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  • Best Car Repair

    Luscious Garage

    While the average car repair joint is a greasy, fume-filled hole-in-the-wall, Luscious Garage just about lives up to its name. The woman-owned biz specializes in hybrids, and its digs, located in a historic brick warehouse in SOMA, are ecologically savvy. The garage runs on solar power, it hosts art shows, and its waiting room is abloom with both philodendrons and Virginia Woolf novels. Carolyn Coquillette is the brains behind this beauty: The dual physics and English major sees driving as... More >>

  • Best Florist


    Cherries looks like a rustic old potting shed overflowing with sunlight, brightly colored blossoms, and the irresistible fragrance of a warm, damp mountain meadow. Weathered cabinets, plank tables, and an old bathtub display watering cans, birdcages, earthenware pots, and enameled vases; there are also soaps, candles, twig nests, and ceramic eggs to accent your floral keepsake. This pastoral ambience is reflected in the staff's friendly manner and effortless ability to create dazzling on-the-spot personalized bouquets from the fresh and fragrant... More >>

  • Best Place to Buy a Plant

    San Francisco Flower Mart

    Men don't buy flowers, until they're forced to. Men buy plants, the taller the better; big, leafy beasts, enough to fill up a room and hide electrical wires. Despite its fragrant name, there's no better place for plant shopping than the S.F. Flower Mart, an easy-to-miss complex where more than 60 vendors set up shop. It's been there for 50 years, fighting off real estate hardliners (most recently the Academy of Art University), but still serving local companies and the... More >>

  • Best Used Bookstore

    Red Hill Books

    After an expansion in 2007 that doubled its (tiny) size, Red Hill Books looks poised to hold down the corner of Cortland and Bennington forever. At least, Bernal Heights residents hope so. The bookstore's smart mix of new and used fiction, children's lit, best-sellers, how-to books, arcane ephemera, and magazines have made it a much beloved neighborhood gathering place. This is where you'll find that used Joan Didion you've been meaning to read, along with a surprise copy of whatever... More >>

  • Best Punk Record Store

    Thrillhouse Records

    Thrillhouse Records is the city's little record shop that could. In an era where the only news you hear about bricks-'n'-mortar music retailers is bad, Thrillhouse continues chugging along without a cent to pay its employees. The Outer Mission nonprofit is run by a passionate pool of volunteers, who stock the shelves with vinyl, CDs, and cassettes from bands like the Fleshies, Nodzzz, and Shotwell. Every cent spent in the diagonally shaped store goes back into buying more independently released... More >>

  • Best Place to Recycle Old Wardrobe Items

    Miranda Caroligne

    Believe it or not, there might be a place for your '80s shoulder pads besides the landfill. This diminutive shop, which hails from the genius of designer Miranda C. Burns, has been at the vanguard of San Francisco's indie and DIY design movement since 2005. Burns and company specialize in making wearable recycled art, and it's ripe attire for the fashion- and eco-conscious. Miranda Caroligne is full of salvaged goods, amassed by local designers who would prefer to reconstruct rather... More >>

  • Best Jewelry Line of the Future


    In trying to describe Mackenzie Burdick and Rachael Mann's jewelry line, the words "bondage" and "flapper" come to mind. The combination sounds campy, but it translates into some of the most innovative bling we've seen in ages. In fact, the sisters, working out of their Cow Hollow studio, appear to have discovered the next dimension of accessories. They don't just make necklaces — they create long chains that swing from the earpieces of your sunglasses. No boring ankle bracelets here:... More >>

  • Best New Gift Boutique

    Bell Jar

    If you're anything like us, your per-friend gift budget is a little squishy. We usually start with a well-intentioned $30 limit, which stretches toward $60 by the time we're through. Luckily, this turns out to be the perfect range for shopping at Bell Jar, the gift shop opened last year by former Levi's art director Sasha Wingate. The Mission space is packed with enough Victorian and goth arty jewelry, throw pillows, cards, and scented candles to keep the pickiest of... More >>

  • Best T-Shirts with Talking Food

    Loyal Army

    Where can you find smiling clouds, sad dinosaurs, and pancakes that shout, "I'm a hot mess"? Designed and run locally, Loyal Army in the Haight is filled with brightly colored purses, shirts, and accessories. A canvas bag, alternately dotted with vegetables and fast food, sells for $19.50. A sweatshirt adorned with a little girl doing karate goes for $44.50. And a T-shirt with a kettle of popcorn proclaiming, "Pop it like it's hot!" retails at $19.50. Sure, falling in love... More >>

