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  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Cannabis Club Vapor Room Best Massage Kabuki Springs and Spa Best Manicures/Pedicures Silk Spa Best Hair Salon Oxenrose Best Optometrist Through the Hayes Optometry Best Dentist Suzie Yang Best Lingerie Store My Boudoir Best Strip Club Lusty Lady Best Men's Clothing Vince Best Women's Clothing Ambiance Best Dry Cleaning Laundry Locker Best Shoe Store Shoe Biz Best Jewelry Store Tiffany Best Boutique Ambiance Best Furniture Store Therapy Best Thrift Store Thrift Town Best Video Store Le Video Best Place... More >>

  • Best Marijuana Delivery Service

    The Green Cross

    The Green Cross has the best medicine in town, as evidenced by its first-place finish in last year's San Francisco Cannabis Cup. The best part is that the Green Cross will deliver your medicine right to your door once it has your recommendation on file. Its delivery people will bring just about anything: a couple of prerolleds, a set of papers, or some tinctures; olive oil, peanut butter, hot cocoa packets, and chocolates infused with THC; or tea sets, as... More >>

  • Best Soothsayer

    Jessica Lanyadoo

    If a newspaper horoscope or Magic 8 Ball doesn't quite cut it when it comes to getting answers about major life decisions, consider an intuitive reading with Jessica Lanyadoo. She has mended broken hearts and cleared foggy minds with her metaphysical know-how and uncanny forecasting abilities. A reading will probably contain a smattering of astrology, Tarot, medium work, and straight-arrow counseling; clients attest that an hour with her is better than therapy. Whether you want to vent about your deadbeat... More >>

  • Best X-Men Tarot Card Reader


    At first it may seem ridiculous to get your future told by a man whose Tarot deck features X-Men characters. But STORM is no ordinary X-Men aficionado: He has legally changed his name to that of one of the characters. The X-Men have been published at least once a month for more than four decades, giving the characters a mythic resonance and backstories all their own. STORM knows the cards, knows the characters, and draws connections to the psyche that... More >>

  • Best Place to Put a Spell on You

    La Sirena Botanica

    Gods and spirits are fickle things. One day, everything is falling into place in your life; the next, everything is falling onto your head from above. One way to get your aura in order and start putting out positive energy again is to dress a candle in essential oils and burn it the proper way to dissipate any negative energy that might be dragging you down. Nobody can explain just how to do it and why the burnings work magic... More >>

  • Best Place to Alter Your Consciousness

    Float Matrix

    If you're among the millions of Americans who suffer from overstimulation, forget unplugging your phone and try unplugging your senses. At Float Matrix, you can escape your worries and your gadgets in a unique way: in a sensory deprivation tank. The typical flotation tank is a soundproof, lightproof pod where you bob around in about a foot of warm, salt-saturated water. (A one-hour session costs $75 for one person, $125 for two.) The reputed health benefits include alleviation of back... More >>

  • Best Day Spa

    EarthBody Advanced Therapies

    If you're into full body, mind, and spiritual wellness, the typical pampering haven will seem pretty retrograde. But spa enthusiasts hip to the benefits of ecological sustainability and ancient holistic rites will delight in the services at EarthBody Advanced Therapies, which are all about attuning achy urbanites to the subtle rhythms of their bodies — particularly when they're all out of whack. If you want to forgo hastily administered massages and facials in chichi venues, simply luxuriate in the spa's... More >>

  • Best Hot Tubs

    Elisa's Health Spa

    Sometimes you just really want to indulge in a soak, and 100 percent of the time you really don't want to worry about who — or what — got a little too relaxed in a hot tub before you elected to dive in. There's a reason these tubs have been here for 30 years: Healing, not hookups, is the order of business, with massages, body wraps, and other rejuvenating skincare services available alongside just sweating and soaking. All are offered... More >>

  • Best Facial

    Medical Skin Aesthetics

    Medical Skin Aesthetics founder Alisha Valverde can help drooping debutantes in need of a complexion tune-up or 30-year-olds afflicted with adult acne. She delivers corrective facials with a perfectionistic touch, while her medical-grade chemical peels have earned her a gold star among harried socialites and brides-to-be. While Valverde's famous facials ($125 for a comprehensive signature treatment) make both locals and out-of-towners swoon, given her precision and attention to detail (like that blackhead in your ear, or unsightly hair poking out... More >>

