The Bay Area has been synonymous with great music since the '60s, and one of its best record stores has been around nearly as long. Established in 1970, Aquarius Records is the oldest independent record shop in the city, offering up a selection of music that's as eclectic that the folks who shop there — they claim to only stock records they love, and thanks to an interest in everything sludge metal to bluegrass, that makes for a fantastically weird selection. As you'd expect, the staff is friendly and helpful, and explain perfectly how the store has managed to thrive for over four decades.
There are few actors we respect and admire more than Bill Murray, so it's only right that we're pumped about The Murray Affair. This unique art exhibition, put together by Ezra Croft and scheduled for August 8th at the SF Public Works is a one-night extravaganza filled with artwork dedicated the man/myth/legend and his myriad iconic roles. In addition to all the artwork, there will also be musical entertainment, and the ability to buy select pieces — assuming the artist wants to sell.
The Magnolia Brewing Company has been going strong for over 15 years on Haight, but now it's expanding into food at Magnolia Smokestack. This unique new spot in Dogpatch combines a drinkery — complete with 12-15 taps of Magnolia's best, along with a full bar — with a killer BBQ joint run by Namu Gaji chef Dennis Lee. On the food side, you'll find two smokers and two grill pits serving up brisket, short ribs, chicken sausage, and more, with flavors influenced by barbecue destinations around the world. So go in, order up some food, grab a fresh beer, and find a seat. [via]
Just because you want a donut doesn't mean you have to settle for the pile of pre-fried glazed rings you'll find at the nearest mini-mart. Dynamo Donut & Coffee offers a great alternative for Bay Area-citizens and visitors alike, serving up a menu of freshly-made treats that changes on a regular bases — but nearly always includes our favorite, the bacon-maple donut, as well as local Four Barrel Coffee. Order up your breakfast/sugary snack from the walk-up counter, go inside and admire the open kitchen, back patio, and garden, or, if you're not near the Mission, hit up the Marina location instead.
Named after the French term for rum made from cane juice instead of molasses, you'd expect Bar Agricole to serve up fantastic cocktails. And you wouldn't be disappointed. As you might expect, the drink menu focuses on rum-based libations, but lets gin, scotch, bourbon, and brandy join in the fun as well, while the dinner menu covers everything from deviled eggs and celery root soup to risotto and whole roasted duck. It's definitely not cheap, but it's also definitely worth it.
It's not the place to go buy the latest and greatest releases. Nor is it a place to go buy CDs, DVDs, or other hard plastic discs. But if you're looking for vinyl, Groove Merchant Records is the place to be. This collectors haven has been operating in the Lower Haight for over two decades, dedicating itself to finding the best rare and obscure vinyl from around the world, then tossing it onto the shelves for your amusement. As you might imagine, the staff — including owner Chris Veltri, aka Cool Chris — are highly knowledgeable and friendly, so even if you're new to record buying, you'll feel right at home.
You might think that pizza and beer or pizza and wine makes for a better combination than pizza and cocktails — but one visit to Beretta will have you changing your mind. This Mission District eatery serves up fantastic thin crust pizzas that range from simple margherita to a pie topped with potato, rosemary, radicchio, and gorgonzola, alongside excellent risotto, a daily special, and a solid selection of antipasti. The cocktails are also standouts, expertly mixed and ideally balanced, but should you decide to skip the hard stuff, there's a reasonable selection of wines and beers on offer, too.
You don't have to be a whiskey drinker to enjoy yourself at The Alembic — but it certainly doesn't hurt. Boasting one of the most impressive selections of bourbon, whiskey, and rye in the city, this Haight spot can be a little cramped at times, but is well worth the effort it takes to secure a seat. The cocktails are excellent, covering bases both old and new, and the selection of beer, wine, and other spirits is impressive, as well. Rounding out the offerings is a food menu made up of small plates that are as impressively creative as the drinks.
While the name of the place couldn't be more vague, there's definitely a distinct vibe to General Store. Located in Outer Sunset, this quaint shop offers a well-curated selection of goods both new and vintage. Inside the brightly-lit space, expect to find everything from furniture and books to clothing, housewares, and even plants. While you're not going to show up and furnish an entire dwelling, you're certainly likely to find a few items that will transform your personal space into something a bit more refined. For those living in the southern part of the state, there's also a location in Venice.
There are plenty of bars in the Financial District — the afterwork crowds alone are enough to sustain many a spot — but few offer cocktails on the order of Rickhouse. This well-appointed bar features an enormous selection of liquor, which it leans on to create its artisanal cocktails, with the help of fresh fruit juices, natural sugars, and local produce. There's also a decent selection of local beers and wines on offer, and if you happen to arrive with a group, it's recommended that you go ahead and order up one of the punch bowls, which are amongst the best in the city. There's also live music every Saturday and Monday, letting you decide whether you want the extra ambiance or simply want to imbibe in tranquility.
To most of us, Pez are just those whimsical licensed toys with so-so candy that they sell at the checkout line. But those little pouches of fun have a long history — a history that's celebrated at the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia. Located not far from SFO, this unusual ode to candy dispensers features an example of every Pez ever sold — over 900 of them, in total — as well as a selection of new, vintage, and imported Pez available for purchase in the gift shop. And should you tire of Pez, this museum actually holds two others inside, one dedicated to classic toys, and one dedicated to banned toys.
A great barbershop should be more than just a place to get your haircut. The guys behind Fellow Barber agree. Founded by former motorcycle racer Sam Buffa, this small chain of shops was started on the Lower East Side of NYC as a place for men to come and "discuss sports, politics, and culture while getting a haircut or shave." Indeed, that's what the shop — originally called F.S.C. Barber — was, and what it continues to be, with uniquely designed outposts in the West Village, SoHo, Williamsburg, and San Francisco's Mission District. Along with haircuts, trims, and shaves, be sure to browse the selection of grooming products from the likes of Baxter of California, Malin + Goetz, MCMC Fragrances, and others.