There’s not much to the start of Valencia Street.

Lots of down-and-out folks in the Mission – a mix of homeless people, ne’er-do-wells and addicts – who straggle around though, largely to no ill-effect like you might encounter in some of the more unsavory parts of SOMA and the Tenderloin. This fringe element adds to the streets cool vibe and is more testament to the enduring gritty character of an urban area that, for the most part, continues to defy the theme park gentrification you see in other cities.

With the 101 overpass sweeping overhead, weathered and worn buildings and a U-Haul store, there are no architectural landmarks to inspire and, save for an occasional vintage furniture or clothing shop, there’s not much in the way of engaging retail.


Food options also don’t amount to much until you want to trek a little bit further towards 15th street – we’ll save that for another MAPPETITE MILE moment.  Not to say you won’t eat well enough with the likes of Pauline’s Pizza at Brosnan Street (barred windows are from more rough-and-tumble times in the Mission) and on Saturdays the mobile food court organized by Off the Grid SF at Valencia and McCoppin Streets.

Coffee? Well, that’s a completely different story.  Pull into FOURBARRELat 375 Valencia Street and enter into one amazing brew house. No, let’s call

it a loft owing to its clean-lined industrial design of exposed steel i-beams and rafters – it’s a cavernous space, with great light from skylights and windows behind the hulking vintage coffee bean roaster.

All told, it’s quite the sensory experience and, that’s even before you get to your beverage. With that we’re talking about a superb marriage between coffee beans, roasters and brewers for one incredible cup of joe.

FOURBARREL 375 Valencia Street, The Mission, San Francisco, CA. Tel. No. 415-252-0800. Mon-Sat 7a.m.-8p.m., Sun 8a.m.-8p.m.


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