Hot New Microhood: Missionary's Wharf

A few weeks back, tastr published a bold statement alleging 18th and Valencia was “the Wharf of the Mission.”  Naturally this accusation made me excited to the point of disorientation, as I adore sea lions and Hooters, but I've never spotted an aquatic mammal or Bubba Sparxxx purchasing narcotics from busty women along Valencia. Figuring there must be some justification for such a neighborhood-to-tourist-trap comparison, tastr followed up with an explanation:

Let’s get to the “wharf of the mission” question.  I had just come across an article on Eater that Monk’s Kettle was opening a fancier beer bar on Valencia between 17th and 18th and I couldn’t help but think that the “gourmet ghetto” on 18th was getting way out of character for the Mission.  My girlfriend has lived here for 14 years and she recalls the Mission during the dot com boom and how all these expensive restaurants opened in the Mission with total disregard for neighborhood’s character, it was a playground for the rich.  In comparison though, I was walking through the neighborhood during Carnaval and I was surprised to see all these Latino families stoop partying like I’d never seen before and I had this weird feeling about what was happening at 18th and Valencia.  Again, it’s becoming quite different from the rest of the Mission.  It’s very different from what the neighborhood was 20 years ago, and it’s getting similar to what happened during the dot com boom just over 10 years ago.  I mean come on, a fancier Monk’s Kettle?

I’m not all up-in-arms about it, but the area already has Bi-Rite, Delfina, Tartine, Bar Tartine, Luna Park, Commonwealth, and Locanda.  Coming soon is a fancy tequila bar by the Beretta people (which I’m excited about, I’m conflicted about this whole thing), Tacolicious (ugh) is opening a branch here.  That stupid Summit thing that’s just up the street.  I just don’t see that as representative of the neighborhood anymore, it’s for gastro-tourists. […]

That’s why the 18th & Valencia is the Wharf of the Mission.  Just like most people in San Francisco see the Wharf as some weird Disneyland that they only go to take their parents when they visit, I’m starting to feel the same way about that part of the Mission.  It’s not for people who live here anymore, it’s a place to take your parents when they come visit for a fancy dinner and expensive ice cream.  Perhaps it’s a tenuous argument, but when’s the tipping point?  When does that part of the neighborhood file for a name change with the realtors office?

Just sayin.

And when the tourists are done buying their morning buns, they all go watch the denizens lolling about on the green hills of Dolores, basking in the sun and barking at each other.

I love sea lions.

[tastr | photo by atomicjeep]

Comments (8)

Well, I was here 20 years ago, and I was here for the dotcom boom, while (yes) the restaurants are fancier, really the most remarkable thing is how *little* the overall character of the area has changed. I mean that in a good way.

Basically, people need to chill the fuck out and let the city be the city – which is to say that it changes, and evolves, and fretting about it like a nervous ninny is both pointless and self-absorbed.

Mission resident since 1987 here. I lived on Dolores Park for a while and now I live down in the lower 24th st. area. I think she’s spot on about how the 18th st. corridor is “The Warf of the Mission”. People don’t bring their parents down to my neck of the woods. It’s too “colorful” as the realtors like to say. I’ve felt for a long time that the Mission now starts at Bartlett st. and goes to Potrero. Valencia st. and everything to Dolores is part of something else now. Something cool and wonderful but it doesn’t seem like the Mission to me by any stretch.

totes. i live on 18th and valencia and it’s still cool brah, but i do hate summit because of their lameness. i dont think anybody shut down the 500 club, the elbo, amnesia, the uptown, etc, so i still have good reasons to live here. but casanova is pretty annoying, gotta admit.

The money today has a better attitude than the money in the dot com. Back then, too many of the new comers were selfish as all hell. Mostly, kinda, today’s people coming in the silver coins are good people.

“Bi-Rite, Delfina, Tartine, Bar Tartine, Luna Park, Commonwealth, and Locanda”

All of those places are at least one block from 18th and Valencia.

I thought I saw a photo of someone taking a shit on Valencia and 16th recently. I experienced two gay men (okay maybe they are bi or straight!?) get in a fight on 18th and Valencia last Saturday afternoon. One guy coiled his arm about to strike the other guy with his keys or pen or something. Lots of yelling between the two, usual awkward situation for everyone around them. Do you ignore them or stare at them to try to get them to have some decency? Of course the ‘San Francisco’ thing to do is step in and moderate in a positive nonviolent manner.

Don’t get the Warf comparison. All the businesses there are crappy TGIF style, 18th and Mission is fancy stuff, more expensive than the Warf area. I think that area and west is becoming more like NYC - Tribecca. Usually, it’s where all the expensive cars are in the Mission. The new apartments there sold out fast in a bad market at shockingly high prices. Walk over to the Star Hotel, you can enjoy some of your classic Mission only a block away.

Bring in Musée Mécanique! Laughing Sal is just what the Mission is lacking.

As for the Mission changing, well, yeah, of course. So has Noe Valley, which was a very crunchy funky eclectic affordable hippieland when I was a kid there and now is far less of all those things. I used to be all worked up and nostalgic about all of this, but just accept now. Yay, giving up!