By: Abby Wilcox, Designed by Rob Shaw
This story is brought to you by the great people over at the Bold Italic. The Bold Italic is an online magazine, shop, and events hub in San Francisco. We celebrate the free-wheeling spirit of the city.
Nestled a little ways from AT&T Park up 3rd Street lives a small but thriving neighborhood called the Dogpatch that The Bold Italic has dubbed 3rd Base. One of the few places to survive the 1906 earthquake, the nine-square block area offers a mix of boxy industrial spaces and early twentieth-century workers’ cottages – perfect for the entrepreneurial-minded folks who have taken up residence there.
Over the last the last 10 years, the Dogpatch has seen its largest growth. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but the emergence of the T line has revived the once sleepy 'hood. Rents are slightly cheaper and the spaces are bigger than in most other San Francisco districts. Also, the Dogpatch is quite close to the Bay in Potrero Hill’s eastern flats, so it’s frequently sunny and you occasionally get hit with a waft of salty, fresh ocean air.
The photographs in this series document a mix of the new and the old. The business owners I met there all share the same sentiment – they’re proud to be there and in love with the supportive energy they get from each other, as well as from the local residents. “It almost feels like a small Hayes Valley,” someone said to me, and in some ways, the statement feels right on point. From seedy to sophisticated. Who would have thought?
I started out at Hard Knox Cafe, where Ariel serves up steamy plates of food for the soul, like the cafe's renowned fried chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens. Ariel was born and raised in the area – a true Dogpatch native – and she has witnessed all of the ups and downs of the working-class neighborhood.
I headed across the street to another classic hangout: the Dogpatch Saloon. Christopher mans the 90-year-old bar, best known for its Sunday jazz sessions.
A short walk down 3rd Street, I met with Caylie and Tamara at Acupuncture Kitchen, which has an airy space and is filled with positive attitudes that promote health and healing. It felt like a perfect place to relax – perhaps on a mid-day lunch break – and is incredibly accessible for local clientele.
Up on 22nd toward Minnesota Street, Rickshaw Bagworks founder Mark toured me around his open factory space, where unique sustainable messenger bags are produced. The place is loaded with bikes, and, of course, a few rickshaws.
Next I headed over to Yield Wine Bar, where Nic offers a diverse variety of reds and whites to the after-work crowd, which makes up a large part of his clientele.
Across the street, I photographed stylish partner Chris of the newly opened MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing) – its second designer store to launch after its success in Hayes Valley. Tucked in the corner of the space, you don’t want to miss the home section, which offers a medley of locally mixed spices, handmade bath products, and other housewares.
Back on the corner of 3rd and 22nd, I stopped in the curious ice cream shop named Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, where I photographed artsy husband-wife team Ian and Annabelle. They make a variety of creative ice cream flavors to satiate your sweet tooth like Burnt Sugar and Earl Grey – a huge hit among the lunchtime locals. Who can resist a good cone on a hot afternoon?
Down on the corner of Illinois Street, I met Carl and his wife Sharon, who ferment and sell wine in their large warehouse space. Every other Sunday they open the doors of Sutton Cellars to locals for an afternoon of wine tasting, accompanied by a BBQ with sausage provided by Olivier's Butchery around the corner.
I found second-generation French-born butcher Olivier in his cutting kitchen, where a fresh flank of beef had just arrived. His energy was contagious and he prides himself on the fact that he carefully selects every grass-fed cow he butchers.
Overall, in the few days that I spent exploring and photographing the Dogpatch, I made new friends and got to share, if only momentarily, in their love and pride for their few square blocks. Like my experience with other microhood photo stories for The Bold Italic, I felt lucky to be exposed to another one of San Francisco’s hidden gems.
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