF, a shot of Fernet Branca with a ginger ale chaser is a must. Also try beers from two great local microbreweries: Anchor Steam  (once described as "sex in a bottle") and Speakeasy's  Prohibition Ale and Big Daddy IPA.
- The 500 Club (address: 500 Guerrero Street) (directions: at 17th) +1 415 861-2500
open: M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa-Su Noon-2AM
Great neighborhood alterna-hipster bar, but in a good way. Formerly an old man dive bar that's been taken over by the thick black rimmed glasses youngster.
- Amnesia (address: 853 Valencia Street) (directions: between 19th and 20th) +1 415 970-0012
open: Daily 6PM-2AM
Small bar with eclectic live music every weeknight. Wine & beer only.
- Asiento (address: 2730 21st Street) (directions: On the corner of 21st & Bryant) +1 415-829-3375 firstname.lastname@example.org
open: M-Tu 5PM-midnight, W-Su 5PM-2AM
- The Attic (address: 3336 24th Street) (directions: between Bartlett and Osage) +1 415 643-3376
open: Daily 5PM-2AM
Dive bar for the elderly hipster and other local, miserable wretches. Decent reasonably priced drinks. Open and drafty; on (frequent) cold evenings you'll be drinking with your coat on. Closest good dive to the awesome El Farolito taqueria at 24th and Mission: getting Farolito's massive nachos to go to eat at the Attic over cocktails is recommended.
- Beauty Bar (address: 2299 Mission St.) (directions: at 19th St.) (415) 285-0323
One the few real dance clubs in the Mission, Beauty Bar used to be popular with hipsters but is now mainly populated with a more ghetto crowd.
- Blondies (address: 540 Valencia Street) (directions: between 16th and 17th) +1 415 864-2419
open: Daily 2PM-2AM
Yuppie martini bar. Where the Marina set goes when they wanna go slumming in the Mission. In keeping with this demographic, drinks are not cheap (several dollars more than every other bar on the block, but also twice as large), and service is both slow and surly (whiney is probably a better term), although to be fair the drinks are well made and strong (also true of many other cheaper and friendlier bars on the block). Truly good martinis, and voted #1 place to have a guy with a semi hard on grind it against you on the dance floor, outside of the Marina.
- Casanova Lounge (address: 527 Valencia Street) (directions: at 16th) +1 415 863-9328
open: 4PM-2AM every day
An awesome cross between a stylish lounge and hipster joint with the best ambiance of any Mission bar. DJs spin a wide variety of music nightly. Enjoy the '70s era velvet paintings of topless women, some posing with wild animals, and the black Burt Reynolds.
- Dalva (address: 3121 16th Street) (directions: between Albion and Valencia) +1 415 252-7740
open: Daily 4PM-2AM
It's very dimly lit but cool decor. Excellent jukebox, though after 9PM they tend to turn it up just a touch too loud. Frequently has great DJ's playing funk / R&B but varies; clientele leans toward the gentrification crowd. Lots of smoke from the VIP room in the back filters out into the main bar. Excellent happy hour!
- Delirium (address: 3139 16th Street) (directions: at Albion) +1 415 552-5525
open: Daily 2PM-2AM
The Albion was truly a vaguely scary dive bar. Delirium was another great neighborhood bar, but it's shockingly turned into a bit of a bridge and tunnel 20-something meatmarket these days. They have a place to dance in the back, with good 60's rock and soul on Wednesdays.
- Doc's Clock (address: 2575 Mission Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd) (415) 824-3627
A truly great dive bar with a shuffleboard table and Connect Four, if that's your passion.
- [www.elbo.com Elbo Room] (address: 647 Valencia St.) (directions: between 17th and 18th) (415) 552-7788
A fun place: bar downstairs, live music club upstairs.
- Elixir (address: 3200 16th Street) (directions: at Guerrero) +1 415 552-1633
open: M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa Noon-2AM, Su 11AM-2AM
One of the oldest bars in San Francisco, since 1858. Rock music, Pub quiz, charity events, great drink specials and a warm vibe.
- Esta Noche (address: 3079 16th Street) (directions: at Rondel between Valencia and Mission) +1 415 861-5757
open: M-F 1PM-2AM, Sa-Su Noon-2AM
Latino drag queens and papis who love them. Fun dance floor and eclectic crowd.
- The Homestead (address: 2301 Folsom Street) (directions: at 19th) +1 415 282-4663
Beautifully reincarnated back into it's historical self in 2005, this cool neighborhood space is a true local's hangout. The building has been a bar since 1902. Peanuts are a bonus. Friendly and efficient bar staff. Close to the hipster Bender's, so The Homestead regular crowd is a little hipster depleted / 'we got a babysitter tonight', but all in all a great bunch. It's rumored to have had a brothel during prohibition.
- Kilowatt (address: 3160 16th Street) (directions: at Albion) +1 415 861-2595
open: M-F 4:30PM-2PM, Sa-Su 1PM-2AM
Fun yet intimate bar. Great music on the jukebox (if you like speed metal) and a decent place to play pool or darts or just get a drink. Outstanding bartenders.