  • Best Place to Soothe Your Soles

    U2 Health and Beauty Center

    There's nothing more satisfying than a meticulously administered foot massage that targets all your nerviest pressure points. To luxuriate, simply take your callused soles to this unassuming spot in the Inner Richmond for an hour or so of pampering. U2 Health and Beauty Center is less a spa than a pillar of therapy for all things reflexology-related. Reflexology is the ancient Chinese practice of massaging points on the feet to benefit other parts of the body. Be that as it... More >>

  • Best Local Skincare Line

    By Nieves Natural Handmade Body Care

    Nieves Rathbun is an enchantress. You may think we're exaggerating, but the proprietor of By Nieves cosmetics commands an ethereal realm, can do magic, and wears diaphanous gowns. Be honest: Isn't that who you want mixing the elixir with which you anoint yourself each morn? Rathbun learned chemistry at respected skincare companies Zia and V'tae, and later secluded herself in an oaken library to learn more via ancient tomes, rune-reading, and witches. From her charm-protected laboratory, she produces "C" Perfect... More >>

  • Best Hair-Removal Specialist

    Union Street Apothecary

    Removing unwanted hair — whether by waxing or threading — is not fun. But Seema at Union Street Apothecary makes it as painless as possible. She's quick and no-nonsense when it comes to the sometimes uncomfortable and very, very personal job of hair removal. Known as "the lady with magic fingers" for her ability to shape eyebrows, she is equally adept at removing hair on other parts of the body. Eyebrow threading for maintenance is $20, with shaping costing an... More >>

  • Best Bike Fashion


    Illustration by Grant Gilliland Search as you may, San Francisco Bicycle Messenger Association bandannas silk-screened with chain rings instead of paisleys aren't to be found at Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, or Macy's. That sort of up-to-the-moment fashion statement requires a trip deep into the Inner Mission to a little clothing outlet that shares a storefront with a skateboard shop. Pushbike, opened last year by husband-and-wife ex–bicycle messengers Sarah Torgrimson and Ian Davis, specializes in urban cycling apparel not found in larger retail... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Your Hair Did

    Joseph Cozza Salon

    If you're fussy about your appearance; value a clean, spalike ambience; and seek the type of salon whose staff knows more about hair than you do, Joseph Cozza is the place to come. The salon has been a tried-and-true fixture in the city for years, but with its acquisition of former competitor 77 Maiden Lane Salon this year, it has become something of a mecca of follicular design. It features stylists who fuss over the bits that need fussing over... More >>

  • Best Curly Haircut


    Madusalon has recognized that unruly, wild tendrils need a more nuanced cut than straight hair, and there's a simple way to achieve this: Cut the hair while it's dry! At Madusalon, the stylists will do this for $60 to $80, depending on how long and crazy your hair is. They'll wash your hair after the cut, then style it, and send you on your way. Your 'do will almost certainly look better when you walk out than when you style... More >>

  • Best Local Jewelry Store-Gallery Hybrid

    Inclusions Gallery

    Tucked into the cutest, friendliest neighborhood in San Francisco is the cutest, friendliest gallery and jewelry store with the cutest, friendliest proprietor. Her name is Lisa Moro, and her gallery, Inclusions, couldn't be more appropriately named. Moro, an effervescent evangelist for local and community everything, makes all her gallery's visitors feel like they belong. She has her own line of tribal silver jewelry, and is also the curator of plenty of other funky jewelry and art. As part of recent... More >>

  • Best New Women's Vintage Clothing Store

    Bianca Starr

    All too often, vintage stores, like the waist on a pair of jeans, are too high or too low. They all sell designer wear priced out of most people's budgets, or polyester dresses best-suited for a '70s theme party. Not so with newcomer Bianca Starr. Her well-edited collection of womenswear is nestled in a closet-sized shop, but the careful arrangement of the interior makes it feel much bigger than it is. A dangerously cool pair of studded Miu Miu flats... More >>

  • Best Consignment Boutique for Men

    SuiGENERIS Consignment Boutique

    This town is full of gents who believe that clothing is good for a single season. Let them go on thinking that. After they've barely worn that shirt from Barneys or that tie from Hermès, they're likely to drop it off at Sui Generis, a classy little shop in the Castro that offers posh brands at Banana Republic prices. This isn't one of those vintage stores where you're rewarded with the occasional wearable piece after pawing through a pile of... More >>

  • Best Men's Hat Shop

    Thorne Hat Shop

    Nothing says "natty" like a snappy piece of headgear, and Thorne is the place to go when you're ready to cap your cranium in style. Borsalinos, fedoras, derbies, Stetsons, homburgs, and porkpies in a variety of shades and designs are displayed throughout this handsome little shop, where the dapper Cornelius Thorne has been sizing up every kind of noggin with effortless accuracy since 1977. You'll also find tweed caps, berets, and Greek fisherman's caps along with a fine selection of... More >>

