Nothing sparks more debate than barbecue and gun control. Ironically much of the controversy over the call for stricter gun laws and which states have a better take on smoked meats, occurs in the same regions around the good ‘ol USA, the southern reaches of our dearest graceland.
With the recent tragedies from San Bernadino to Orlando, along with so many others, and with new studies showing that states with stricter gun control have lower rates of gun violence, we want to do our part with our stomachs and our wallets.
American cuisine uses ingredients which in themselves are symbolic of our cultural tradition to unify and rejoice in our differences. Buttermilk chicken, gravy, brisket, cole slaw, apple pie, makes you feel loved and warm, and if you’ve ever eaten BBQ with family and friends, you know the meaning of giddiness and food induced belly laughs.
So let’s celebrate actual American tradition, unity and loving food for food’s sake. Here’s a list of BBQ spots in SF from southern states with the best gun control laws that rep the true values behind our stars and stripes.
About Pickle: Eat like a local! Pickle makes the world yummy again by allowing everyone to share the food spots they love through photos, not lengthy, pretentious reviews.
Lower Haight/Panhandle, SF
Why you should go: Smoked meat served by the pound in the dry-rub style of Memphis and Texas barbecue makes Minnie’s a classic “meat and 3” destination.
Heat wave warning: This BBQ style prefers the debilitating flavor of extreme hot sauce as opposed to the sweetness of barbecue sauces, so you’ll find a bottle of Stupid Hot Sauce on every table at Minnie’s.
Gun control rating: 8/10. Texas has its reputation as the gun slinging wild west, but in reality it has some of the better gun control laws in the region along with one of the lowest rates of gun violence. Maybe that’s because the sauce is so hot you won’t talk the whole meal, meaning less opportunity to get agro.
Mission District, SF
What to put in your mouth: Get the blackened catfish or salmon, two things that are delicious when barbecued but are often forgotten in the red meat frenzy of most barbecue spots.
Why we heart this place: Memphis is for lovers not fighters and Baby Blue’s has perfectly channeled the feeling of a friendly bar in Tennessee. Have a beer and get your protein fix, and more likely than not you’ll have a great conversation with a total stranger.
Gun control rating: 9/10. Living in the Bay Area it’s easy to forget that other places around the country are liberal, diverse, and full of culture but Memphis Tennessee is like the SF of the South. Its rich musical history has given it some real critical thinking skills and they have some of the lowest rates of gun related violence in the country, maybe Kumbaya really does work.
SNEAKY’S BBQ at SOUTHPAW
Why you should go: Offering their take on North Carolina barbecue, pork is their specialty. Usually divided between Eastern and Lexington style, Sneaky’s reconciles the two creating a happy medium to the great divide between the spice and vinegar and ketchup based varieties.
Do’s and Don’ts: Do order the bbq’d pork belly, it’ll make you start a petition to legally marry smoked meat. Don’t complain about the salad, it’s your fault for ordering a salad in carnivore heaven. It’s supposed to be a poor excuse for your daily vegetable serving because that’s not what this place is about.
Gun control rating: 10/10. North Carolina borders the slow and thoughtful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee so it’s no wonder why it has the lowest rate of gun violence in the south. Home to the melancholy sounds of Angel Olsen and other folky singer song writers, who needs guns when you can eat pulled pork all day and sing so perfectly about a broken heart.
Why you should go: This is what bbq would be if it were invented in San Francisco. Their meats come marinated in Coca-Cola or Maker’s Mark and their sides are more in the spirit of a midwestern picnic with pimento mac ‘n cheese, mustard slaw, and dandelion green potato salad. Hippies.
Fun fact: Their namesake comes from the size of their buttermilk biscuits which are about as big as a cat’s head.
Gun control rating: 10/10. This SOMA based eatery serves up its take on Memphis style BBQ with a hint of the owners home state of Michigan, two places that are spearheading the push for better gun control laws throughout the South and beyond, hoorah!
