Due to its progressive attitude and proximity to Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is ripe for hosting cool, new businesses.
From a pirate supply store to bacon-centric eats we found the 21 most intriguing and innovative new businesses in San Francisco. We looked for businesses that opened in the last five years that bring something new to the San Francisco scene.
Know a cool business we missed? Let us know in the comments.
What it is: A general store for pirates and pirate enthusiasts.
Why it's cool: A whimsical storefront for non-profit writing-tutoring center 826 Valencia, the 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store sells everything you need to pillage and plunder.
Here you'll find glass eyes, hooks, beard extensions, treasure chests, mermaid bait, and more dastardly products. Sales benefit 826 Valencia.
205A Frederick St.
What it is: A bacon-centric food truck and cafe.
Why it's cool: Bacon Bacon comes in the form of a food truck and a brick-and-mortar restaurant. And both serve, yep -- you guessed it -- all things bacon.
The Bacon Bacon Truck rolls around San Francisco distributing six bacon-friendly sandwiches, including a pork meatball banh mi and grilled cheese, as well as french fries and root beer. Bacon Bacon also sells a bacon bouquet and chocolate-covered bacon.
What it is: An urban 'hybrid' grocery store.
Why it's cool: Canyon Market leads the growing trend of hybrid grocery stores. This means that the market offers natural and regular groceries, as well as specialty lines that are tailored for the store's Glen Park neighbourhood.
The market has everything you could want in a grocery store: It host events, has in-store tastings, seasonal offerings, prepared foods -- a very wide selection to meet your shopping needs.
What it is: A fantastical store and studio devoted to crafts.
Why it's cool: Castle in the Air sells elegant crafts, stationery, stamps, and pens and inks for craft-loving grownups and sophisticated and artistic kids. The Berkeley shop also has a studio where visitors can take printmaking, letterpress printing, calligraphy, and other classes.
What it is: San Francisco's first cat cafe.
Why it's cool: After two successful pop-up cat cafes, Cat Town Cafe, a collaboration between non-profit cat shelter Cat Town and Adam Myatt (also known as The Cat Man of West Oakland) opened on October 25. The cafe serves hot and cold beverages and pastries.
Six to 12 cats from the Cat Town will rotate through the cafe at a time, giving customers (and cats) the opportunity to cuddle and socialize. All the cats at the cafe will be available for adoption.
What it is: A clothing store with a conscience.
Why it's cool: Founder Randy Brewer, a seasoned buyer, wanted to open a clothing store that didn't skimp on sustainability or style. All of the brands at Convert must first meet the store's sustainability production standards and, passing that test, must be plenty fashionable.
Convert recently opened a shoe store in Berkeley that will offer a selection of vegan footwear as well as made-in-America products.
What it is: A bar and digital art gallery that hosts twice-weekly video game showdowns.
Why it's cool: Folsom Street Foundry, a wine and beer bar and event venue, is a favourite of San Franciscans for its huge space and industrial lounge-like atmosphere.
Recently the Foundry started hosting massive video game competitions every Tuesday and Thursday night, where 200 or more people gather and watch gamers face off in Hearthstone, StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros. Gamers are also welcome to bring their own games.
What it is: A vegan and non-vegan small batch frozen treats truck.
Why it's cool: Owner Erin Lang, who grew up in Hawaii, recreated some of the sweet, Asian-inspired frozen treats of her childhood when she started Garden Creamery.
Lang's treats start with a vegan or non-vegan ice cream or sorbet base (popular flavours include black sesame, Japanese milk coffee, and Thai tea), which gets enjoyed by itself, sandwiched between cookies, or stuck on a stick and dipped in a variety of chocolate shells to make Garden Creamery's famous semifreddo pops.
What it is: A modern boutique hotel and art gallery.
Why it's cool: Dubbed an 'artful retreat,' the hip Hotel Palomar, in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District, doubles as an art gallery. The hotel hosts a rotating selection of art from nearby museums. Artists featured range from local San Francisco-based artists to well known greats like Marc Chagall.
The hotel also offers guests nice perks, like free wine tastings every night.
What it is: Hotel inspired by Japanese culture.
Why it's cool: The moment you enter Hotel Tomo, you're surrounded by Japanese culture from the art on the walls to the flat screens playing anime films and Japanese TV shows. The guest rooms were designed by the famous Japanese pop artist Heisuke Kitazawa, and each have yoga mats so guests can clear their minds and enjoy a peaceful stay.