  • Best All-American Men's Clothing


    In December 2008, San Francisco's longest-lived purveyor of supergay clothing finally closed its doors. All-American Boy typified the Castro aesthetic for more than 30 years, offering enough bikini briefs and square-cut swimsuits to supply a lifetime's worth of regrettable trips to Provincetown. Alas, like six-pack abs and Brazilian waxes, it simply wasn't meant to last. In 2009, a very different kind of men's boutique appeared in a quieter corner of the neighborhood, and it's enough to make you wonder whether... More >>

  • Best Place to Buy Jeans

    Hard Wear Store

    This urban American life requires tough clothes built for lumberjacks, construction workers, and cowboys (even if the wearers work in a cubicle wearing Carhartt or sling lattes in Ben Davis or Dickies). It's even better if said tough cotton is spun in America, like the vast selection of Lucky jeans at the Hard Wear Store. These are jeans for everyone, stocked by smart folks who realize we all need a good-looking pair of denims. You can make easy fashion statements... More >>

  • Best Tailor

    Lan's Formal Wear

    There's nothing like a split in the seams to really break in your vintage slacks. Since showing off skin was never really in style at any time during the life of those 40-year-old corduroys, you need to do something quick to make your duds presentable. Best visit Sam Lan, who can patch, alter, let in, let out, and otherwise resurrect garments from the dead. Brides-to-be in a hurry flock to Lan for panic-free dress alterations and other last-minute tailorings that... More >>

  • Best Dry Cleaning

    Clothespin Cleaners

    Service with a smile is more often than not service with a forced smile. This is not the case at Clothespin Cleaners, which gets your clothes spotless and does it with élan and pep. You've got stained suede? No problem. A hole in a designer silk top? Oh, please. Stains and rips disappear as if a magician had waved a wand over them. Pleats are pressed with care. It's not unusual to return to pick up your stuff and hear,... More >>

  • Best Strip Club

    Crazy Horse Gentlemen's Club

    Good thing you can't judge a book by its cover, because Crazy Horse would otherwise be unlikely to draw many patrons in the front door. The strip club occupies an address in the panhandler-ruled wasteland that is Market between Fifth and Eighth streets, a location that suggests this could be the sort of place you make bad decisions you never recover from. Once you've paid your $20 cover charge and settled into the Crazy Horse's theater-style seats, however, a realization... More >>

  • Best Leather Fix

    Stormy Leather

    Leather waist cincher? Check. Fur-lined handcuffs? Check. Rubber skirt? Check. Dildo on a pogo stick? Well ... you get the picture. If the imaginative array of fetishwear and toys at Stormy Leather doesn't titillate your inner kinkster, nothing else will. The two-level space (which includes a sales floor at street level and a gallery-cum-dungeon in the basement) is where chastity comes to get desecrated — or, at least, to doff her belt. The assortment of corsets spans to infinity, and... More >>

  • Best Place to Fix Your Bike

    Bike Kitchen

    Notice we didn't title this Best Place to Get Your Bike Fixed: At the Bike Kitchen, you do it yourself. The nonprofit offers a sea of workstations: You simply arrive with your wounded stallion, pay $5 for day use (or join as a member for $40 to $80 a year), pick new and used parts as you see fit (they're available for sale), and ride the lightning (fix your bike). But if you're mechanically broken, don't try to bullshit your... More >>

  • Best Camera Store

    Camera Heaven

    Old cameras don't die; they go to Camera Heaven. Which is to say they are repaired, not replaced, because nothing hurts owner David Tran like good glass from a vintage Rolleicord discarded before its time. Anything with a lens is within his scope, whether your point-and-shoot needs a mere cleaning to regain its autofocus, or your ancient shutter needs new gears made from scratch. Need a low-light lens pronto, or aren't sure what flash you need to keep your photos... More >>

  • Best New Bookstore

    The Green Arcade

    New bookstores don't appear very often, and when they do, we have no right to expect they'll look anything like the Green Arcade. But there it is: a near-perfect, delicate bookshop, dripping with yellowy atmosphere, welcoming chairs, and incredible books, which don't seem to be shelved as much as perfectly curated. Everything you've wanted to read, or know you should read, is there, and you'll want to rifle through everything else. Broadly, the store specializes in environment, politics, food, farming,... More >>

