Hayes Valley has become a very popular neighborhood. Centrally located, many attractions are within walking distance of Hayes Valley such as many theater, dance, and art venues or city hall at nearby Civic Center. Property values in Hayes Valley have gone up in recent years, where stylish flats and condos and many other unique homes are now available. Many popular restaurants are located throughout the neighborhood including award winning places such as Jardiniere and Zuni Cafe. Hayes Street is a popular area where a good selection of boutiques, bars, restaurants and more flourish.
Thought of finding one of San Francisco's ultra-chic corridors in Hayes Valley twenty years ago, would have been considered absurd. Like Times Square of old, New York City, the area, bordered by the Van Ness performing-arts district and the Western Addition around Laguna Street, was a seedy reminder to opera and symphony patrons of the city's homeless problem and and drug problems. But over the past twenty years, Hayes Valley has developed into a contemporary and comfortable vicinity for haute couture.
today the street's myriad window shoppers and restaurant-goers bring a colorful light to the area. There are trendy fashion boutiques, SoHo-style funky art galleries, high-end interior-decorating shops,and top-notch restaurants and hip nightspots.
Unlike other parts of San Francisco, Hayes Valley has managed to preserve a sense of community and a nonexclusive feel despite the expedited growth and high prices. Many of the shops sprouted up in the '90s, making the area a real destination spot. The area boasts a wide diversity of clientele. While high-end San Franciscans sip $7 cocktails at Absinthe, down the street many are powering down an entire meal for around the same price at Flipper's. Now, tourists visit specifically for the shopping.The success of Hayes Valley's current commercial district was boosted in part by the destruction caused by the 1989 earthquake to the Central Freeway, which had entrance ramps on Franklin and Gough streets. The freeway was an eyesore and created noise pollution that kept businesses and foot traffic away. Not long after that part of the freeway came down, the community began to grow and change, and healthy commerce moved in.
Octavia Boulevard & Hayes Green: Octavia Boulevard was recently widened and it replaces the demolished Central Freeway. In 2006 more affordable housing was in place and the median is being developed as a community park called the Hayes Green.
Bucheon Gallery: Bucheon exhibits include mixed media with contemporary art that changes every five weeks. The small gallery hosts an opening for each new art showing on Fridays, 6 pm to 8 pm. 389 Grove St., (415) 863-2891. (Web site)
Octavia's Haze Gallery: Glassworks of varying shapes, textures and colors line the interior of this corner shop. The works, all unique, are mainly produced by Bay Area, national and Italian artists. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 498 Hayes St., (415) 255-6818. (Web site)
Polanco: Mexican folk arts and fine arts, as well as antiques. Established Mexican artists are represented, as are young artists, mainly from Mexico City and Oaxaca. 393 Hayes St., (415) 252-5753.
RAG--Residents Apparel Gallery: RAG features more than 20 Bay Area designers, mostly focused on women's clothes, but men's options are available. Each designer rents floor space and can post a biography with the designs. 541 Octavia St., (415) 621-7718.
Absinthe Brasserie and Bar: The South of France-style brasserie offers a range of American-influenced French-Italian cuisine, like grilled halibut with tomato-zucchini gratin and salt-roasted potatoes. Diners can choose from informal or formal dining rooms, or can eat outside. Absinthe is a quiet neighborhood bistro. 388 Hayes St., it has its own entrance and bar. 398 Hayes St., (415) 551-1590. (Web site)
Arlequin: Combinations like fig balsamic vinaigrette or toasted-walnut fudge sauce merely whet the appetite. The Arlequin condiments are served on the café's sandwiches, such as turkey with roasted corn chutney, as well. Soups include cranberry bean with mascarpone, while dessert items such as basil sorbet equally please the palate. Everything at Arlequin is house-made -- the cookies, the biscottis and even the granola. 384 Hayes St., (415) 626-1211.
Blue Bottle Coffee Company: Blue Bottle sells its organic, small-batch-roasted, super-fresh beans and brew at this tiny outlet off the main drag. Blue Bottle's credo: it's quality, not quantity, that matters. 315 Linden St. (parallel to Hayes, near Gough), (510) 653-3394. (Web site)
Caffe delle Stelle: Caffe delle Stelle is one of the city's most satisfying Italian dining experiences. Inexpensive Tuscan-based pastas such as the pumpkin or asparagus ravioli and entrees like the crab-and-shrimp cannelloni with a light caper mustard sauce combine fresh ingredients in creative ways. 395 Hayes St., (415) 252-1110.