If you haven’t heard of Brexit, two things, number 1, read a newspaper once in a while, and 2, don’t worry, as Americans, we’re pretty bad when it comes to understanding, let alone caring about, European politics. But the gist of it is, last week the UK experienced its highest voter turnout rate since 1992 and drum roll please…the people voted to leave the European Union in a 52% to 48% split. As we know in the U.S, a voter split like that can sever a nation and divide people in a way that doesn’t exactly promote peace and love. No one knows the entire spectrum of what this means in terms of trade, immigration, and economic impact on the UK and abroad, but it’s certainly making people nervous. So all we can do now is wait, maybe eat a few cornish pies, and watch what unfolds, hoping that sane minds prevail. And there’s no better place to do all of that than at British restaurants and bars around San Francisco. Here’s a list of the best places to stock up on your UK comfort foods.
YOU SAY TOMATO
Nob Hill, SF
This little market next to a computer repair shop is your saving grace if you’ve run out of Marmite and other toast spreadables that look like street drugs but taste like anchovies. Whether you grew up in England or just watching Downtown Abbey, this place has it all, Fruit Pastilles, Wine Gums, and Bacon Fries. But if you’re a really cool nerd, you’ll buy a few Penguin bars and Cheese Flavoured Moments and play the Doctor Who pinball machine in the back til your fingers turn blue.
CROWN & CRUMPET TEA STOP CAFE
It’s a shame the U.S never adopted tea time because it’s the best way to put yourself into a deep food coma while looking fancy. It’s said that English tea time is really just an excuse for an indoor picnic and this place is worth the trek to Japantown to see why it’s called that. Order tea for three and a wrack of plates come out filled with crumpets, butter, jam, egg sandwiches, Yorkshire pudding, and sausage wrapped in pastry. It’s a complete carb overload and chances are you won’t be able to get out of your chair without digesting for an hour while sipping tea, so I guess that’s the point.
THE PIG AND WHISTLE
Inner Richmond, SF
This is a proper English pub complete with bangers and mash, dad bods, dark pints of ale, and lots of sports fans. The perfect place to drink away a weekday afternoon and forget about Brexit and the EU debacle for a while. Until you remember and realize the price of importing British products could go up and then where are you gonna get your Yorkshire tea and Reversy Percy?
SOMA/Union Square, SF
British inspired cocktails and the best Shepherd’s pie this side of the pond. Home of the Pimm’s Cup and the Whiz Bang, this is hands down the best place to grab a cocktail in the area. The atmosphere is swanky, the street noise is poetic, and life feels like 20th century literature, especially after knocking back a few. Knowledgable staff will guide you through the best parts of the menu and talk to you for 25 minutes if you bring up the UK’s exit from the EU, so maybe just don’t until you’re done with your meal.
A picture is worth a thousand Yelp reviews. Forget about reviews from disgruntled employees, or people just having a bad night, we help you find the real spots people love.
In the wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando, San Francisco Pride is more important than ever. We need to be together with friends and allies, feel loved, and share our stories. SF Pride, for many of us is usually a 3-day non-stop dance party where ingesting a variety of substances and acting like a fool, is mandatory. But maybe this year, in addition to the cray parties and the fabulously flamboyant parade you want an experience that’s a little less induced by the worst hangover of your life. We’ve got some options for you, some with snacks and cuddle puddles, some with long overdue discussions, all of them though with the intention of increasing visibility and the love for our LGBT community. Here’s a look at the non-traditional and a little off the beaten path (pun intended) pride weekend, June 23rd-26th, HAPPY PRIDE Y’ALL.
MUSEUM OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
Sweet and Dandy Film series, June 23rd, 6:30pm
If you want your pride kick-off party to involve popcorn and intellectual conversation, this is for you. Sweet and Dandy is an 8-week film series, it’s last week culminating over Pride weekend, and it examines the cultural narratives of the queer community in documentaries and movie shorts. So bring your onesie and thinking hat because you’ll leave this film series undoubtedly knowing more, feeling more, and having increased empathy for the individual struggles of gender politics.
Hotel Whitcomb , 11am-2pm June 25th
Brunch and celebrating fabulous things are what we do best, so naturally someone put them together, Pride Brunch! This event brings you brunch with the finest folks and the most delicious delicacies including music by the Dixieland Dykes. With Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Tito’s Vodka hosting the event, why not start Saturday off right with what sounds like some bomb Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s.
PRIDE PUB CRAWL
Wild SF Tours, starts at the Castro Theatre
For those of us who like to pair a nice cold one with our cultural knowledge, this pub crawl is our new BFF. It’s about as non-traditional as it gets when it comes to getting to know your city. The tour guide walks around with a guitar and tells you about historical landmarks while playing diddies in A-minor. Play drinking games and learn how to master the ever-growing acronym LGBTQQOIAAPT (I mean wow), while getting woke about the why’s and how’s of Pride weekend.