  • Best Rare Bookstore

    Argonaut Book Shop

    Careful where you step at Argonaut: There's probably a $500 book or six in those stacks by your feet. One false move could mean a swift kick to a first-edition Mark Twain, Bret Harte, or Jack London. The bookstore specializes in rare books with a San Francisco or California connection. Not only does it offer the works of local literary masters, but you can also find pictorials depicting, say, the history of Telegraph Hill (bet you didn't know that before... More >>

  • Best Book Sale

    Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Donation Center

    With more than 300,000 books, the Friends of the SFPL's Big Book Sale is a monster. Only problem: It's a monster, with demon lines and vicious elbowing from bargain-hunting trolls. And it's at Fort Mason, which is within walking distance of what neighborhoods? The Marina, Fisherman's Wharf, and that's it — and who lives at Fisherman's Wharf? But the Friends have more than 300,000 books to sell every year. Way more. And unload them they must, so on the second... More >>

  • Best New Shopping Experience

    San Francisco Film Society – New People Cinema

    Where else can you get Japanese goth dresses, anime DVDs, and gorilla-shaped iPod speakers, all under the same roof? New People offers all those items and more. Opened by VIZ Media founder Seiji Horibuchi, the three-story building houses the New People Store, VIZ Cinema, several cutting-edge boutiques, and the Superfrog Gallery. You can go from browsing the latest J-pop CDs to trying out a toothpick dispenser and putting your money in a Face Bank (think of a piggy bank, but... More >>

  • Best Vintage Furniture Store

    The Other Shop

    If you like the variety of flea-market finds with the convenience of a dependable storefront, the Other Shop is the perfect blend of both worlds. Mid-20th-century furniture, wall hangings, dishware, lamps, and other knickknacks like mirrors, coffee-table books, and glassware stop time somewhere between the '50s and the '70s. To ensure you're dressed and DJ-ing from the same era, the Other Shop also sells vinyl and vintage clothing and jewelry. The prices won't compete with those big outdoor swap meets,... More >>

  • Best One-of-a-Kind Housewares

    General Store

    The best houseware stores are more like galleries than pure retail outlets. They're run by curatorial folks who understand that there's an art to decorating your apartment. The newly opened General Store keeps to the Outer Sunset's laid-back, beachy vibe with one-of-a-kind items in a space beautifully designed like a flipped skate ramp (be sure to check out the wooden structure in the middle of the room). The store, run by artist Serena Mitnik-Miller and architect Mason St. Peter, sells... More >>

  • Best Flag Resource

    Emerson USA

    Looking for an appropriate bit of bunting for Aruba Autonomy Day? How about a state visit from the president of Djibouti, the prince of Liechtenstein, the prime minister of Vanuatu, or the governor of Rhode Island? Emerson has flags, banners, and pennants for every conceivable occasion, including a few you just came up with. They've got your pirate flags, pride flags, Giants flags, airfield safety flags, St. Kitts–Nevis flags, even the official rising-phoenix city flag in case Gavin drops by... More >>

  • Best Place to Buy a Vintage Globe

    Room 4

    A stack of vintage porn sitting next to some tight male undies and a pair of horn-rim glasses? No, it's not your dad's closet, but it could be. Room 4 is a vintage boutique with a masculine bent — one wall is covered in men's shirts and belts with quirky buckles. But there's something for everyone in this store jam-packed with housewares, like colorful tins, framed portraits of serious-looking businessmen, hotel ashtrays, and jaunty side tables. Quite often, you can... More >>

  • Cutest Curios

    Curiosity Shoppe

    If the Curiosity Shoppe reminds anyone of ReadyMade magazine, it's because the adorable Mission District store was opened by former ReadyMade editor Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith, a former associate of fashion designer Todd Oldham. Talk about cute cred. The tiny depot celebrates the duo's self-proclaimed obsession with "beautiful things," giving shoppers a chance to decorate their homes with such delightful items as a Clare Rojas floriography journal, a porcelain cupcake container, a set of wooden bricks, handmade baseballs, a... More >>

  • Best Weird Boutique


    In recent years, this store has changed names and shifted focus — it is now less 1960s and 1970s vintage, and more 1950s and before — but still doles out one-of-a-kind creations crafted from found treasures like broken pocket watches, forgotten skeleton keys, and lost-and-found pearl and ivory buttons. These are reworked into necklaces, brooches, and other decorations fit for steampunk royalty at the Edwardian Ball. Everyday nostalgic style-seekers go for the Kennedy-era fur-lined cardigans, paisley-print vests, or selection of... More >>

