WI TH I TS DIVERSE mix of bars, shops, restaurants, longtime establishments and exciting newcomers, Polk Street is easily the liveliest and most dynamic thoroughfare in Russian Hill. Getting its name from the 11th president of the United States, James Knox Polk, the t wo-mile street has changed signifi- cantly in atmosphere over the past 50 years. In the 1960s and ’70s — before
the Castro reigned as the city’s major gay locale — Polk Street held the distinction. Only one ves-
tige of that era remains: the Cinch Saloon (the second oldest surviving gay bar in San Francisco),
bet ween Washington and Clay streets. Today the neighborhood vibe is upscale yet eclectic, with
specialty boutiques, intimate watering holes and fine-dining eateries dotting the street. We’ll
home in on the stretch that’s closer to Marin, bet ween Vallejo and Filbert streets. KASIA PAWLOWSKA
CIT Y STREETS
In Marin / CURRENTS
WHILE YOU’RE THERE Beyond our map, wander down and nab a steering wheel–size
doughnut at Bob’s (open 24 hours, at 1621 Polk Street) and check out all the nearby
consignment stores, including Polk A Dot, Cris Consignment and ReLove.
WHERE TO PARK Street parking is metered and can be a bit
dicey; if you can’t find a space try Express Parking garage at
1650 Jackson or the Lombardi Parking Garage at 1600 Jackson.
PARLOR MINI SPA
Launched last January by
Corte Madera’s Michelle
Clark, this spa offers
quick (but not rushed)
FERME A PAPIER Cat Seto,
a San Francisco–based
designer and illustrator,
opened this stationery
shop that also sells candles,
calendars and other goods.
TONIC Wednesday night trivia,
guest bartending opportunities,
creative cocktails and weekly
specials keep this bar full every
SAINT FRANK COFFEE
Founded in 2013 by Kevin
Bohlin (formerly of Ritual
Roasters), this two-level
coffeehouse delivers single-origin pour-overs in a bright,
Mill Valley’s Roland Passot, a James Beard Best Chef
in California winner, opened this establishment in 1988.
He later opened Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur as a
casual alternative. lafolie.com
in 1993, this family-owned
bookstore offers new
and used books, games,
cards, gifts and more.
russianhillbookstore.com ROYAL OAK Since 1975, the cash-only
bar has been delivering competitively
priced drinks in a cozy atmosphere of
plush velvet sofas, Tiffany lamps and ferns.
LES CENT CULO T TES Parisian chef
Sophie Legendre is behind this two-level
shop that carries women’s and men’s
French undergarments and sleepwear.