Being the diverse, liberal, and green-conscious city it is, San Francisco is home to many amazing vintage, thrift, and unique shops. The Bay Area has an exciting history full of grassroots movements, collective spiritual awareness, and an appreciation for back-to-the-land living. Add to that this city’s nurturing environment for art and creativity and you can begin to understand why we want to have more San Fransisco in our Krrbin’ lives. A city that hosts a hippy love fest during The Summer of Love, energizes dot com entrepreneurs, fosters musicians like Janis Jopiln and Tupac, amplifies spokesmen like Harvey Milk, and offers a hearth to food pioneer, Alice Waters? Oh yes please!
“San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.” – William Saroyan Author
Combing through the nets and working with a couple Krrbmeisters on the SF ground, we’re highlighting just some of our favorites, which turned out to be a hard feat what with so much superness happening. So sit back and check out what this artwork of a city has to offer.
Gravel and Gold
Gravel and Gold is located in San Fran’s Mission, a hood with a tale of transformation that elicits appreciation for the new and a revel in for the past. Now, it’s a mish-mosh of original taquerias and 99-cent stores along side hipster bars and pricey lofts.
You’ll find everything from one of a kind chachkis, vintage kimonos, and beautiful books to unique jewelry, crafty ceramics, notebooks and diaries, at this tiny yet adorable store. Owned by 3 lovely ladies, Gravel and Gold dabbles in things other than just stylishly outfitting your life with good design and well made stuffs. This summer, you can grab your local grub at Gravel and Gold because every Wednesday they are a pick up site for the CSA for Eatwell Farm’s. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays you can pick up your pre-ordered homemade bread by Josey Baker (actual name). nomnomnom.
Get your vintage by the pound. How much fun is that?? And you won’t be swimming through disorganized, dusty heaps either. The store is bright and orderly, perfect for sifting through their quality pieces from the 50’s on through the 80’s. There are some items that are specially priced and therefore don’t count towards your poundage, but they make up for that by offering a 99 cent rack. Cha-ching!
473 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: The Mission
This special store is outfitted like the cozy home of some wood-lander who has a fine appreciation for things past. Vintage typewriters, old magazines, antique fixtures, records and plants, old and new photography and art, furniture and clothes, random items with a nod towards that old-timey-wild-west-cowboy-saloon meets cabin-with-a-fireplace-and-bear-skin-rug-in-the-woods kinda feel. It’s time to get cozy. Downstairs is a little stage for local poets, comedians and musicians where anyone in need of a soapbox can perform to a semi-regular crowd.
No. 389 is a stylish and sparse space that sells vintage clothes, records and 8-tracks. They also host events like the recent opening for Prism Vision, a show from the San Francisco Center for the Book. Their website is a wonderfully cryptic display of virtually nothing, and their blog is a collection of real and vintage images with no clear connection, some of them bizarre but all exemplifying their brand. Quite intriguing. Check out the blog at ohnonotno.blogspot.com.
389 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94113
Neighborhood: The Mission
Offering a blend of unusual, unique, one-of-a-kind vintage, antique and new home furnishings and accessories, Harrington Galleries has a large space for you to peruse it all. They also have you covered in supplies and hardware for installing and maintaining your finds – a one stop shop, if you will. The company, which is over 40 years old also takes your stuff for sale on consignment, and provides expertise on appraisal and estate liquidation. They’ll also temporarily outfit a movie set with their prop rental service, having helped to decorate the sets of the film, Milk, the TV show Trauma, and the 2 recently-made Kerouac films, On The Road and Big Sur. Is this a trend?
The up-and-coming hood that is cunningly renamed NOPA by developers, real estate agents and new comers, but lovingly known as The Panhandle or even Alamo Square by its longer-term residents, is slowly filling up with gentrifiers and delicious restaurants. If you’re looking for a touch of the old, check out Cookin’ which has been around for 40 years.
You’ll love it or hate it. Either way, Cookin’ is going to elicit some emotion from you. Owned and operated by the same people since its beginning, Cookin’ is filled to the brim with used cooking and baking supplies. You’ll find utensils, pots and pans (even Le Cruset), and much more. Beware, you will have to clean and de-dust everything you carry out of that store, including yourself because this is a fusty gem at its best – but that’s part of its charm, isn’t it? The owners and staff also offer a unique perspective on customer service in that there’s absolutely none. Don’t go to Cookin’ if you need advice or questions answered or looking for a chat in this thrift store-meets-Williams Sonoma, because you won’t be getting one. You’ll sooner get a swift kick in the fanny as you’re lead out the door. However, the owner will pull out of the thick air, whatever vintage thing-a-majig your granny served butter in that you are looking to re-introduce into your kitchen repertoire. Just ask. But do it quickly and do it orderly.
339 Divisadero St,
San Francisco, CA 94117
Neighborhood: The Panhandle aka NOPA aka Alamo Square
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This proud Brooklyn girl fell a little bit in love with San Fran as she was writing this article, but she also knows that there are so many other gems out in the Bay… Please school us! Who are we missing? Who should get our collective attention, who needs the love? Who *wants* the love. Leave it in the comments.
Top image courtesy of San Francisco Street Art.
Gravel and Gold images courtesy of their website, gravelandgold.com.
Viracocha images courtesy of their website, viracochasf.com
Cookin images courtesy of, from left to right: thekitchn, newengandeating.wordpress, thekitchn, and Calamity_Hane on flickr.
Harrington Galleries images courtesy of their website, harringtongalleries.com and their facebook page.
Clothes Contact images courtesy of vogue.co.jp
NO. 389 Valencia St images courtesy of their website, ohnonotno.com.