  • Best Geekout

    Neon Monster

    It's not easy being a geek these days. Competitive nerddom requires constant vigilance to maintain a stash of the latest designer toys, the freshest underground graphic novels, and the "you heard it at my house first" vinyl collection (someone has to educate friends on what's good; might as well be you). This is why the geek gods at Neon Monster keep their arsenal of Kidrobot and GAMA-GO toys and custom resin playthings crafted by local artists stocked and ready for... More >>

  • Best Place to Indulge a Skull Fetish

    Martin's 16th Street Emporium

    Death's heads aren't just for Día de los Muertos. As well as the predictable array of skull-decorated lighters and jewelry, Martin's sells maracalike skull percussion sets and decorative bronze paperweights, plus hand-carved skulls made from real bone (relax, it's yak bone). But what is one's own private Golgotha without extras like wallets emblazoned with "Faster, Motherfucker" and a collection of vintage belt buckles, antique crucifixes, and some naughty art projects put together by the proprietor himself? Nothing, which is why... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Great Stuff

    Great Stuff

    An institution in the Inner Sunset (if you know, you know), the name says it all. This small emporium has everything you never knew you wanted: puppets, fake mustaches, elegant diaries, Buddhas, gift cards, soaps, hats, jewelry, party games, LED lights shaped like rats — it's where you go when your gift has to say, "What the fuck?" It also encourages browsing, secure in the knowledge that you'll find something you can't resist getting your friend in the hospital or... More >>

  • Best Alternative Transportation

    Disco Cab

    We are no newcomers to the San Francisco cab experience — near accidents, accidents, swearing in a multitude of languages, and strangely heartfelt drunken conversations with Yodalike drivers — but placing a disco ball and flashing lights, timed to a thumping Arabic beat, in the backseat does stir the pot. Meet Disco Cab, the work of Haydar Alhakim, who makes a typical crosstown trip into something of a party. Why spend your ride babbling at the driver or checking your... More >>

  • Best Unconventional Tour Guide

    Electric Tour Company

    With its 30-degree road grades, mean-spirited bicyclists, and assortment of homeless pranksters who make a vocation of scaring the bejeezus out of tourists (think Bush Man), San Francisco isn't always the most pedestrian-friendly big city. So why walk when you can, um ... what do they call it when you ride a Segway? You'll find out soon enough with Electric Tour Company, a Fisherman's Wharf–based outfit that offers tours of the waterfront aboard your own Segway Personal Transporter. At $70... More >>

  • Best Reason to Play Music Again

    Music Center of San Francisco

    Like most traumatic experiences from childhood, music lessons eventually become the stuff of nostalgia. Chances are, though, that if you still play the flute or the violin or whatever, your warm memories can't keep that instrument from languishing somewhere in the back of your closet. Maybe you just need a little inspiration — in which case it wouldn't hurt to stop by the Music Center of San Francisco. With sheet music for every instrument and every genre, a variety of... More >>

  • Q&A: Andee Connors, Co-Owner of Aquarius Records

    By Jennifer Maerz Photograph by Jamie Soja What do you think of as a very San Francisco band/artist? Old days: Screamers, Residents, Flipper, Metallica. Now: Hammers of Misfortune, Oxbow, Thee Oh Sees. When you're not at Aquarius, what's your favorite place to buy music? I love Amoeba. Seems weird that I could spend all week working in a record store, only to head to another record store on my day off. But I do, all the time. As do many... More >>

  • Profile: Cathy Smith, Medical Marijuana Provider

    By Andy Wright Photograph by Stuart Dixon Ten years ago, when Cathy Smith moved to the Bay Area from her native Maine, she immediately noticed two things. The first was the weather. "I love rain and I hate snow," she says. The temperature in Maine hit a record low of minus 50 last year, which may explain Smith's love for the soggy days many San Franciscans grumble about. The second was the diversity. Back in Maine, "if you dyed your... More >>

  • Profile: Carol Doda, S.F.'s Most Famous Stripper

    By Lois Beckett "I feel like I'm part of San Francisco, and San Francisco's part of me," Carol Doda says without irony. Doda's breasts are a San Francisco monument, once called the city's second pair of Twin Peaks. She was America's first noted topless dancer, dazzling audiences at the Condor Club in a topless bathing suit in 1964. Soon after, she became the first celebrity with silicone breast implants (new size: 44DD). Four decades later, Doda runs a lingerie shop... More >>

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