At Modern Luxury, connection and community define who we are. We use cookies to improve the Modern Luxury experience - to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also may share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. We take your privacy seriously and want you to be aware that we have recently made changes to our Privacy Policy, which can be found here.


Best of the Bay readers' poll

By Linda Xiao and you, the reader | June 23, 2008 | Food & Drink Story Eat and Drink Best of the Bay

Best Frozen Yogurt
Ever since SoCal’s Pinkberry swept onto the scene, frozen yogurt has been all the rage. San Franciscans love the version at Yogurt Bar. It’s tart and perfect in every way—add a few toppings, and you have yourself an ideal afternoon snack. 2760 Octavia St., S.F., 415-441-2585,

Best Cupcake
Kara’s Cupcakes are sweet in both taste and appearance, without being kitschy. Each dainty little parcel is made daily from scratch using local, organic ingredients. 3249 Scott St., S.F., 415-563-2253; 900 North Point St., S.F., 415-351-2253,

Best Candy Shop
See’s Candies started in L.A., but in 1972, the company astutely moved its headquarters to South S.F., where the old-fashioned black-and-white candy store is truly appreciated.

Best Cup of Coffee
Despite its franchise status, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which opened its first store in Berkeley in 1966, is still a favorite among Bay Area coffee aficionados who haven’t forgotten where their consistently good cup of joe comes from. Thank you, Mr. Peet, for making addicts out of all of us.

Best Wine Store

K&L Wine Merchants has a comprehensive selection of wines, and the prices just can’t be beaten. The store’s buyers scour the globe for the world’s finest vintages, and the weekly tastings offered onsite are equally informative and entertaining. 638 4th St., S.F., 415-896-1734,

Best Dive Bars
San Francisco’s two most beloved dive bars are just a stone’s throw from one another, so it’s possible to hit both of them up in one night. The 500 Club is hip yet laid-back and dog-friendly, while Zeitgeist has a huge outdoor patio and an incredible selection of beer on tap. 500 Club: 500 Guerrero St., S.F., 415-861-2500; Zeitgeist: 199 Valencia St., S.F., 415-255-7505

Best Bar/Club for Styling Up
San Franciscans are clearly impressed by 330 Ritch’s recent makeover. The swanky revamped space (think glam-industrial and exposed-brick) is run by the same guy who manages superstar DJ Steve Aoki. 360 Ritch St., S.F., 415-541-9574,

Best Eco-Trend
“Paper or plastic?” is now yesterday’s question. San Franciscans, always far ahead of the curve in our green conversion, are very happy about the city’s reduction in plastic bag consumption. It seems like every retail establishment in town, eager to join the effort, has created its own colorful tote, and we’re clamoring to get one of each. Grocery shopping has never been more fun and sustainable.

Best Late Night at the Museum
Judging by the crowds kicking off the weekend in Wilsey Court, Friday Nights at the de Young have set the standard for museum parties. Whether it’s a first date or baby’s first night out, these weekly fêtes are San Franciscans’ favorite excuse to get a taste of culture, even if they don’t step foot into the exhibits—the free music, poetry readings, and dance performances near the entry offer education enough. Fridays, 5–8:45 p.m., 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., S.F., 415-750-7694,

Best Place for Live Entertainment

With a steady stream of alternative, indie, and pop performers, plus a hip location in the heart of the Fillmore district, it’s easy to see why voters prefer the Fillmore over the city’s countless other venues. 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F., 415-346-3000,

Best Local Band
With an avid fan base and multiple indie-label albums to their credit, the S.F.-based Two Gallants, known for their bluesy sound, deserve all the attention they’ve been getting. Check them out at Outside Lands in August.

Best Radio Station
With an opera company that the New York Times regularly treks out here to review and a symphony that also enjoys national acclaim, it’s not surprising that San Francisco loves a classical station best: KDFC 102.1. Whether you’re listening to Island of Sanity or Big One at One, the “casual, comfortable, classical” programs will complement your day.

Best Radio DJ/Team
Hoyt Smith and Betsy O’Connor of KDFC 102.1 were the clear winners in this hugely popular category. The morning commute actually becomes pleasurable when their voices hit the air.

Best TV Station
With its exceptional selection of arts and culture, education, science, and news programs, KQED public television pulled ahead as the Bay Area’s station of choice. Adults and kids alike learn and enjoy as they watch a range of quality shows.

Best Newspaper Columnist
When San Franciscans pick up the Chronicle, the first place they turn is page two of Datebook. The Bay Area loves veteran columnist Jon Carroll’s wit-infused musings on subjects from opera to sports.

Best Blog for Getting the Scoop on Food
Bay Area cuisine is nothing to scoff at, so it’s no wonder that voters chose, a weekly insider column about the S.F. dining scene, as their favorite blog. Marcia Gagliardi (who occasionally writes for San Francisco) regularly breaks news about who’s serving brunch, what’s closing, who’s teaming up with whom to open the next big thing, which cookbook author is in town signing books, and—ooh!—which celeb was last spotted where. She also offers very candid reviews.

Best Bay Area Website

News travels fast on the Internet, but it’s not necessarily reliable., online home of the San Francisco Chronicle, is the premier Bay Area news website, with dependable and timely coverage of all local happenings.