Civic Center Plaza, June 26th
If you’re looking to go more traditional but want to keep things low key, this space is your new home. It’s basically a huge tent in the middle of civic center where you can eat cookies, hydrate yourself, and catch a little break from all the wonderful chaos. This spectacular, colorful, natural and non-commercial oasis provides a heart-connected sanctuary in the midst of an often overwhelming festival. Come and celebrate queer creative spirit with heartfelt conversation, cuddle puddles, and the most fabulous Drag Snack Shows in San Francisco.
When it’s Wednesday night and you’re at home asking the interwebs what to do in SF this weekend, you probably get a bunch of touristy suggestions, like, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Mission walking tours, etc. Those are all awesome, but if you call SF home, how many times can you see the seals by the pier and go to Crissy Field before you vomit with wholesome weekend fun. So put on your party outfit and beer goggles, here are a few of the best events in June for people that live here.
June 4, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM @ Fort Mason
Grab your sunblock and Teva sandals and get down here for a new summer series of silent dance parties at Fort Mason. You will all look like a ridiculous bobbing wave of ironic t-shirts in headphones, but in your ears there is an epic party happening and you’re about to break into the running man.
NAMETAG DAY AND AFTERPARTY
San Francisco is notorious for being a hard place to meet new people, hence Nametag Day. A day that comes around once a year where you get out of your apartment, pack into bars, and actually meet people IRL. A concept after our own pickle hearts. So if you want to meet other awesome people like yourself RSVP and go drink with strangers who want to talk to other strangers.
ONE MORE TIME: THE THROWBACK PARTY
RIckshaw Stop, June 4th 9:30pm – 2am
A millennium dance party featuring the era’s best pop, electronic, hip-hop, and r&b. Get ready to break out your stunna shades, crop tops, v-necks, and guyliner and get your freak on. Blocks of music from the 90’s-2000’s will be played til 2am, reminding you why J.T. leaving NSYNC wasn’t the worst thing ever. DJ’s will take you on a year-by-year voyage spinning all the hits and guilty pleasures. Oh and did we mention it’s for a good cause? Proceeds will go to SF Society Ties, a group that raises funds and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
SF PUBLIC CANVAS
In The Tenderloin outside of Hastings Law, Thursday Jun 16th
If you’ve never heard of this, you have to check it out. Watch dancers scale down buildings and tip toe on roof tops while a loud speaker blasts modern classical and experimental music. There are night performances with large scale light shows and glow-in-the-dark dancers doing pirouettes and adagios underneath. This incredibly vibrant neighborhood is fighting gentrification and creating a dialog with art and movement, so bring a chair and get ready to look up with your mouth open for a few hours.
There’s a lot of conversation and fear around how the city is bending toward a future of tech elite millionaire’s and a middle class dystopia. How the weird and culturally diverse are being pushed out in order to make way for luxury condos and AirBnB tourists, and everyone has an opinion on how to stop it and who to point a finger at. These are all very real and sensitive issues facing our community but we wanted to highlight some activities and places that are keeping our weird San Francisco hearts full of paint, glitter, and unicorns. Here are some things you can do this week, right now, that will remind you that San Francisco is still creative and vibrant, you just have to look a little harder now.
GUERILLA DYKE BAR TAKEOVER
The housing crisis in San Francisco has not only affected tenants and priced out many people who have been living here for decades, but it has also devastated the lesbian bar population almost entirely into extinction. From the ashes, The Guerilla Dyke Bar Takeover was born. It’s a monthly party, where a different local bar is chosen and every Lesbian on the LGBTQI spectrum shows up and turns it into a dyke bar for the night. Get ready for a sea of mullets, fohawks, and pleather jackets flooding the streets of the Mission on Friday night.
MUSEUM & GALLERY CRAWL
It’s that time of the month again, in a good way, it’s Third Thursdays, that’s today, the 19th. It’s a free event, RSVP online, and hop around downtown SF to see live performances, drink champagne, and look at art from the masters of the 20th century to the rising stars of the most contemporary art scene in san Francisco today. This will be the best zero dollars you ever spent.
