The Best Services in SF in 2017
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Plumber: Gateway Rooter & Plumbing
3101 24th St. (at Folsom St.), 415-336-9155
In a plumbing crisis, the best plumber is the one who calls back fast. Daniel Guerrero and his crew of 10 are that and more: Not only will Gateway show up after hours or on a weekend, but it’ll charge a price that’s better than fair. Unclogging a toilet will set you back about $80, but if it can be fixed with a plunger, you won’t pay a cent. Above all, you have Guerrero’s discretion: He’s found a lot of bizarre stuff in toilets—“This is San Francisco,” he says—but he won’t make a peep about what.
Runner-up: Flow Form Plumbing
This Hayward-based outfit takes the suck out of moving, whether you’re going across town or bailing on the Bay Area (Godspeed). Local moves command an hourly rate—about $175 per hour when you pack, about $195 per hour when they do (though prices can climb in busy summer months). Either way, Upline will tackle the big stuff, like blanketing the couch and crating the TV. If you’re in a big place, the company sends someone in advance to do an inventory and give you an accurate quote, saving you sticker shock on moving day.
Runner-up: Gentle Giant
Housekeeper: Zen Home
Zen Home treats your home as a sanctuary and you as the abbot. If you want your home to smell like a garden, the cleaners will diffuse essential oils in the air, but if you’re scent-averse, they won’t (about $225 to clean a three-bedroom). And they will alphabetize your library after they dust—but if you’ve perfected your own system of (dis)organization, they’ll take photos so they know exactly how to replace those books.
Runner-up: Home Green Home
Task Service: TaskRabbit
Sometimes the obvious choice is still the best one. Case in point: TaskRabbit. Its interface lists taskers’ hours and prices up front, before you book a job, and its workers respond in minutes, not hours. Highly rated handymen clock in at about $65 per hour, which works out to about $75 to childproof the cabinets in a one-bedroom apartment. You’ll never have to drill another hole again.
Runner-up: College Labor
Food Delivery: DoorDash
Stuck in Parkside and craving pho at 8 p.m. on a Friday? DoorDash has your back. Unlike the competition, it doesn’t bump up order minimums at busy times, and it draws from a wide range of the city’s most popular restaurants, including Burma Superstar and Ike’s. Sometimes menu prices will be a few dollars higher than in the dining room; delivery fees vary from 99 cents to $7.99, based on the restaurant.
Cell Phone Repair: Mobile Kangaroo
495 Bay St. (near Taylor St.), 415-923-6700
Because going without a phone can be downright debilitating, Mobile Kangaroo does its best to get you back in business fast: The shop offers loaner smartphones to cover the repair time. The technicians will fix any kind of phone—the shop is Apple certified—and can handle snafus from data loss to water damage. (Fees depend on the manufacturer: iPhone screen repair starts at $129, while a Samsung screen fix ranges from $150 to $400.) Bonus: If you need a simple fix and parts are on hand, repairs can be made while you wait.
Runner-up: Fix My Phone SF
Weed Delivery: Meadow
Meadow’s website makes scoring ganja more satisfying than getting any other prescription. (When was the last time a Walgreens clerk brought you a free joint to go with your Whoopi Goldberg–branded PMS bath soak?) Not all S.F. dispensaries are on Meadow’s roster; you’ll see nearby options based on your location. But delivery of your chosen stash of joints, edibles, flowers, or concentrates is free and guaranteed within the hour, and Meadow doesn’t tack on fees for ordering from more than one dispensary. Bonus for antsy types: The drivers always text when they’re a few minutes away.
Grocery Delivery: Good Eggs
Good Eggs takes the guesswork out of trusting strangers with your grocery shopping. No rock-hard peaches or wilted lettuce here: Good Eggs fills your kitchen with perfectly ripe produce, dairy, and breads from local small farms and bakeries (with same-day delivery if you order by 1 p.m.). Prices skew more toward Whole Foods than your average farmers’ market, but delivery is free on orders above $60 (it’s $9.99 otherwise). Items arrive well packed, with cold goods in their own ice-pack-filled box.
