Travel

San Francisco Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
Arlequin Wine Shop
384a Hayes St., Hayes Valley
This is an exceptionally well-stocked wine shop specializing in hard-to-find local and international spirits across all price points. Being that its something of a local secret, not many people are aware of the magical community garden out back, where you can drink any wine from the shop by the glass for a small corkage fee. There’s also a sweet little café right next door where you can snag a quick soup-and-salad lunch or pick up a to-go order.
Asha Tea House
2086 University Ave., Berkeley
The guys behind Asha are unabashedly obsessed with all varieties and types of tea. In fact, they're so into tea that they actually MacGyver-ed their own pour-over device that steeps their blends for the perfect amount of time; plus, you'll drink it out of a mug or cup specifically designed for your tea. The roomy space, with its tall ceilings and long linen lanterns, is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. The Berkeley flagship is a classic, though they just opened a second location Downtown.
Asha Tea House
17 Kearny St., Financial District
The guys behind Asha are unabashedly obsessed with all varieties and types of tea. In fact, they're so into tea that they actually MacGyver-ed their own pour-over device that steeps their blends for the perfect amount of time; plus, you'll drink it out of a mug or cup specifically designed for your tea. The roomy space, with its tall ceilings and light wood, is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. The Berkeley flagship is the original location.
Basik Cafe
1958 Polk St., Nob Hill
Basik got its start on the big island in Hawaii, where their original location is based (the Nob Hill store is actually their first location on the mainland), and from the staff to the menu, it definitely has an island vibe. The menu here offers souped-up acai bowls with add-ins like almond mylk, almond butter, bee pollen, and all kinds of fresh fruit, plus a full line-up of smoothies. Conveniently located on Polk Street, it's an easy stop before work or after a workout.
Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St., Mission
A decade ago, two Bi-Rite market pastry chefs spied a vacant space across the street from the iconic market and moved in their small-batch baking and ice cream operation. Staying true to the Bi-Rite mission, only organic local ingredients are used, resulting in some of the hands down best scoops (balsamic strawberry, honey lavender, mixed-berry coconut in the summer; earl grey, orange cardamom, maple walnut in winter), buffalo-milk soft serve, frozen cakes, sundaes, and popsicles in the country. A second location recently opened in Alamo Square, though sadly, no soft serve there.
Bi-Rite Creamery
550 Divisadero St., Alamo Square
A decade ago, two Bi-Rite Market pastry chefs spied a vacant space across the street from the iconic market and moved in their small-batch baking and ice cream operation. Staying true to the Bi-Rite mission, only organic local ingredients are used, resulting in some of the hands-down best scoops (balsamic strawberry, honey lavender, mixed-berry coconut in the summer; earl grey, orange cardamom, maple walnut in winter), buffalo-milk soft serve (only available in the original shop), frozen cakes, sundaes, and popsicles in the country. The original is in the Mission (and they have soft-serve).
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