RED DOOR CAFE
1608 Bush st, SF
Bring your humor and personality, because if you don’t you won’t be seated or you’ll probably leave feeling offended. The walls are painted bright shades of orange and red, there are naked barbie dolls and toy animals glued in provocative positions, and colorful dildos in place of flowers as your tables’ centerpiece. But despite the loud decor, the food is delicious and if you’ve lived here a long time, it’ll probably bring back memories of the good ‘ol days.
ART AT THE DUMP
503 Tunnel Avenue, SF – May 20th 5-9pm
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco provides artists with a free pass to scavenge at the dump. Childhood dreams do come true. Trash and scrap metal are gathered at all hours of the night and day, and in the program’s 24-hour all access studio, artists repurpose San Francisco’s treasures of the underworld. This is not the kind of recycled art you did in 5th grade with dry macaroni, it’s a must see show that redefines waste and brings to the surface issues of sustainability in our modern urban spaces.
Day drinking in San Francisco is a local pasttime. It’s what we’re good at. Whether it’s long brunches with bottomless mimosas or getting your sunburn ‘n chill on at Dolores park with a rum-filled coconut; san franciscans aren’t scared of paying with a little acid reflux in order to booze it up in the sun. But if you’re going to do that this weekend, how about doing it to support a good cause? Two great San Francisco traditions in one, rallying for humanitarian efforts and feeling tipsy. Here are a few places where you can appreciate a great day of debauchery while giving back to your favorite city by the bay.
SF MADE BENEFIT at ANCHOR BREWING
SFMade is a non-profit that helps local artisans continue to manufacture their wares in San Francisco. You want a mason jar wall mount or a hand-crafted oak table, or a million other necessities that aren’t mass produced with unknown chemicals? Then come out and drink, we shouldn’t have to twist your arm, you’ll be drinking anyway, so come here and do it. Put your money where your beer is at.
BAY TO BREAKERS
From the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach May 15th
Bay to Breakers turns 100 and is one of the biggest in the U.S. You can dress up or go naked and run the 7 mile marathon, or even better, watch from Hayes Valley. It’s all fun and games at first, and then this day drinking (literal) marathon gets real when participants reach the nearly vertical climb of Hayes street. Watch with the painted ladies in the background as adult Ninja turtles, robots, and elvis impersonators buckle from heat exhaustion and lay down on the sidewalk for a quick nap before continuing on towards the ocean. Oh ya, and the people walking around with donation barrels, throw a couple bills in there, it’s usually for supporting local schools or more community events like this one.
SF INTERNATIONAL BEER FESTIVAL
Fort Mason May 21st
Sample over 300 beers from the best craft brewers in the world, it’s pretty much the world’s fair for beer, and it’s for a good cause. Since 1984, the San Francisco International Beer Festival (SFIBF) has raised money for the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School (Tel-Hi). The event staff consists of the proud parents of Tel-Hi’s preschool students. They donate their time and efforts to bring you this historic San Francisco festival-the oldest beer festival on the west coast)
MISSION DISTRICT, SF MAY 28TH-29TH
Yeah yeah, we know, but carnaval is in February you say, welp, that’s New Orleans and this is San Francisco, our version of Carnaval is a bit different. Celebrating its 38th anniversary, this is San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras and one of the largest annual public events in the city. It features Carnaval dancers with a mixture of Latino, jazz, samba, and Caribbean influences, so come out and drink, eat amazing food, and support community centers throughout the neighborhood. The festive and colorful parade on Sunday morning is not something you should miss. It’s one of those rare occasions where you can see the extensive cultural pageantry of SF all in one place.
One of the first things you notice while in San Francisco is that people live their full selves out in public. The lines are blurred when it comes to private vs public activities, everything goes, and nobody bats an eyelash. We are a city that truly lives the Drake motto: “you do you.” The second thing you notice is that, unlike LA or New York, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time, you simply need to just step outside; there’s always a free outdoor event celebrating food or live music happening somewhere, so bring your snacks and prepare for the most amazing people watching.
The Mission, SF
We can just get this spot out of the way now because it is the most obvious, however, that’s because it’s home to the most epic of people watching. Did you forget your sunscreen? Don’t worry, there’s a shirtless man in short-shorts and a utility belt full of all levels of SPF protection for sale, and he’ll even help you get those hard to reach spots. There’s also an Indiana Jones type fellow walking around with a leather brief case selling top shelf marijuana, or you can stay on budget and buy an edible lolly pop shaped like a naughty place.
