We knew from our past dealings with the electro-soul duo Cathedrals that, when it comes to all things San Francisco, they really know their shit. So when it came time to ask some friends for suggestions about what makes the town tick and the things they love about the vibrant city, naturally they were one of the first friends we rang up. Here, Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin tell us what they love about the city, how it's changed in recent years, and what to eat after a night of partying too hard.
What neighborhoods do you live in? What are some of your go to spots there?Jenkins: I live in NOPA (North of Panhandle)—also known as the Alamo Square or Western Addition neighborhood. The best spots to go to are the Mill or Matching Half for coffee, NOPA restaurant for drinks and amazing brunch/dinner, Bar Crudo for fresh delicious seafood, and 4505 Burgers and Meats for great BBQ. My favorite place to show for home décor and lovely vintage items is the Perish Trust, and Rare Device has great gifts and knick knacks like candles and cute cards. We have the amazing Bi-Rite Market, which is an adorable market with fresh produce, great wine, and famous ice cream as well.
What do you love about San Francisco?
Jenkins: I love it's weather, it's beauty and architecture, the proximity to ocean, mountains, or wine country within just a few hours. I love its food and its history and the diversity that I hope we can preserve as it goes through another wave of gentrification.
Hwin: The geography is pretty incredible. It's rare to have such a diverse urban center embedded within beautiful nature.
How has the city changed over the years?
Jenkins: The tech industry has brought a lot of young workers into the city, which is positive in that there are a lot of smart, interesting, ambitious young people my age everywhere you turn. The downside is the money from tech is causing rents to go up and making it less affordable for anyone not working in tech or finance to live here. I've seen my neighborhood gentrify over the seven years I've lived here, and there are wonderful aspects to that—great shops and restaurants, etc. But we are clinging to our rent-controlled apartment for sure.
Say we're visiting San Francisco for the first time. What are three food spots we should hit up before I leave?
Hwin: Dumpling Kitchen is my favorite place for xiaolongbao. Spend an afternoon at Dolores Park with a picnic blanket and a sandwich from Mission Picnic. Hit up Beretta for dinner and try any number of their delicious pizzas.
Jenkins: The farmers market at the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero on Saturdays is straight up magical. Get Bi-Rite ice cream on Dolores and Eighteenth, buy wine and snacks at its market, and then have a picnic in Dolores Park. Get a late night burger and cocktail at NOPA.
What should all visitors to San Francisco know before they come to town? What should they expect?
Jenkins: It gets cold! Wear layers!
Hwin: Yes, wear layers! It might be warm during the day, but the weather can turn on you in a dime.
Jenkins: There is so much more to the city than Fisherman's Wharf and the tourist spots. Explore Hayes Valley, the Mission, NOPA, and Cole Valley for amazing shops and restaurants. Live like the locals do!
You have one night out in SF to have a drink. Where you headed?
Jenkins: NOPA—the Summit cocktail is my fave.
Hwin: On a nice night out, check out the rooftop bar El Techo. Great tequila-based cocktails, a beautiful view of the city skyline, and heat lamps galore.
Anything else outsiders should know about San Francisco?
Jenkins: Relax, enjoy the food, see the ocean, drink wine. Take it slow! You will fall in love with our city.