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Barbary Coast Art Store | Adventuring Women Northern California Things to do , San Francisco things to do, Writer, Travel Writer,

Artists & Craftsman Supply

555 Pacific Street, 415 931-1900

“This floor used to be a dance hall. Downstairs was a brothel, and we are certified haunted” said Justine, the assistant manager.  “There is a cave entrance to the tunnel system that used to connect North Beach to the waterfront and China Town. You can see it downstairs.” Could you turn down such an invitation?  Bright, rainbow chaos, crammed onto every shelf, entices you inside. Look closely, you find order.

Are you here for more information than supplied in the Vacation Rental Travels article? No pictures of this dazzling store were included.

Entrance to the Hippodrome Building

Entrance to the Hippodrome Building

Artists & Craftsman Supply is located in the Hippodrome Building, built in 1907, right after the earthquake. This store is chocked full of art supplies including 16 oz. tubes of oil paints, articulated wood manikins, quirky toys and magic kits for children of all ages.

Looking for a really different souvenir? Turn left inside the front door for novelty items such as the the inflatable beard, pictured in the gallery below. Its sheer silliness will make you hoot and guffaw. Blow up the beard and put it on for a stylish costume.  It’s a cheap laugh at $3.95. Go ahead, they won’t be laughing at you; they’ll be laughing with you.

The floor in the basement is covered in 14 foot circular Jerry Garcia’s dream-come-true type spin/tie-dye motifs. Check it out on the way to the cave.  Are you interested in what ‘s at the back of the cave?  You’ll see it in the gallery.

“Who is haunting the store and where are they,” You ask?

“There is a sad woman and a cranky guy, who scares people from time to time. He hangs out, downstairs near the freight doors.” Your gracious hostess enlightens you.

I took off to the very spot, but he didn’t manifest that day. If you go and see him, please leave a comment. I want to know all about it.

The Hippodrome Building is on the “Barbary Coast” map, but mentions nothing about its present use. Guidebooks are outdated quickly. It’s important to get out and see what delight you find, for a location, on that day.

Pacific Avenue lies in the center of the old Barbary Coast now known as the Jackson Square Historic District. You walk by bright for-the-trade-only interior design emporiums, explore clean, shiny stores with museum quality antiques and auction houses that don’t advertise on PBS. The tech company Weebley is in this neighborhood.