Milk

A genuine dance club, there’s something of a fanatical focus on the music more than the scene. Catch the best up and comer indie bands, or heaar DJs spinning reggae, dubstep, and sundry other sounds excluding cheesy house music. Highly unglamourous industrial space – but the cool crowd comes here to get down, not admire pretty lamps.

Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar

Unique concept: cafe by day, and vinyl focused wine bar by night. Breakfast of green eggs & ham sandwiches and fresh fruit & yogurt hums until 2pm. In the evening, there are 13 reasonably priced “wines on tap” (+ beer and sake), cheese and cured meat boards, plus vintage tunes spinning on an honest-to-god record player. Draws a cool crowd of musical epicures.

The Alembic

Distinctly civilized, artisanal cocktails in stylish, low-key surrounds – indeed, the sophisticated combination of dark wood, exposed bulbs and knowledgeable staff belies the boho hood. Whiskey, bourbon and scotch menu is most comprehensive, and well-executed signature drinks range from stiff (Bitter Buffalo) to sweet (Desert Peach). Small plates like jerk spiced duck hearts and chanterelle mushroom toast make a night of it.

Fluevog

Eco-friendly kicks with signature tapered square heel. Pumps, boots and sandals for women. Boots, saddle shoes and formal footwear in wild patterns and color options for men. Unisex styles available plus green and environmentally conscious selections. Stellar customer service to aid in selecting the Fluevog that bizzarely fits your persona.

Super Shoe Biz & Shoe Biz 2

Shoe Biz takes over SF with the best located in The Haight. This trendy shoe and sneaker joint opened in the 70’s as a small shop and now spreads its wings into four locations. Haight street stores worth talking about are first, the largest known as Super Biz. Floor 1: somewhat mediocre selection of fashion shoes for guys and girls by such designers as Marc Jacobs, Melissa, Red Wing and Fry. Floor 2:  Glass elevator leads to the “O-Exclusive” globally unique Adidas concept store carrying products only available in Adidas original stores. This modern space hosts original Japanese artwork, unique events, and live local DJ’s. Next store, down the street, is Shoe Biz 11, the sneaker pit (aka Dinostore). A small minimal space – replete with DJ spinning – offers limited-edition trend and skate sneakers, plus originals from such lines as Nike, Vans, and Reebok. Majority of shoes are unisex.

FTC

Starting as a sports trade store in the 80’s, FTC (Free Trade Center) is now a legend with stores in native SF, Sacramento and Japan. Stocking a wide variety of skateboard decks, trucks, wheels, mags, clothing and shoes you’re likely to find FTC sponsored pro-skaters in and around the shop. A two-story, clean, hardwood floor, and bright white walled space carries everything from Nike, Vans, Adidas, Axion and their own dope line appropriately called FTC. Original, urban inspired artwork is found on t-shirts, skate decks and shoes leaving something of interest for the non-skater as well. A leader in the industry, this SF native has become well-known around the globe. Kanye West recently gave a shout-out on his popular blog regarding FTC’s new collaboration with girl inspired skateboards.

True Clothing / True Sole

An SF pioneer in hip-hop street wear and first to bring it to the Haight, True Clothing  and True Sole, are still keeping it real, but no longer leading the pack. Three locations side by side, on what’s now an over-saturated block, include True Women, True Men, and True Sole (sneakers). Raw, warehouse looks are the design for all storefronts. Clothing designers carried in the women and men’s stores are well-known brands Ecko, Phat Farm, Upper Playground, and in-house line called True. Sole store carries sneakers from the likes of Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Alife, Converse and Creative Recreation to name a few. Good beats always play making for energetic vibes, but problem is they don’t often carry exclusives making for tough competition with all the other leading stores on the block.

Giant Robot

LA based Giant Robot is an edgy Japanese-inspired shop carrying the latest in Asian and American-Asian pop culture. From comics, books, accessories, stickers, toys, figurines and clothing it is a capsule of all that is strangely cool and bizarre in Tokyo now. Dozens of t-shirts have been assembled in the store featuring creatively absurd graphic work. Attached is a gallery housing funky pop-art from local artists and oversized international Asian pop-art books that will blow your mind. Look out for the award winning, Japanese-inspired urban magazine of the same name, paving the way for everything indie – movies, actors, musicians, toys, technology – into the mainstream.

Nedas Flowers and Gifts

A well edited flea market of sorts, this lovely vintage jewel box is filled with a plethora of hidden treasures waiting to be explored. Unusual gifts and vintage wears, you’re likely to find rarities such as bangles made from spoon handles, peacock feather clutches, and flower print dresses from the set of Mad Men. Specializing in sunflowers, roses and “Summer of Love” bouquets, smell of fresh cut flowers awaken senses upon entering, seducing your wallet and desire to shop. Stairs leading up to men’s and women’s vintage clothing are steep, tiny, and crooked, so if you’re unhappy with “no return” policy, try to refrain from seeking revenge by lawsuit. But alas, charming staff turn cold hearts (and bank accounts) to mush.