China Town, SF
In 1848 the discovery of gold was announced in the square, a man named Sam Brannan stood up and showed his bounty to a crowd. Today it’s known as the heart of Chinatown, and is people watching gold. A place where you can sit on one of the many benches to watch finance men smoke cigarettes, old women eat corn on the cob, and small crowds of people quietly argue over a game of Baccarat or Pai gow.
The Mission, SF
There is always an eclectic crowd spilling into the streets from this tiny cafe and bar. Most nights of the week there is live experimental jazz where you can watch someone play the keyboard kazoo while several people dance like there’s nobody watching.
POLK AND PINE
Lower Nob Hill, SF
This is just a corner where two incredible streets intersect. Really you can go anywhere on Polk street between Broadway and Grove street, but we think these crossroads represent the height of where all the magic and weirdness go down. Most bars here have great window seats, so find one and grab a few drinks because you are about to witness an amazing clash of opposites. This is where Marina district bros, Fisherman’s Wharf tourists, and the Tenderloin collide. Enough said.
San Jose, CA
“If you’ve always wanted to be a part of the raw food movement here’s your chance. Annette was into it, “quail eggs and oysters, delicious.”
This place will give your taste buds a true foodie experience, everything here is perfection. George thought this place was so good he almost didn’t survive, “the salmon is to die for.”
If you have to feverishly Google what Nabeyaki is, you’re doing it wrong, just go order it at Sanraku and get ready to be amazed. Markia was here and summed it up best: “Nabeyaki, soooooo good.”
Alameda, East Bay
This is not your average taco spot. This is Southern California style Mexican food, where eggs and french fries and carne asada make one big happy family in your mouth. “So perfect.” – Mark D
Los Gatos, Ca
Nikki pickled this place: “the wine and food were great. Good atmosphere, beautiful place.” Testarossa Winery is the perfect Napa alternative for your favorite kind of grape juice, it sits at the base of the Santa Cruz mountains so makes an excellent day trip from San Francisco.
The bridge crosses the Sacramento river a few hours north of San Francisco. It unites Shasta and Trinity State park with the town of Redding. Full of beautiful hikes and small town quaintness, find a bed & breakfast or bring a tent and camp if it’s warm enough. Thanks for the stunning photo Danielle.
THORNTON STATE BEACH
Daly City, CA
Daly City is pretty underrated especially when it comes to beaches; crashing waves and sand between your toes is the last thing you might think of when it comes to this sleepy town just south of San Francisco. But Dana’s post will hopefully squash that stereotype once and for all. Bring your towel and take your shoes off, it’s “such a beautiful hike down to the ocean”.
Napa, CA highway 128
You wouldn’t think they rent boats and jet ski’s here because this place is so peaceful it almost looks like a big mirror surrounded by trees. But it’s so enormous you can’t even tell. It’s the perfect destination for a mini road trip, John pickled this spot and realized right away that it’s “a great place for a local vacation.”
San Francisco is a city that’s packed with great bars! In a single night you can drink top shelf Bourbon in a wide-ball glass with your pinky out, take $3 sake bombs under glow in the dark lightbulbs, and taste all 200 beers that are brewed in the Golden State. So it’s safe to say that it can be a daunting task to figure out where to bar hop, but check out this list of places people loved on Pickle!
MADRONE ART BAR
Alamo Square, SF
If you want to get weird and be surrounded by colorful artwork, go here, Jo G says this place has great live shows and cold booze, it doesn’t get better than that!
CRAFTY FOX ALE HOUSE
Lower Haight, SF
Jessica S says this place has “the best craft brews in SF!” With 36 rotating beers on tap that are well sourced from all over the country and local micro-breweries, we second that opinion.
Mission District, SF
This bar will never let you down, James N had an “excellent IPA!” But ABV also has a truly knowledgeable staff and extensive cocktail menu with beverages that feel more like they belong at your spa day. Sit outside and get some sun while sipping on a celery and gin, it’s the best, we promise.
Cockscomb is a class act, Allison G seems to be pleased by everything they do, “the food, atmosphere, and service!” Not to mention the full roasted pig’s head you can nom on while sipping craft cocktails, pinkies up.