  • Best Place to Transform Into a Pinup

    Dollhouse Bettie

    From babydolls to high-waist panties, Dollhouse Bettie is stocked with the kind of persona-altering vintage lingerie that invokes the spirit of busty pinup babes like Bettie Page. Whether you're in the mood for naughty or nice, this Upper Haight boutique's cinchers, garters, corsets, and other beauty accoutrements appear to have the sole purpose of transforming you into a pinup goddess. Even nongirlie girls will be tantalized by the feathers, ruffles, and tassels that generously pad the store. The combinations of... More >>

  • Best Massage

    Nell Waters Curative Massage

    Let's face it: Most massages are great. No matter how inexperienced the massage therapist, most of us love having our heads lodged in a face cradle while getting our limbs kneaded, manipulated, and plied into a big pile of blissful mush. But even when you're blessed with someone who knows a thing or two about rhythm, patience, and precision, it can be difficult to suss out the wherefores of what makes someone a truly excellent therapist. Enter Nell Waters, a... More >>

  • Best Place to Detox

    Avra Organic Spa

    Becoming mindful about your finances doesn't have to mean giving up pampering. It just means trading in your regular ol' day spa — debutantes, amenity-packed locker rooms, pretentious 'tudes, and all — for a place like Avra Organic Spa, the perfect retreat for frazzled nerves and conscientious intentions. Avra touts itself as a green spa, which essentially boils down to "waste not, want not." This extends to the decor, as lots of stuff (like the wall hangings, flooring, and stylin'... More >>

  • Best Decadent Mani/Pedi

    Cocoon Urban Day Spa

    When it comes to the typical nail spa, you know the drill: A technician who doesn’t want to be there, much less make conversation, gives your hands or feet a cursory stroke before rushing into the treatment (likely smudging your nails in the process) and hurrying you to a drying station before the next client plops into the chair you were just sitting in. But getting your nails done doesn't have to feel like being trotted along a conveyor belt... More >>

  • Best Way to Make Yourself Look Younger

    Stillpoint Wellness Center

    Aging gracefully is a virtue, and some of us know that you can stay beautiful throughout your years without going for the tautly stretched look or overloading on Botox. Bina Jangda of Stillpoint Wellness Center is one of the only acupuncturists in the city to offer facial rejuvenation acupuncture (FRA), a technique that's been known for centuries but has just started to make a splash stateside. It offers a nonsurgical, noninvasive method of reducing aging signs: By improving circulation and... More >>

  • Best Psychic Alternative

    Nicki Bonfilio

    If you're wary of New Age charlatans or find the I Ching and Tarot too esoteric to decipher, pop into intuitive counselor Nicki Bonfilio's Mission District office. Aside from winning you over with her plainspoken integrity, she will make the amorphous world of auras and energy that much more accessible. And don't worry — Miss Cleo she ain't. Bonfilio won't forecast your future with a crystal ball or try to pocket a few hundred dollars to ward off a family... More >>

  • Best Barbershop

    Joe's Barbershop

    It should surprise no one that gay men commonly harbor barbershop fantasies. If you're like a lot of guys who languished through closeted childhoods in Middle America, then you spent every third or fourth Saturday waiting with your Dad and brothers and a roomful of other men for Tom or Bob or Gus to cut your hair. The one consolation was that — at the end of all your waiting — a big, strong man rewarded you by making you... More >>

  • Best Optometrist

    Kimberry La

    People don't fear optometrists as they do dentists or surgeons. But they ought to. An eye doctor may label your condition with words like "astigmatic" with no explanation, or worse, send you home with $450 glasses your insurance won't cover and that flatter your face only in the lighting of the optometrist's office. There are none of these moneymaking shenanigans at Kimberry La's. As much an educator as an optometrist, she provides in-depth minicourses on your particular eye condition, complete... More >>

  • Best Dentist

    Kenneth Wong

    Why'd the expert dentist's girlfriend leave him? He was in and out before she felt a thing. Judging from the family photos hanging on the walls of Kenneth Wong's Polk Street office, this exquisite dentist hasn't had to pay such penance for his talent. But his good-humored, sympathetic chairside manner, combined with his incomparable skill in filling cavities without causing pain, puts him among the dental elite. He has the ability to make patients feel at peace, even when he's... More >>