Pest Control: Pestec Integrated Pest Management Providers
1555 Yosemite Ave. (near Keith St.), Ste. 46, 415-671-0300
For more than 20 years, Pestec has been squashing the city’s bugs using alternative methods—and bringing in the chemicals only as a last resort (although it can’t help you with termites). Ants get cleaned up and their points of entry sealed, with low-toxicity gel traps inserted into the colony (a three-visit ant treatment for a single-family home runs around $475). For bedbugs, inspectors use steam and industrial heaters to zap the critters.
Runner-up: Standard Termite & Pest Solutions
Bike Repair: Warm Planet Bikes
1098A Market St. (near McAllister St.), 415-974-6440
Bike commuters who blow a tire on their morning route are in for a rude surprise: A majority of the city’s bike repair shops don’t start stirring until about 11 a.m. But starting at 8 a.m. sharp, you can leave your busted bike with Warm Planet owner Kash Haas and hop on BART or Muni. If you need to ride away stat (and Haas’s hands aren’t full), he’ll do the repair on the spot ($17 for a new tube plus installation). The work area isn’t behind a barrier, making it easy for novices to see the action. Haas’s bikeside manner is genial and patient, and if your eyes aren’t glued to your phone, you’re likely to pick up a pointer or two.
Runner-up: Huckleberry Bicycles
3225 Sacramento St. (near Lyon St.), 415-771-5837
Amsterdam-born master gilder Peter Werkhoven is the rare framer who makes all his frames by hand (from $300 for an 8-by-10-inch piece). Though he’s done Rembrandts and Picassos for art collectors, Werkhoven is equally content to devise a contemporary frame for a prized print. And he’s the guy to call if you bust that irreplaceable vintage frame on your old family photo: He can suture it back together with surgical precision.
Runner-up: Small Works SF
Parking App: Parking Panda
Comparison-shopping parking garages used to mean circling several blocks while doing mental math with 15-minute fractions. But Parking Panda makes it possible to see the cheapest garage spots before you leave the house, and even reserve the one of your choice (for a booking fee of 50 cents). Price gougers immediately stand out on the map, as do valet-only garages—a boon for stubborn self-parkers.
Salon: Cowboys and Angels
207 Powell St. (at O’Farrell St.), Ste. 400, 415-362-8516
Superstar stylist David Tolls is one of the rare hair artists who master any style or hair type. From long, thick curls to ultraprecise pixies, he does it all (from $120 for a women’s cut by Tolls). On the color side, Tori Piellusch has built a rabid fan base for her natural-looking balayage (partial highlights from $185). You might show up at this industrial-chic salon looking like a mess, but you’ll walk out feeling like a hotter mess.
Runner-up: Population Salon
Barbershop: J.P. Kempt
351 Divisadero St. (at Oak St.), 415-437-1300
A proper barbershop should be equal parts grooming service and social experience, and this Lower Haight spot nails both. Owner Shorty Maniace has created a time warp of a shop where clients can relax with a tipple while getting a haircut ($50), straight razor shave ($45), beard trim with lather ($30), or dry beard trim ($20). When you want to sculpt an unruly mountain-man beard into a Bandholz or Garibaldi, go see Jourdan Kan, a true beard artist.
Runner-up: Peoples Barber & Shops
Spa: International Orange
2044 Fillmore St. (at California St.), 415-563-5000
There are day spas and then there are spa retreats, where you hole up to ply yourself with Gwyneth Paltrow–level wellness for days. International Orange is a hybrid of the two: an urban oasis where you can slip away for a day of Zenned-out bliss. IO is known for its In Fiore facial ($215), which combines light upper-body compressions and brushing to stimulate the lymph system with a cleanse, a peel, and a Slap, Tap, and Roll massage. Start with a yoga class to begin flushing toxins, follow up with a facial and a massage (from $130), and relax on the roof deck before returning to real life.