Canto do Brasil: Brazilian dishes, including fried yucca root, codfish croquettes and coconut flan. Pretty space, hefty portions at reasonable prices. 41 Franklin St. (between Oak and Page), (415) 626-8727.
Flipper's: A gourmet hamburger place. Many styles of burgers including the Taste of Russia, with sautéed mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese, the French Lovers, with melted feta and sautéed spinach and the Mediterranean Flavor, with eggplant, garlic and tomato. The flippers can be made with ground chuck, chicken breast, ground turkey, a garden-burger patty or tofu. 482 Hayes St., (415) 552-8880.
Hayes Street Grill: the Hayes Street Grill was the first neighborhood restaurant established in 1979, and the first major commercial business on Hayes Street. The bistro features a variety of basic but tasty grilled-fish dishes and the signature house-made whiskey-fennel sausages and crispy french fries. The crème br–leé is a hit.320 Hayes St., (415) 863-5545.
Jardiniere: California-French entrees such as Niman Ranch red-wine-braised short ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes or the duck-confit salad starter with pomegranates and toasted pistachios dominate the menu. Jardiniere belongs to restaurateur Pat Kuleto, who is responsible also for Boulevard and Farallon. 300 Grove St. (at Franklin Street), (415) 861-5555.
Patxi's: Chicago-style pizza restaurant offering salad and pizza. Deep dish is the specialty, though thin crust is also available. 511 Hayes St. (at Octavia), (415) 558-9991.
Sebo: Comfortable and stylish Japanese sushi that really shines. Try the maguro maki roll tuna with lemon, avocado and daikon sprouts; sweet, creamy uni and in-house seasoned mackerel, or omakase, the chef's five- or seven-course tasting menu.517 Hayes St. (near Octavia Blvd.), (415) 864-2122.
Stelline: Italian pastas and sauces like fusilli with sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, pine nuts, garlic and hot pepper or piccata, chicken breast with lemon wine and capers over pasta. California and Italian wines are the specialty. 330 Gough St., (415) 626-4292.
Suppenkuche: Suppenkuche serves traditional, hearty comfort food such as traditional German wiener schnitzel, pork chops and sausages. Zesty German beers such as Bitburger, Erdinger Dunkel, Weltenburger and Franziskaner add to the affair. Locals come early for dinner before the crowd gets too loud. 525 Laguna St. (at Hayes Street), (415) 252-9289. ( Web site)
Zuni Cafe: Hip local hangout. Roast chicken, hamburgers, Caesar salad and espresso granita are beyond compare. 1658 Market St. (near Franklin), (415) 552-2522.
The African Outlet: The African Outlet features folk art with every wall, including the corners, and every inch of ceiling spills with masks, statues, drums, woven fabrics, incense, clothes, beads, oils and books. Some valuable treasures, such as an Ethiopian prayer book written in the Geèz language, are displayed amid the piles of folk art. 524 Octavia St., (415) 864-3576.
Arlequin Wine Merchant: Specialty wine shop, a sister establishment of Absinthe Brasserie and Bar next door, carries smaller labels, from both California and abroad, that can't be found in other stores. Local wineries such as Elyse, Hendry and JC Cellars are represented. 384 Hayes St., (415) 863-1104. (Web site)
F. Dorian & Art Options: Ethnic art is the specialty here, including some imports from the 1800s and the early 1900s. Works hail from South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Some local and ethnic art, plus antiques and home decoration such as mobiles, glassware and ceramics, are also sold. 370 Hayes St., (415) 861-3191.
Flight 001: Globes, maps, watches and cosmetics are offered in a shopscape familiar to travelers. Luggage rests on platforms resembling weighing scales; the cashier's booth looks like a ticket counter; molded plywood fuselage fins add a vaguely nostalgic note to the hip design. (Web site) 525 Hayes St., (415) 487-1001.