- Latin American Club (address: 3286 22nd Street) (directions: (between Valencia and Bartlett)) +1 415 647-2732
open: M-Th 6PM-2AM, F-Sa 5PM-2AM, Su 6PM-2AM
Decorated in dusty kitsch, the LAC also has large paintings for sale by local artists. They can offer up some of the best, strongest margaritas in town. Just one, that's all it takes.
- The Lexington Club (address: 3464 19th Street) (directions: at Lexington between Valencia and Mission) +1 415 863-2052
open: Daily 5PM-2AM
Fun inviting rowdy lesbian crowd.
- The Liberties (address: 998 Guerrero Street) (directions: at 22nd) +1 415 282-6789
open: M-Th 2PM-2AM, F noon-2AM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-2AM
Irish Pub. Excellent late weekend brunch no one knows about.
- Medjool Sky Terrace (address: 2522 Mission Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd) +1 415 550-9905
On a sunny day or a clear evening this is the best place to drink and enjoy incredible 360 degree views of the city, if you can stand the at times horrid pop music. It sits atop the Elements Hotel, with a wine bar and restaurant on the ground floor.
- Monk's Kettle (address: 3141 16th St) +1 415 865-9523
open: Daily Noon-2AM
A small tavern with good pub food that specializes in craft beer.
- Phoenix (address: 811 Valencia Street) (directions: at 19th) +1 415 695-1811
open: M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su 9:30AM-2AM
Generic Irish pub with surprisingly good food.
- Phone Booth (address: 1398 S Van Ness Avenue) (directions: between 24th St & 25th St) +1 415 648-4683
Another competitor for the *definitive dive bar*. Appropriately named given its size. Allows smoking. Free popcorn.
- Shotwell 59 (address: 3349 20th Street) (directions: at Shotwell) +1 415 647-1141
The definition of a neighborhood bar. Still smoky despite the smoking ban.
- Skylark (address: 3089 16th Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 621-9294
open: Tu-Th 7PM-2AM, F 5PM-2AM, Sa-Su 7PM-2AM
- Uptown (address: 200 Capp Street) (directions: at 17th) +1 415 861-8231
Small neighborhood bar with artsy aging punk rockers and a relaxed attitude. Dogs and bicycles welcome.
- Zeitgeist (address: 199 Valencia Street) (directions: at Duboce) +1 415 255-7505
open: Daily 9AM-2AM
Cool motorcycle/bike courier punk rock-ish alterna-crowd. The bartenders can (and almost always do) often drip with attitude. They, and the regulars, can be fiercely protective of their little hideaway. Awesome and huge backyard (i.e. beer garden). Rowdy on weekend nights and they bbq too.
- Argus Lounge (address: 3187 Mission St.) (directions: at Valencia)
- The Knockout (address: 3223 Mission Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 550-6994
A quirky hipster bar with old arcade games and on some nights, live bands of varying talent.
- The Royal Cuckoo (address: 3202 Mission Street) (directions: at Valencia) +1 415 550-8667
A new cocktail bar serving outstanding Manhattans and other more unusual concoctions in a setting that feels like an old hunting lodge. A must if you like sipping bourbon and other aperitifs to old-timey music.
- Skip's Tavern (address: 453 Cortland Avenue) (directions: at Wool) +1 415 282-3456
Live blues music spills from this dive located in the heart of Bernal Heights. Good for a game of pool or darts. The bright lights destroy any potential ambiance.
- Stray Bar (address: 309 Cortland Ave) +1 415 821-9263
open: M-F 4PM-close, Sa Noon-close, Su 10AM-close
Popular lesbian bar. Happy hour is daily from 4PM-7PM.
- VinoRosso (address: 629 Cortland Avenue) (directions: at Anderson Street) +1 415 647-1268
open: M-F 4PM-11PM, Sa noon-11PM, Su 2PM-10PM
A great little wine bar with emphasis on Italian varieties.
- Wild Side West (address: 424 Cortland Avenue) (directions: at Wool) +1 415 647-3099
open: Daily 1PM-2AM
Although technically a lesbian bar, this neighborhood watering hole welcomes all. Inexpensive beer flows from the taps. In the winter time, a fire burns in the main room, which includes a small pool table. But the most interesting aspect to this bar is the outside garden in the back, best enjoyed on warmer days and nights. The garden is heavily decorated with sculptures and lights. Find a nook to cuddle up with a loved one while sipping a drink.
- Elements Hostel (address: 2516 Mission Street) (directions: between 21st and 22nd) +1 415 647-4100
price: $23 (dorms) or $29pp (twin-share)
Dormitory and private accommodations, 24 hour check-in.
- The Inn San Francisco (address: 943 South Van Ness Avenue) (directions: between 20th and 21st) +1 415 641-0188 email@example.com
An old Victorian house converted into a bed and breakfast.
- San Francisco Public Library - Bernal Heights Branch (address: 500 Cortland Avenue) (directions: at Andover) +1 415 355-2810
open: M 10AM-6PM, Tu 10AM-9PM, W 1PM-9PM, Th 10AM-6PM, F-Sa 1PM-6PM
- San Francisco Public Library - Mission Branch (address: 300 Bartlett Street) (directions: at 24th) +1 415 355-2800
open: Su 1PM-5PM, M 1PM-9PM, Tu, W 10AM-9PM, Th, Sa 10AM-6PM, F 1PM-6PM