Runner-up: Archimedes Banya
Korean Spa: Imperial Day Spa
1875 Geary Blvd. (near Steiner St.), 415-771-1114
At this unassuming yet serene day spa near Japan Center, a mere $25 gets you day access to the hot and cold pools and the saunas. What you really come here for, however, is the joy of being scrubbed within an inch of your life. The most basic treatment ($90 for 80 minutes) combines a vigorous Korean scrubbing technique with a Swedish massage and will leave you feeling like a piece of smooth putty. The spa and treatment areas are segregated by gender, but check your modesty at the door, because soaking, scrubbing, and steaming all happen in the nude.
Runner-up: Pearl Spa and Sauna
Massage: The Blue Buddha
1122 Sutter St. (near Larkin St.), 877-572-0914
This cozy Tendernob studio offers everything from Swedish and deep-tissue massage to Reiki energy work and acupuncture. During an hour-long massage ($90), the therapists use slow strokes, pressure as light or deep as you want, and guided breathing to melt away your computer-posture knots. Sessions begin with a discussion of your aches in a private waiting room that feels more like a living room. Afterward, your practitioner meets you back on the couch with tea and snacks to demonstrate at-home stretches and breathing techniques.
Runner-up: Beyond Bodywork
Mani-Pedi: Q Spa
604 Divisadero St. (at Hayes St.), 415-885-1272
This five-seat salon sticks to the basics, but it does basics oh so well. Whether you’re in the chair for a mani-pedi ($48) or a gel ($80), the little indulgent touches (jojoba and essential oils for the cuticles, sea salt scrubs) are on point. But what separates Q Spa from the pack is the staff’s attentiveness. Lest you risk marring a just-lacquered nail by grabbing your phone, your manicurist will unlock the screen for you—and give you a pillow to keep your phone from sliding off your lap. Runner-up: LuxSF
Waxer: La Tira Wax Studio
1301 Church St. (at 25th St.), 415-812-5147
When you’re lying back on a table with your legs butterflied as a complete stranger applies wax to your nether regions, you may question your life choices. But even in that moment, La Tira feels like a good choice. Online booking is easy, the aestheticians are good conversationalists, and the space is distractingly cute without being girly or pink. La Tira offers waxing and Brazilians for both women ($62) and men ($95), along with a 10 percent discount if you return within five weeks. As waxing goes, La Tira is as close as you’ll get to painless.
Runner-up: Stript Wax Bar
Brow Shaper: Dermal Essentials
1738 Union St. (at Octavia St.), Ste. 101, 510-230-7059
It’s official: Big, bountiful brows are in. And Erika Lee at Dermal Essentials is an expert at painlessly creating perfect, natural-looking arches ($27). She can even guide you to redemption when you’ve overzealously plucked your brows into points befitting a Disney villain. Need further proof that you’re in good hands? Lee is also part of the glam squad for the Golden State Warriors dance team.
Runner-up: Lucid Beauty
Tailor: Wah’s Fashion
833 Market St. (near 4th St.), Ste. 316, 415-543-7123
Even though Wah’s changed owners last year, the craftsmanship coming out of this no-frills Mid-Market shop is as top-notch as ever. Sure, new owner Yan can hem with the best of them (from $14) or expertly carve away that awkward waist gap from a pair of skinny jeans. But she can also be trusted with finicky operations like repairing a swath of slackened smocking with fine elastic thread ($10)—a job that more highfalutin tailors will charge an armhole and a pant leg to complete.
Runner-up: Cable Car Tailors
Dry Cleaner: Russ Cleaners & Laundry
1515 Waller St. (near Clayton St.), 415-566-3725
At the rare neighborhood cleaners worth crossing town for, owners Jason and Winnie Glennon do an above-average job for below-average prices. They balk at the industry practice of charging higher rates for women’s clothes than men’s: Dry-cleaning a blouse and a men’s button-down will each set you back an equal-opportunity $4.75. The Haight shop sees its share of Burning Man casualties—including, once, a disaster of dust and wax that had once been a fur vest, which Jason Glennon worked back into pristine, selfie-worthy condition.
