San Francisco

 

The Dancer Guide To Hayes Valley

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson)
 

If you’re planning on coming to see our Nutcracker at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, there are so many ways to make a perfect day, afternoon, or evening of it in the our beautiful neighborhood of Hayes Valley. So who better than our dancers themselves to guide you there with their expert tips?

* = Dancer super-favorite!

For Coffee

  • Blue Bottle Coffee 315 Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Photo: Clay McLachlan/Claypix.com

    "Hands down, Blue Bottle is the best coffee and lucky for me it's right around the corner from the Ballet. There's nothing like a good cup of coffee before the show and this is my favorite go-to spot."

    Rebecca Rhodes, corps de ballet

For Lunch

  • 20th Century Cafe 198 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy 20th Century Cafe

    “I love the vintage decor of this café: the marble countertops, metallic exposed kitchen, and styled lighting fixtures make it super cute and enjoyable to sit in. They have great coffee, a small lunch menu, and lots of unique Russian-inspired sweet treats! It's a perfect spot before a matinee or even after, since they’re open until 6pm.”

    Jordan Hammond, corps de ballet

  • Chez Maman * 401 Gough St. San Francisco CA, 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Chez Maman

    “They have a wide variety of food selections, and everything on the menu is excellent. They serve your food quickly, but make sure you get there early since they don’t accept reservations.”

    Shannon Rugani, corps de ballet

    “They offer lots of great French dishes--my favorite being the Salad Niçoise with salmon.”

    Sasha De Sola, soloist

For Sweet Treats

  • Miette 449 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    © 2001-11, Frankenyimages.com

    “Not only is it the cutest candy shop, but Miette has the best cakes, cupcakes, homemade caramels, and the widest variety of candy in the city! It is the only bakery in the world that uses all organic ingredients for their products. That is where I splurge on sweets during the holiday season!”

    Shannon Rugani, corps de ballet

  • Smitten 432 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Smitten

    “Delicious ice cream in imaginative flavors, made to order. They’re also open until 10pm or later for a post-Nutcracker treat.”

    Gaetano Amico, corps de ballet

For Shopping

  • Lavish * 508 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Lavish

    “So cute, and full of cards and scented candles perfect in time for the holidays. Has the appeal of Anthropologie—but on a smaller scale!”

    Jordan Hammond, corps de ballet

    “Perfect for girly gifts, with pretty clothes, accessories, and cute things for the house.”

    Alex McCullagh Newman, corps de ballet

  • Azalea 411 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Azalea

    “A great boutique for both men and women, with diverse brands. I also like their all-menswear spinoff boutique, Welcome StrangerM across the street.”

    Gaetano Amico, corps de ballet

  • California Made Mercantile (formerly RAG SF) 541 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy California Made Mercantile

    “Great gifts made from local artists, many of which focus around an SF theme.”

    Alex McCullagh Newman, corps de ballet

  • Bibliohead Bookstore 334 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Bibliohead Bookstore

    “You can spend a long time here browsing their eclectic collection—plus it’s open surprisingly late (9pm on weekdays, 8pm on weekends.)”

    Steven Morse, corps de ballet

For People Watching

  • Patricia’s Green 300 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Patricia’s Green

    “A beautiful green space in the middle of Hayes Valley. Perfect for sipping coffee or enjoying takeout, and watching the world (and their dogs) go by. There’s also a sweet little playground for children, as well as an intriguing art installation in the center. Something for everybody!”

    Rebecca Rhodes, corps de ballet

  • Absinthe * 398 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Absinthe

    “This place has great food and drink. Bring a coat so you can enjoy one of the cozy outside tables out front on Hayes Street and watch the neighborhood in motion.”

    Gaetano Amico, corps de ballet

For Pre-Nutcracker Dinner

  • Opera House Café 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Opera House Café

    “It’s always a good idea anyway to get to the War Memorial Opera House early when you come to see Nutcracker—it’s beautifully decorated for the holidays, and you can relax without rushing to make the performance! If you want to make it super-convenient, you can eat here too—there’ll be a special Nutcracker buffet available two hours before every performance with a reservation. There’s also “Candyland”, inspired by Nutcracker’s “Land of Sweets,” that offers chocolates and candies next to the Ballet Shop one hour before all performances.”

    Steven Morse, corps de ballet

  • Arlequin * 384 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Arlequin

    “My pre-show pit stop, 9 times out of 10! I am all about ambiance when it comes to dining, and Arlequin's wood floors, bright windows, and outdoor patio are wonderful—make sure to dress cozy and warm if you want to sit outside. Try their seasonal soups, like pumpkin and butternut squash, and the best “Dirty Chai” latte in all of Hayes Valley, hands down.”

    Jordan Hammond, corps de ballet

    “If it is warm enough, I like to come here and sit outside in the garden. Pro-tip: grab your glass of wine from their sister wine shop next store, Arlequin Wine Merchant! They are happy to let you enjoy it out back with your food from Arlequin.”

    Alex McCullagh Newman, corps de ballet

  • Boxing Room 399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Boxing Room

    “Their food is delicious and fun. It’s a great place for family night (they have very large tables for big groups) or an intimate date night. My husband loves the beers on tap and I love the wines on tap. Try the fried alligator: a fun and delicious treat that you don't see often on menus!”

    Shannon Rugani, corps de ballet

  • Bar Jules 609 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Bar Jules

    “Pre-show dinner for me is definitely this place. Small, intimate, and fantastic!”

    “Pre-show dinner for me is definitely this place. Small, intimate, and fantastic!”

For Post-Nutcracker Drinks

  • Jardiniere * 300 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Jardiniere

    “They have a fantastic selection of cocktails and wine, as well as one of the best bar menus in the neighborhood (their hamburgers are to die for!) You also can’t beat the location—it’s right across the street from the War Memorial Opera House.”

    Shannon Rugani, corps de ballet

    “It’s where all the regulars and performers converge after the show. The lounge is comfortable and big.”

    Luke Willis, corps de ballet

  • Hotel Biron 45 Rose St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit website
    Image courtesy Hotel Biron

    “One of my favorite places for post-show drinks. They have a great wine selection that you can pair with a delicious cheese plate. The ambiance is great too, lots of exposed brick and candlelight.”

    Sasha De Sola, soloist

Do you have a favorite spot to visit when you come to the ballet? Tell us in the comments!

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