Travel

Hayes Valley

Establishment neighborhood
Gallery Wendi Norris
8 Octavia St., Hayes Valley
Wendi Norris runs one of the most cutting-edge, meticulously curated galleries in San Francisco. Norris spent ten years in tech before pivoting to the art world. Her gallery represents a wide span of contemporary and modern creatives, focusing on Latinx surrealists like Leonora Carrington. To follow the gallery’s roster of artists is a commitment, given Norris’s penchant for site-specific exhibits across cities other than San Francisco.
Intu On
458 Grove St., Hayes Valley
Operated by a Night + Market alum, Thai pop-up Intu On brings spicy, explodes-with-flavor energy to Hayes Valley. This weekly pop-up moves around (follow them on Instagram to keep up), but you’ll usually find Intu On at Birba Wine Bar on Sundays. Must order: The shrimp toast. Why? A thick slice of milk bread, spread with a silky shrimp-and-pork mousse and topped with pickled chiles, is the perfect intro to the spicy, tangy Isaan-style food Intu On excels at. Image courtesy of Erin Ng.
Birba
458 Grove St., Hayes Valley
Birba feels like a slice of Copenhagen, or maybe Stockholm. The aesthetic is pared-back, blonde-wood-everywhere minimalism. It’s cool…like, really cool. The booze list leans toward natural, biodynamic bottles from small, primarily French and Italian producers. The sherry and vermouth list is expansive. For those looking to abstain from alcohol, Birba’s Seedlip spritz tastes like sparkling summer in a glass, especially when enjoyed on the pretty patio. This small bar hosts regular food pop-ups, and currently, you’ll find Intu-On, a Thai concept worth driving for.
The Epicurean Trader
465 Hayes St., Hayes Valley
Never has a name been more suited to a business. Epicurean Trader is exactly what you’d expect: a trader of small-batch, artisanal food goods, and then some. Every item within this gem box store is hand-selected and conjures images of wicker baskets stuffed with cheese and bread. If you’re planning a picnic, buy everything, right down to the salt (it’s Jacobsen’s), here. We especially love the gourmet kits, which here are curated by personality. (Who wouldn’t want to receive a sustainably packed box filled with olive oil, spices, sea salt, locally roasted coffee beans, and small-batch honey?) While many of the products are available online, visiting the stores—there are three of them—is an experience. The wildflower bouquets are exquisite, the interior is beautifully merchandized, and the bakery counter is a sweet dream. Store images courtesy of Leslie Santarina.
Kristina Holey
864 Post St., Hayes Valley
Any facialist worth their salt can make you glow after a treatment, but Kristina Holey’s aim is to bring skin into long-term balance. This means that each treatment begins with a thorough dissection of eating habits, skin-care routine, and general lifestyle and ends with a detailed homework assignment for everyday maintenance. There’s no menu at her airy, laid-back studio; the one and a half to two hours she spends with clients are completely customized, though all include a rousing face massage, as well as broths meant to calm and strengthen skin from within.
Cala
149 Fell St., Hayes Valley
Mexico City native Gabriela Camara has gained trailblazing status for her California-meets-Mexico fare (think: prawns in chile guajillo broth and crab tostadas with napa cabbage and habanero). Always bustling for dinner, the Hayes Valley hotspot is also a mainstay for lunch (its adjacent standing room taqueria is open daily from 11am-2pm). While the food is reason enough to come, it's worth noting the interiors—industrial and light-filled—are beautiful.
Petit Crenn
609 Hayes St., Hayes Valley
Paying homage to her ancestral roots, Dominique Crenn's second (and slightly less experimental) restaurant emphasizes fresh seafood dishes—mussels and clams with garlic and saffron—and a great selection of French wines. The bright, cozy space is white, crisp, and just a touch nautical, with lights dangling from raw rope built-in bench seating decorated with light pillows. Unless you want to eat at the first come first serve bar, try to make a reservation well in advance. The menu is prix fixe—but it's totally worth it.
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