It feels more relaxed than The Mission, and more prosperous. Potrero may not have as much to do or see or eat, but it's a great place to absorb the relaxed quasi-Mediterranean style of life in this city. Fool yourself that you live here by stopping at Farley's, the San Francisco coffee- house par excellence, where tables spill out onto the sidewalk in good weather. The neighborhood bar is Bloom's, and the local pizza palace, Goat Hill, always seems to have a neighborhood softball team chowing down at the next table.
Internet fortune has nourished a Potrero Hill restaurant boomlet. North Star is on the cusp of becoming a citywide destination for deliciously updated American classics like roast half-chicken with herbs de Provence and lemon and white wine jus.
Right now Hayes Valley may be the best neighborhood in San Francisco for window-shopping or the other, more expensive, kind. Not that long ago, a trip here meant dinner at Hayes Street Grill, an outpost surrounded by blocks of not-much-happening. The Grill is still here, still excellent, but in a city afloat with Internet fortune, the surrounding scenery has, to put it mildly, changed.
The cutting edge of homemade West Coast fashion now seems to be located along Hayes. On the few blocks between Franklin and Alamo Square, young designers seem to be opening (and closing) shops all the time, in a retail scene that morphs constantly. Prices range from couture sticker-shock to vintage bargains.
Up and down the street, a free spirit of adventure and style seems to be the constant. In Manifesto you'll probably see owner-designer Sarah Franko at her worktable with a pair of scissors, chopping fabric for the exuberant clothes that fill her shop. At Deborah Hampton, the designer herself can be found folding and stacking her lambswool-cashmere sweaters or arranging elegant Italian melton wool coats.