Best Home Store

When it comes to furnishing their homes, voters couldn’t decide which store they liked better: IKEA or Crate & Barrel. For prudent shoppers, IKEA reigns supreme, with its inexpensive yet stylish Swedish wares. Crate & Barrel, with a convenient downtown flagship store, caters to those with a few more bucks in their pockets. IKEA: 4400 Shellmound St., Emeryville, 510-420-4532,; Crate & Barrel: 55 Stockton St., S.F., 415-982-5200,

Best Local Boutique
For shoppers on any budget, Ambiance carries a huge variety of labels that cater to every occasion. With the help of the friendly sales assistants, you’ll find clothes to help you stylishly dress up or down. Personally, we can’t get enough of their wide selection of party dresses. 1458 Haight St., S.F., 415-552-5095; 3985 & 3989 24th St., S.F., 415-647-7144 & 415-647-5800; 1864 & 1858 Union St., S.F. 415-923-9797 & 415-923-9796,

Best Stylist/Personal Shopper
San Francisco’s favorite personal shopper and image consultant is Jennifer Held of Beyond Black. She has transformed many a wardrobe with her expert eye and ability to discover treasures in what you might think is the Goodwill pile. With an emphasis on finding what’s just right for your body, Held is in hot demand. 415-806-5541,

Best Place to Get Fit
If you want real results from your workout, look no further than AlaVie Fitness, otherwise known as Bay Area Boot Camp. The testimonials are all true: By the end of the four-week program, you’ll be able to see new toning in your arms and definition in your legs—and, most important, you’ll feel the renewed energy that only comes from a great workout. Golden Gate Park & Crissy Field,

Best Local Trail/Hike

It’s difficult to believe that Lands End can exist in an urban landscape. This gorgeous trail, close to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, offers sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and beyond, and is lovely any time of the year.

Best Rooftop Space/Green Spot

Looking at San Francisco from up high is spectacular—especially at night, when all the lights come on. Medjool Restaurant/Lounge’s Sky Terrace offers a stunning downtown view from the Mission. Take note, though: Medjool doesn’t accept reservations, so arrive early if you want to catch the last glimpse of the sunset. 2522 Mission St., S.F., 415-550-9055,

Best Dog Park
As any pooch parent can tell you, the best dog park in the Bay Area is Fort Funston. Just south of Ocean Beach, this rugged stretch of coast is perfect for adventurous canines and their owners. Let Fido run free on the trails or the windy beach down below, thanks to the park’s off-leash policy. A trip to Funston will ensure big doggy smiles at the end of the day.

Best 24-Hour Getaway

When they don’t have enough time for a weekend in wine country or a trip down south to catch some waves, San Franciscans like to head to Hotel Griffon for the perfect mini-getaway. Nestled close to the Embarcadero, this quaint boutique hotel exudes local charm. 155 Steuart St., S.F., 415-495-2100,

Best Car Share
Zipcar leads the pack, with services available in many cities around the U.S. With a diverse selection of packages to choose from, urban dwellers can easily get away as often they like, without all the hassle of actually owning a car. Turns out there are benefits to sharing, after all. 415-495-7478,

Best-Kept S.F. Secret
For once, voters are willing to share their insider info: HAND in HAND custom jewelry design crafts absolutely stunning one-of-a-kind jewelry. The shop has the right gift for any occasion: an engagement, anniversary, birthday, and more. 3150 18th St., S.F., 415-282-4370,

Best Wine Bar
Bin 38 offers 51 premium wines by the glass, as well as 24 exotic beers—what’s not to love? The menu is crafted to enhance your wine experience, so be sure to seek the advice of the knowledgeable staff, whose experience is matched only by their hospitality. 3232 Scott St., S.F., 415-567-3838,

Best Selection of Beer on Tap
For beer lovers, Toronado is king. Offering an incredible number of brews on tap from local and exotic locales, along with a happy hour that won’t leave your pockets empty after you’ve plowed through the names, this Haight Street dive bar is a favorite for good reason. 547 Haight St., S.F., 415-863-2276,

Best Happy Hour
City dwellers are always on the lookout for the best happy hour. Take it from your fellow San Franciscans: Hit up the Seasons Bar and Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel. The atmosphere is vibrant and the decor is lush, and you’ll even get a cloth napkin under your martini. 757 Market St., S.F., 415-633-3000,

Best Trivia Night
If you happen to visit the Bitter End on a Tuesday night, you may wonder why the place is completely packed—until you realize that this bar hosts one of the city’s best trivia nights. Order some libations, try to find a seat, and take part in the merry-making. 441 Clement St., 415-221-9538,

Best DJ

The Bay Area’s love affair with classical music even extends to DJs: Hoyt Smith of Mornings on Classical 102.1, was voted the best in San Francisco. Listening to his smooth voice and sense of humor (for a sample, just read his bio at is a great way to wake up on any day of the week.

Best Nonprofit Event/Gala
The Black and White Ball, which takes place only every two years is a high-profile event, as any Bay Area philanthropist will tell you. This fundraiser, benefiting the S.F. Symphony, features the best entertainment, prizes, and food around, so giving back to the community is a blast.

Best Guilty Pleasure
Ice cream: fattening, sugary, and irresistible. It seems that San Franciscans have a weakness for Bi-Rite Creamery and its gazillion flavors, made fresh daily with love. 3692 18th St., S.F., 415-626-5600,

Best Pickup Spot
Numbers fly fast and furious at a variety of Bay Area locales: the hottest new club (330 Ritch), a sophisticated sit-down restaurant (Balboa Café), a casual pub (City Tavern), and your local Whole Foods. 330 Ritch: 360 Ritch St., S.F., 415-541-9574,; Balboa Café: 3199 Fillmore St., S.F., 415-921-3944,; City Tavern: 3200 Fillmore St., S.F., 415-567-0918; Whole Foods:


Photography by: