I did not set out to visit the Haight on a recent jaunt into SF - my plan was to see the Balenciaga exhibit at the de Young - which was terrific, and then move onto a restaurant I have been wanting to try in the Western Addition. But that restaurant was booked and I veered off course a bit.
When I came to the SF Bay Area over 20 years ago, I was very fascinated by the Haight Ashbury. Largely due to the fact that as a teen I devoured any and all information I could find about the "summer of love". Books, movies, music - you name it - I loved it and it made we want to move here.
Shortly after I arrived, my husband and I got into riding vintage Vespas, wearing vintage clothes and sipping classic cocktails at this place. We spent hours just roaming in and out of all the unique shops, having breakfast at the Pork Store and relaxing in Golden Gate park.
Years passed, we moved out of San Francisco and setup house in the East Bay, had a couple of kids and I realized we had precious little time for roaming around any neighborhood - especially one as frenetic as the Haight.
But this visit made me realize the only thing you need to turn frenetic into fascinating again is a well-curated plan or a willingness to just wing it.
Either way Magnolia Pub and Brewery is well worth a visit. This is NOT your typical pub - they say that right on their menu.
It is a very vibrant and warm space filled with an eclectic crowd - just as you would expect in this neighborhood. They brew their own artisan ales on site and source an incredible array of fresh, sustainable ingredients for their hardy menu items. Try the house made sausage and beach fries which are seasoned to perfection with Old Bay spices. You might want to go on $3 Tuesdays when all pints are just $3 all day and night.