To some people, mentioning the Haight conjures up images of pot head hippies. Everywhere. And while it certainly has some of those (and you should not try to pet their dogs) there is so much more than that to love about this ‘hood. We break down where to eat, drink, and get your shop on. Don’t Haight it till ya try it after all.
Where to Eat
1451 Haight St
SF is known for brunches, but it’s also known for the high price tag that comes with said brunches. Pork Store Cafe is here to shake things up, with super reasonable and super delicious brunch classics, from biscuits and gravy to egg in a hole. There’s a line because the space is quite small, but boy is it worth it.
1640 Haight St.
This place does it all. Farm to table brunch, lunch, and dinner. There’s also an impressive wine list, coffee made from Ritual beans, and the staff is fast but attentive. Come on a weekday lunch for the kale caesar salad with fried garlic and sourdough croutons, or come to happy hour for cocktails that emphasize flavors like mint and rose. Better yet, do as San Franciscans do and stop in for Sunday brunch.
1428 Haight St.
Formerly a Squat and Gobble, this family-run eatery now boasts breakfast all day, reasonably priced mimosas, and a hangover burger that should have you regretting last night a little bit less. The staff is friendly and attentive, and you order and pay in one step so you can jet out when you’ve had your fill of bacon and booze.
For casual eats:
1607 Haight St.
Founded with the intention to make Mexican street food, Street Taco churns out delicious, inexpensive, authentic Mexican food that’s street food inspired. For the adventurous, you can try cactus, or nopales as your ‘meat” of choice, or beef rib. But don’t worry, they have the standbys like chicken and steak too.
1737 Haight St.
Alright, so if you’re an East Coaster you will insist that New York pizza IN New York tastes best. To that, I raise my garlic pesto potato slice at you in defiance. It’s some of the cheapest, tastiest pizza in the city, and its open till 2 am, for when you really really need grease and carbs.
1466 Haight St.
Stuck showing around that annoying vegan friend? Take them here for fast food that is vegan and genuinely delicious. Talk about a guilt-free indulgence.
For semi-casual eats:
1801 Haight St.
If Caribbean food is your jam, you’re at the right place. Serving small plates, and pitchers of Sangria, with a Santeria vibe interior, you literally can’t have a bad time at Cha Cha Cha! After all, restaurants don’t use exclamation points lightly.
For Fancy Eats:
568 Haight St.
For hipster chic, Italian eats and wine, this is your place. Set against exposed brick, wood accents, and warm lighting, this is a place to get cozy, drink vino, and escape from the bustle of real life.
815 Cole St.
Alright, so this is ice cream shop is technically in Cole Valley where it butts up against The Haight but it is worth taking a few extra steps. It’s known as a bomb dessert stop for a very good reason: they serve killer boozy milkshakes. Indulge your inner child while still getting carded to prove you’re an ADULT.
1480 Haight St.
If you really must get a picture with the Haight Ashbury street sign, you might as well grab a scoop while you’re there. The smell itself is intoxicatingly enticing after all.
Where to Drink (or drank)
1725 Haight St.
Pioneers of the craft cocktail movement, Alembic serves up tasty, inventive drinks along with tasty small plates. Perfect for first dates (and people watching.)
1568 Haight St.
The usually open, large windows in front create an open day drinking vibe at this chill sports bar on Haight street. they do a wicked Moscow Mule, tasty AF nachos, and there are often friendly pups inside. Also multiple TVs playing multiple games.
1840 Haight St.
Don’t let the outside fool you, this place has consistent fun acts, from stand up comedy to Reggae bands and everything in between. There’s also a photo booth, regular sitting booths, and solid cheap ish drinks.
1601 Haight St.
With Victorian decor, and over 100 rums from around the world to choose from, this place has old school charm and wanderlust vibes going for it. But the giant and tasty punch bowls keep this place SF relevant. A hit with tourists and locals, snag a seat if you can, pick your poison- er, punch, and chat up that cute stranger sitting next to you. I guarantee they will be more interesting than the barista at Starbucks you usually flirt with.
What to Do
Make like Macklemore and go Thrift shopping
Have you ever wished you could borrow your friends t shirt except she’s out of town? Or have you cleared out your closet only to realize all the money you’re losing by donating gently or never worn clothes? Buffalo Exchange is the glorious solution to that problem. They sell and trade clothes! As in your clothes, or your friends, or anyone who’s interested. You can sell them your clothes for 50% store credit for whatever value they buy them from you for, or 25% back in cash. Their clothes and shoes cover all styles, sizes and brands. The only risk here is buying more than you intended, and having too small of a closet.
Then head next door to repeat the process at Crossroads. The difference is that Crossroads buys and sells seasonally, so if you have fall boots that you just don’t love enough to hold on to, come fall bring them in to Crossroads and get cash or store credit back.
Then hit up Goodwill. Hey, don’t knock it till you try it! Goodwill has a bad rap, but it’s undeserving. Find your next pair of banging mom jeans, party heels, or cute clutch here for a very small price. Make sure to quality check, of course, but there are a lot of diamonds in the rough here if you know how and where to look. Pro tip: head to the men’s sweater section for oversized cardigans, and comfy sweatshirt or sweater dresses.
Go Upscale Chic at Ambiance
1458 Haight St.
Ever wanted your own personal stylist? Ambiance has you covered. Just tell them the event you’re shopping for, and your size and they will hand pick perfect items for you to try and buy. I’ve gotten several birthday dresses here and love the heck out of them. They also give a birthday discount, and a lot of their items are significantly discounted.
See it all from Buena Vista Park
Buena Vista and Haight
For the athletically inclined, don’t fret. In case the SF hills alone weren’t enough for you, take a hike up to Buena Vista Park to see some of the best views of SF (on a clear day…)
Make an Infinite Playlist at Amoeba Records
1855 Haight St.
One of the very few physical record shops in existence (thanks Spotify) Amoeba used to be a bowling alley but has been converted into a giant music store that also hosts live band shows. Spend some time browsing through aisles of records and CDs for your old school favorites, as well as the newer stuff. Amoeba has a little bit of everything for a little bit of everyone.
Have a Musical History Lesson
710 Ashbury St.
To mistake this for just another SF Victorian would be almost criminal. The Grateful Dead lived in this house in the 1960s and today it’s a historical landmark. Go pay your respects to rock n roll.
If you enjoyed this neighborhood guide, stay posted to find out what’s good in your SF ‘hood.
Check out these neighborhood guides:
- SF Third Wave Coffee Shops by Neighborhood
- 21 Essential SF Wine Bars By Neighborhood
- The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Day Drinking in San Francisco
- The Insomniac’s Guide to Late Night Haunts in San Francisco
Take a bite out of San Francisco with Insiders Club.
[featured image by Amna Al Nuaimi on instagram]