  • Best Party Bus

    Teacher with the Bus

    You know party buses: those lumbering tour tanks that bellow toxins into the air and (ob)noxious drunkards into the clubs. One German-born windsurfing champion and schoolteacher has injected the bus party culture with a needed bit of sophistication. Jens-Peter Jungclaussen rents out two sleek models that run on biodiesel and solar panels (he charges $650 for a minimum of four hours, plus $155 for each additional hour). He encourages partiers to ditch the bar crawl for a BYOB fiesta on... More >>

  • Best Place to Take Care of Spring Cleaning


    Each year, close to 400 million units of obsolete electronics get scrapped, according to the local do-gooders at GreenCitizen. That means in the years to come, billions of units will be sitting on garbage heaps, waiting to be recycled and contaminating our water, land, and air in the process. Even in eco-conscious places like San Francisco, office buildings and apartment complexes become dumping grounds for old electronics. But you can easily recycle your clunky old TV monitors and unwanted computers... More >>

  • Best Alternative to the Plastic Grocery Sack


    We don't need to lecture our eco-conscious readers on the importance of quitting your grocery sack habit. The city has already banned plastic ones, and paper ones are hardly any better for the Earth. Yet for those who'd like to make an aesthetic statement as well as a green one, try a RainaBag, the high-end creation of Financial District accountant and bag designer Raina Yee. Inspired by an eco-minded boyfriend to expand her former purse business, Yee started the company... More >>

  • Best Place to Buy Luggage

    Hideo Wakamatsu

    Who says utilitarian luggage and aesthetically pleasing design are mutually exclusive? Certainly not designer Hideo Wakamatsu, whose San Francisco boutique is a popular mainstay for locals and tourists alike. That's because his experimental flair, influenced by Japanese and French couture, means that his signature handbags, suitcases, and attachés aren't simply generic models rolling off the production line or baggage-claim conveyor belt; they're pieces influenced by origami and Zen theory. Wakamatsu's highly conceptual pieces range from the quirky and romantic to... More >>

  • Best Indie Paper Emporium

    Little Otsu

    Otsu is an antiquated Japanese word that would give fits to the best U.N. translator; depending on the context, it can mean strange, quaint, stylish, chic, spicy, witty, tasty, or romantic. Somehow, all these adjectives apply to the small Mission storefront that combines an art gallery, small-batch publishing house, and stationery store that embraces all things paper — books, calendars, journals, cards, posters, and notes, not to mention T-shirts and a variety of other cool stuff. Most are created with... More >>

  • Best Gifts for Urbanites Who Miss Nature

    Ferry Building

    Some "green" companies squirt essential oils into a bar of Dove and call it a day (and an $8.99 bar of soap). Not Juniper Ridge. Check out how the company started: Founder Hall Newbegin went foraging in Big Sur, picking up this leaf and that needle, then incorporating them into his soaps. He wanted to make a bar that not only smelled like the natural bounty of the West, but was also made of it (trickier, and rarer, than you... More >>

  • Best Wedding Invitations

    Hello Lucky

    Weddings are supposed to be fancy, serious occasions, and the invitations you use to announce your wedding should be equally mature: ornate creations of lace and silk and gaudiness — right? Okay, maybe not. Rest assured, nontraditional brides-to-be: Hello Lucky's invitations are nothing like that. Located in SOMA (as well as in London), Hello Lucky is based here but sells all over the world. Its designs are simple, but classy and cute. While the sock monkeys that adorn Hello Lucky's... More >>

  • Best Party Supply Store

    Angray Fantastico

    Even people who've never wasted a breath on party planning find themselves considering themes and streamers as they wander the cavernous Fantastico, inspecting all manner of masks, hats, banners, piñatas, disco balls, candles, costumes, plastic jewels, and ribbons. It's cheap — the prices on the ribbons are insane (25 yards of sheer organza runs $3.75). The fake stuff deserves special mention: fruits and flowers, obviously, but how about trees, birds, butterflies, and bread? All there, all spectacularly fake. It makes... More >>

