Despite all the ups and downs in 2011, San Francisco has seen quite a few new stores open this year. Here are some of our favorite new local spots.
Best New High End Women’s Boutique in Pac Heights: Curve
With locations in LA, New York and Miami, the Victorian building formerly housing Belmont Florist and Kiehl’s on Fillmore Street is the San Francisco’s location of high-end women’s boutique Curve. An exclusive San Francisco stockist of Balmain, Mugler, Christopher Kane and Viktor & Rolf, and with a roster of brands like Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant, Genetic Denim, Helmut Lang, Burberry and Jean Paul Gaultier, Curve is not for bargain hunters. It is, however, for women shopping for investment pieces of high fashion to keep them “ahead of the curve.”
Best New High End Menswear Shop: MAAS & Stacks
MAAS & Stacks is an ideal destination for men who prefer a modern but vintage-inspired, slim-fit tailored look. Sharply cut oxford button-ups, waxed parkas, flawless brogues, blazers and slim-fit trousers, denim and chinos are common fare here. There are several Japanese brands (White Mountaineering and Master-piece), as well as Japanese-inspired (wings+horns). Other brands include Norse Projects, Band of Outsiders, Patrick Ervell, Our Legacy and Rachel Comey.
Best Newly Relocated Kitchen Boutique: Pot + Pantry
Pot + Pantry’s new location just up the street from Tartine Bakery & Café and around the corner from
Bi-Rite Market is perfect for the “kitchen boutique” of new and gently used wares. It’s also an expansion from the original 180-square-foot location in Noe Valley that opened last fall. Though the shop carries Le Creuset and Calphalon, the gems are things like vintage eggbeaters and whisks, pretty dinnerware from the Netherlands, stylish cloth coasters and napkins that look just at home in a fashion spread, cake stands and other accouterments in teak and a to-die-for pig-shaped maple cutting board.
Best New Barbershop/Men’s Boutique Combo: F.S.C. Barber / Freemans Sporting Club
A new bastion of men’s fine grooming, the San Francisco outpost of New York establishment F.S.C. Barber offers walk-in barber treatments as well as a discerning clothing boutique. From the “hangover remedy” (a rose water and eucalyptus-infused shave with neck and hand massage) to straight-razor shaves and beard trims, the variety of services can be supplemented with fine selections from the apothecary and Freemans Sporting Club clothing and accessories.
Best New Men’s/Women’s Boutique and Coffee Shop in One: ACRE/SF
Sister store to Hayes Valley’s Acrimony, ACRE/SF sits in a space on a steep hill in North Beach previously occupied by an Italian deli. Men’s and women’s clothing from Nudie Jeans, Cheap Monday, Laugh Cry Repeat, Pvblic, Rachel Comey and more can be found here. Store employees model the clothing and are known to give honest opinions. The Blue Bottle coffee, pastries and Its-It ice cream treats add to the chic vibe amid edgy styles.
Best New Bike Shop: Huckleberry Bicycles
The location is a no-brainer for commuters who ride on Market Street, and those who stop by weekday mornings can take advantage of the free repair service offered at Huckleberry’s kiosk in front of the shop. True bike experts and enthusiasts, the shop owners take great pride in service and stock. There’s a growing collection of stylish clothing that’s designed for cycling but goes seamlessly from bike to office to gallery opening, bags in a variety of styles and whatever one might need for bike maintenance.
Best New Cow Hollow Women’s Boutique + Gallery: RGB
If the shop name doesn’t give it away, RGB on Fillmore Street at Union Street is a place for lovers of bright color and bold pattern. From Kris Nations jewelry to hats and accessories by Eugenia Kim, Matt Bernsons shoes to styles by local imprint Darkness+Dawn, Sacha London pointy and peep-toe flats and heels to all kinds of cheeky handbags and designy housewares, RGB is filled with goodies. The frequent events and exhibitions featuring local designers, artists, photographers and illustrators don’t hurt either.
Best New Merino Wool Adventure Apparel Shop: Icebreaker
San Francisco’s outpost of New Zealand’s merino wool clothing company opened its first phase (retail space) in November. Rather than the synthetics so prevalent in outdoor clothing, Icebreaker revolves around natural merino wool from sheep. Says VP of Product and Creative Director Rob Achten: “The aim is to create styles so light and unrestrictive that people feel as free as if they’re wearing nothing at all.” Sporty folk and city-dwellers will find value in Icebreaker’s merino layering system developed in the snowy mountains of New Zealand for all types of sports and activities. Just because it’s merino doesn’t mean it’s thick and wooly; merino is actually extolled for its breathability and odorlessness in sweaty situations. Even Orlando Bloom is a fan, having been photographed shopping in the Wellington location while in New Zealand to shoot The Hobbit.
Best New Women’s High End Consignment Clothing Shop: Sui Generis Illa
For those of us that can’t afford brand new Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Alexander McQueen, Versace, Gucci and the like, Sui Generis Illa is a godsend. Well-known for their high-end men’s consignment (http://www.sfstation.com/sui-generis-ille-mens-boutique-b266108), the gentlemen behind Sui Generis moved the men’s boutique to a larger space a few doors down in February, and opened the women’s boutique in the original location. Up-and-coming designers like Andrew Wedge and Sergio Davila are also featured. Sui Generis is known for their focus on high-end designers, superior garment condition and selective curation.
Best New Combo Retail Experience: Voyager
This 2,000-square-foot space is a retail/gallery collaboration between Lower Haight’s Revolver, Mollusk Surf Shop, Spartan and the Michael Rosenthal Gallery. Each of the four businesses operates a section of the space, Mollusk’s built to emulate the interior of a submarine, and Revolver’s designed and built by Adam Lam out of wood from a Bolinas farmhouse. The Revolver at Voyager section houses clothing and accessories from brands including their own in-house line and some not found at the Lower Haight store. Mollusk’s sub room houses ocean-themed clothing and of course boards. Spartan, whose main storefront is in Austin, Texas, supplies beautifully designed practical objects and accessories. There’s also a mini bookstore, art and lots of treasures to peruse.
Tags: Best of 2011, shopping