Shopping and Dining Renaissance in Jackson Square

By David Diaz

David Kensington has been based in San Francisco’s Jackson Square for nearly four years. He’s seen first hand how the neighborhood — which was one of the city’s first commercial business districts and is one of the best preserved neighborhoods — has transformed from a haven of antiques and luxe decor, to a vibrant shopping district catering to a younger crowd.

This is the interior designer's district (predating the San Francisco Design Center), where the well-heeled order elegant furnishings, wall coverings, carpets, prints and the like most often only through the trade, although occasionally at retail as well. More than 25 furniture and decorative art galleries, architects and graphic designers line the streets, some of them in buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake. The neighborhood is now undergoing a renaissance to make way for trendy new retailers and restaurants to join the ranks of the prestigious storefronts of Jackson Square.

David recently took a tour of some of his favorite new shops, and revisited his regular staples. He shares his top picks below.

Simon Breitbard Fine Arts

SBFA is a private gallery and art consulting firm providing a unique, service-oriented experience for clients wanting to acquire fine art. SBFA blends traditional gallery-artist representation with in-home art consulting. They specialize in contemporary fine art ranging from established artists to new, emerging talent. At their new Jackson Square gallery, SBFA showcases the work of over 100 local, national, and international artists.

Foster Gwin

Specializing in 17th and 18th century Continental furniture, San Francisco Bay Area Contemporary Art, and Mediterranean antiquities, Foster-Gwin offers a collection that has been carefully edited with an eye to outstanding design, originality, proportion, and color. The gallery is housed in its own historic mid-19th century stables located in Jackson Square, San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood and premier art and antiques destination.

The Rug Company

Founded in 1997, the company has endeavored to create the most desirable rugs in the world. They achieve this by combining the ancient craft of rug making with the creative brilliance of some of today’s most talented designers. The rugs are beautiful, distinctive and original.

Daniel Stein Antiques

Offering a large selection of fine 18th and 19th century English and European antiques, Continental Furniture, Works of Art and Scientific Instruments.  Founded in 1982 and a member of the Art and Antique Dealers League of America.  They exhibit annually at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show. 

William Stout

William Stout Architectural Books carries over 20,000 titles in the fields of architecture, art, urban planning, graphic and industrial design, furniture and interior design, and landscape architecture. For over thirty years, twenty in the current location, it has been a vital resource for architecture and design books, carrying American and international titles, both in and out of print. 

Alton Lane

Customers of this bespoke suit showroom are invited to get comfortable on big leather sofas or pull up a stool at the design bar, all while watching the game on TV.  Select from thousands of fabrics from the best mills in the world and then choose customizable design options to create exactly what you’re looking for. State-of-the-art 3D body scanners during your private appointment ensure your garments fit just the way you like them.

Iron and Resin

Iron & Resin is the brainchild of several friends who, after decades of collective experience building successful clothing brands, decided to turn back the clock and start anew. The result is a small, hand built collection of goods that draws heavily upon the founder’s own lifestyles and experiences.

The Battery

David is a member of the new private club that is the “most inclusive, exclusive club” around. The Battery exists to provide its members an ideal social environment for interaction & inspiration. It plays host to bright minds with big ideas, provides an atmosphere that’s simultaneously stimulating and relaxing, and offers cocktails, cuisine and culture worthy of discussion.

Make a point to check out the following newly opened boutiques and destination restaurants the next time you visit the neighborhood:


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