What it is: Home cooked meals provided by your neighbours.
Why it's cool: Residents of East Bay can apply to cook for others on Josephine.com, or they can go online and see what their neighbours are cooking up for dinner. Cooks post what meals they're preparing for a specific night, and charge a price per plate. Local 'neighbours' can go online or use the app to RSVP and reserve a meal.
Once your order is in you'll be notified where to pick up your dinner.
What it is: Part surf shop, part surf-inspired art gallery.
Why it's cool: In California, surfing is more than just a hobby, it's a lifestyle. Mollusk sells everything a surfer might need, from boards to apparel to gear.
Here you'll also find books and movies for the surf-obsessed, as well as artwork that embodies the sport. Mollusk has two other locations in the Los Angeles area.
What it is: A curio shop for kids.
Why it's cool: Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids is a children's toy store dedicated to letting children explore and learn through their toys. What makes this toy shop unique is that all of the toys are 'inspired by the predigital era.' You can really feel a sense of nostalgia when you walk in the store so you can share your favourite childhood toys with your own children.
What it is: A place for burgers, beer, bowling, and bocce, all under one roof.
Why it's cool: Overlooking the Bay, Plank is the ultimate adult playground offering fun games, delicious eats, and a variety of drinks.
The outdoor patio has bocce ball courts and a beer garden with over 50 local beers to choose from. The indoor space boasts 18 bowling lanes, 40 HDTVs, and interactive video games. Plank is perfect for hosting events, a night out, or watching the big game.
What it is: A new take on the classic Jewish deli.
Why it's cool: This 'newish delicatessen' is the brainchild of deli master Adam Mesnick, who wanted to bring his beloved, Jewish childhood foods from Cleveland to San Francisco. And in doing so, he put a hip, San Franciscan spin on the oldies. Take the classic pastrami sandwich, for example: Mesnick makes his with Romanian pastrami and his homemade tysyacha -- a sauce made of Russian dressing, Cleveland mustard, horseradish, and chopped dill pickle -- on rye.
What it is: A French bakery with a Japanese twist.
Why it's cool: Owner and pastry chef Mutsumi Takehara had a vision for a cafe catered toward kids -- a place where parents and their children could enjoy yummy snacks while they play. Takehara made her dream a reality with Sandbox Bakery. The bakery offers small, baked-fresh-daily snacks; adults can sit with a coffee from Ritual or De La Paz coffee while the kids hang out and draw on the community chalkboard wall.
What it is: A digital personal shopping service.
Why it's cool: Stitch Fix gives you your own personal stylists without you having to leave home. Go online and fill out a style profile, which Stitch Fix stylists use to curate a selection of five items that are then mailed to you. You pay for what you keep, and return (free of charge) the stuff you don't want.
Stitch Fix takes the hassle out of shopping and introduces you to styles that may be a little outside of your comfort zone. The more you use the service, the more the stylists can better curate your monthly 'Fix. On top of everything, if you keep all five items you get 25% off of your order.
What it is: A worker-owned and operated pizzeria and cheese shop.
Why it's cool: Cheese Board embodies California's hippy-dippy spirit with its laid back vibe, rocking live music, and democratic management (every employee gets an equal vote in business decisions).
A favourite of Berkeley students, Cheese Board serves just one type of pizza each week with locally sourced toppings, artisanal cheeses, and sourdough baguette dough. It also does (what else?) cheese boards.
What it is: A bakery and cafe that makes incredible artisanal toast.
Why it's cool: As the name implies, The Mills makes its own flour to use in its delicious sourdough bread, which is baked fresh daily and then sliced up into thick-cut pieces of artisanal toast. Each piece of toast costs $US4 and is slathered with delicious toppings, like butter and housemade peach jam, butter and cinnamon sugar, or housemade Nutella.
What it is: An all-sour craft brewery.
Why it's cool: The guys behind The Rare Barrel only brew sour beer because that's what they like to drink. It's a way of making beer that's becoming a growing trend in the craft community not only for the time and attention it requires to brew, but because of its history and, of course, its flavour.
The Rare Barrel takes advantage of the trend while experimenting with other ingredients like ginger, hibiscus, and sour cherries.
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