Gaia Tree: Gaia Tree, a natural health and beauty salon, has two service rooms, one for massage and the other for skin care. Treatments include an Acupuncture Facelift, Swedish Deep Tissue Massage, and Sundari Herbal Aromatherapy Bliss. Gaia also carries body care products, ranging from the Epicurean line to stainless steel tongue cleaners.575 Hayes St., 415-255-4848. (Web site)
Lavish: This gift and home boutique carries featured items like soaps by Lucyland of Oakland, ceramics by Rae Dunn, linen table runners and aprons by Lotta Jansdotter of San Francisco and aluminum alloy containers from Lunares. 540 Hayes St., (415) 565-0540.
Peace Industry: Imported Iranian felt rugs. The line includes about 15 designs that can be customized in pattern, color and size up to 9 by 12 feet, plus about 26 vegetable dyes. 535 Octavia St. (at Ivy), (415) 255-9940. (Web site)
Shoppe Unusual: Art, clothing, jewelry and more, all made by local artists, fill the large space, which is also available for events. 345 Gough, (415) 522-2441. (Web site)
Tazi Designs: Custom design studio brings Moroccan mystique to San Francisco. An assortment of rugs, pillows, ceramics, furniture and intricate metal lanterns. 333 Linden St. (at Octavia), (415) 503-0013.
Yoga Tree: Yoga Tree offers a variety of yoga styles, everything from basic beginner's Hatha yoga to the more advanced Power Flow. There is even a Yoga for Seniors class. 519 Hayes St., (415) 626-9707.
Alla Prima: Alla Prima's fine lingerie allows for quite a variety of self-expression, with its racks full of silks, cottons, meshes and leather, courtesy mainly of European designers. The shop carries San Francisco, New York and other American designers as well. Prices range from $30 to $250 for a bra. Other items, like robes and swimsuits, are available as well. 539 Hayes St., (415) 864-8180.
Dark Garden: Dark Garden is for women partial toward wearing corsets. The women who run the shop specialize in hand-making corsets for dancers and trapeze artists as well as other costumes, and wedding dresses are their other main business. Hand-crafted corsets take six to eight weeks to complete, while wedding dresses require two to three months. The shop also carries jewelry and other accessories. 321 Linden St., (415) 431-7684. (Web site)
Dish: This women's-clothing store carries name designers from New York and L.A. Prices are moderate to upscale. 541 Hayes St., (415) 252-5997.
Haseena: Specialty dresses, sweaters, sportswear and lingerie all find space in Haseena, a women's clothing shop featuring items by popular young local designers. The back wall of candles emits a flowery scent as you rake through the racks. 526 Hayes St., (415) 252-1104.
Lava9: Lava9 specializes in custom-made leather jackets, which can range in price from $250 to $650. Oscar Leopold, Siena Studio and Reilly Olmes are just a few designers represented. Other leather items include purses and pocketbooks, belts and pants. 542 Hayes St., (415) 552-6468.
Mac: Mac ("Modern Apparel Clothing") adds a dash of art to its shop, which is decked out like a '70s New York loft: There is a rock garden in front with rocks fashioned out of spun wool, and large sculpture pieces in biomorphic shapes are located throughout the store. 387 Grove St., (415) 863-3011.
Nomads: Men's clothing store with brand names include Fred Perry, Vexel Bros. and Stussy, plus Gravis and Projekt shoes. N 556 Hayes St., (415) 864-5692.
Smaak: Smaak carries women's and men's clothes primarily from Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The designs range from simple to elegant, and many are in bold colors, such as Finnish orange-and-white polka-dot dresses. 528 Hayes St., (415) 503-1430.
Zeni: Zeni offers its own line of affordable, young-contemporary clothes, as well as garments and sunglasses from top designers such as Gigli, Dita and Armand Basi. Clothes are cut to order. 567 Hayes St., (415) 864-0154.
Place Pigalle: Boutique wines and microbrews, as well as the homey atmosphere. Both the front and back rooms offer comfortable couch seating, and the back room features a pool table and installations from local artists, which change monthly. The choice of music depends on the mood of the bartender. 520 Hayes St., (415) 552-2671. (Web site)
Rickshaw Stop: . The crowd and the mood is somewhere between indie-rock hipster and downtown dot-com, but it's all good, fine and down-home friendly. Dating from 1927, the space was formerly a commercial soundstage and before that an auto garage, but the Rickshaw crew has done a fantastic job transforming it into a funky, warm, arty and altogether inviting hangout. (Kurt Wolff) 155 Fell St., (415) 861-2011. (Web site)