  • Best Toy Store

    The Ark

    From the inside, the Ark does indeed resemble a barnlike floating refuge from the stormy seas of modern life, but the only animals aboard this Presidio Heights toy emporium are the wide array of kid-sized stuffed beasts ideal for cuddling. What's really being preserved here are Slinkys, Frisbees, jigsaw puzzles, boomerangs, hula hoops, building blocks, Whiffle balls, Radio Flyers, and other tactile, time-tested gadgets for the preteen set. Budding scientists will enjoy the butterfly gardens, ant farms, and home planetariums.... More >>

  • Best Facial


    If you find yourself scrutinizing your pores and lamenting prolonged adolescence despite the scads of magic potions lining your medicine cabinet, look no further. Mission District aesthetician Kimberly Yap Tan is the kind of gung-ho beauty maven who will tell you there's a perfect skincare regimen for everyone, even those beleaguered by bad skin. The fact that she has a ream of devoted clients suggests she knows what she's talking about. Tan's warm tableside manner is complemented by a unique... More >>

  • Best Acupuncture

    San Francisco Community Acupuncture

    Getting your chi in balance needn't cost you an arm and a leg. San Francisco Community Acupuncture, a healing center helmed by Rebekah Sitty and Rebecca Rizzetta, is a clinic where ailments like insomnia and chronic pain can be assuaged at $20 to $40 a pop. Sip herbal tea in the waiting room before getting a full consultation, complete with all the requisite questions, a pulse reading, and recommendations for a healthy lifestyle regimen. Then you can head over to... More >>

  • Best Place for Dad to Take the Kids

    Terra Mia Decorative Art Studio

    It's simple, really, to be a good dad for the afternoon. First, skip teaching your child the finer points of fielding a grounder. Then just pop into Terra Mia, find an open table, pour yourself into the able hands of the staff, and complete the easiest, most satisfying art project imaginable: painting ceramics. Select from among dozens of objects, from cups to plates to dog bowls to statuettes, even skulls for metalhead dads — all bone-white and ready for creativity.... More >>

  • Best Resource for New Parents


    It's the dirty secret of breastfeeding: Mother's milk doesn't appear until after the big event, when Mom is at home, far from the trained experts. What to do if things aren't flowing properly? Call DayOne and book time with one of its board-certified lactation consultants. They'll observe, explore techniques, chart a course of action, and then — wonder of wonders — they'll call you later on, unannounced, just to see how you're doing. DayOne also has legions of classes and... More >>

  • Best Step Forward in Health Care

    Healthy San Francisco

    Healthy San Francisco, the city's fledgling universal health care program, is a bold promise in the most uncertain of times. For its 37,000 members — most with incomes at or below the federal poverty level — Healthy San Francisco offers the possibility of regular treatment instead of seeing the doctor only when something is wrong. The program represents initiative at a time when accessible health care is needed more than ever, and so won the city praise from President Barack... More >>

  • Best Lingerie

    My Boudoir Lingerie

    Grandma panties, begone! My Boudoir Lingerie is a Pacific Heights boutique for your unmentionables that is as versatile as it is small. It sports an exquisite assortment of everything from frilly accoutrements to suitably trampy getups for your vixeny alter ego. Exclusive European brands like Princesse Tam Tam, Aubade, HUIT, and Chantelle grace the racks here. Cleavage-enhancing balconette bras, an impressive array of fishnets and thigh-high stockings, and filmy nighties will catch your fancy, but the devil is in the... More >>

  • Best Place for Pulp Lit

    Kayo Books

    Kayo boasts unexpurgated editions (many of them first editions) of some of the lowest-brow literature this side of the men's room. The material mainly hails from annals both obscure and lurid, from the 1930s to the 1970s. Most of the items are more depraved than an H.P. Lovecraft book. Titles by the likes of David Goodis, Ed Wood, and Peter Rabe share shelf space with Mad magazines and monster comics. The store is also a veritable cornucopia of collectors' items;... More >>

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Tech Store Apple Best Massage Kabuki Springs & Spa Best Manicures/Pedicures Silk Best Hair Salon Barber Lounge Best Women’s Clothing Ambiance Best Shoe Store Shoe Biz Best Furniture Store Room and Board Best Thrift Store Thrift Town Best Green-Conscious Retailer Rainbow Grocery Best Video/DVD Rentals Lost Weekend Best Place to Buy CDs Amoeba Music Best Used Bookstore Green Apple Best Hotel W Best Sex Supplies Good Vibrations Best Athletic Supplies Sports Basement Best Cannabis Club Vapor Room... More >>

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