Runner-up: Ocean Dry Cleaning
Bra Fitter: Alla Prima
539 Hayes St. (near Octavia St.), 415-864-8180
The impeccably trained fitters at this European lingerie seller work with your budget and tastes, whether you want basic beige (from $79) or a $500 cloud of La Perla lace. They measure for band size and then use a “fit bra”—a basic, universally flattering style—as a starting point for pinpointing cup size. Best of all, the fitters are attentive but know how to disappear if you need space.
Runner-up: Toujours Lingerie
Jewelry Repair: A Jeweler’s Place
2015 Balboa St. (near 21st Ave.), 415-668-6662
This unassuming Outer Richmond studio offers onsite repairs at prices so reasonable you’ll feel like you’re committing a heist. Resetting a loose sapphire in gold costs $40 to $50; sizing down a plain gold band is around $40. It helps to plan ahead: Owner Carol Reed’s repair work is so prized that it’ll usually take her two weeks to a month to get a piece in mint condition.
Runner-up: Elite Fine Jewelry
Babysitting Service: Trusted
Trusted aims to make booking a qualified, vetted sitter as easy as hailing an Uber. But unlike Uber, Trusted isn’t a platform: It’s a traditional business that hires its sitters as employees and trains them. All sitters have CPR certification, are current on their vaccines, and have passed a background check. (Rates run from $15 to $25 per hour plus a 25 percent service fee.) Once they arrive, sitters can set up a live video stream that anxious parents can check on their phones. And in the event of a last-minute cancellation, Trusted will find a sub.
Uber for Kids: Kango
Kango’s babysitters on wheels make it possible for parents to schlep their kids across town without actually doing any schlepping. Drivers are verified as both drivers (DMV record checks, vehicle inspections) and babysitters (periodic background checks, sitter training). The minimum fare is $16, and babysitting rates are $15 to $20 per hour, with a $9 monthly subscription fee. The best part? Kids don’t have to have phones of their own; you communicate with the driver through yours.
Birthday Party Venue: PlayHaven
254 Laguna Honda Blvd. (near Plaza St.), 415-702-6555
PlayHaven is a bonanza for the five-and-under set designed with parents in mind. Parking is a cinch, and the party room comes set up with tables and tablecloths (from $325 for a weekend party). The play space is stocked with so many options—from a train table and a painting wall to a small climbing wall and a mini–bounce house outside—that there’s no need to bring in an entertainer. And when it’s all over, PlayHaven’s staff cleans up.
Summer Camp: Galileo
Multiple locations, 800-854-3684
Camp Galileo packs its weeklong sessions (from $399) with kidtacular hands-on activities (building catapults! erecting pint-size castles!) for campers in pre-K through fifth grade. Unlike the just-for-kicks programs out there, Galileo roots its games in concepts from science and art: potential and kinetic energy, bird’s-eye perspective, centripetal force. Activities unfold not via textbooks but through a narrative arc that builds over the week with themes like Medieval Adventure and Galileo Amusement Park. But even the most fun lessons must come to an end: Afternoons are devoted to outdoor play.
Runner-up: Parks Plus Creation
After-School Program: Bay Area Video Coalition
2727 Mariposa St. (near Bryant St.), 415-861-3282
The Bay Area Video Coalition’s Next Gen program teaches teens 14 to 18 how to use digital-media storytelling for social change. The Mission district nonprofit offers tracks including audio engineering, filmmaking, and game code design. (An application is required, though kids can be novices when they start.) Students come out with a richer media skill set, but they’re no poorer for it: Next Gen is totally free.
Runner-up: S.F. Mime Troupe
Dog Walker: Bright Lights Dog Training
Shelley Leong-Peterson isn’t just a dog walker; she’s a dog trainer. If Spike has a habit of pulling on his leash, Leong-Peterson will teach him to heel ($30 per dog for a group walk). Her list of credentials—including pet first aid certification and dog pack management—runs longer than that of most childcare providers, but that’s not overkill in a city where pets are family. Leong-Peterson also has an uncanny knack for photographing her pup clients smiling mid-leap while playing on their walks.
Runner-up: Diggity Dog
Dog Kennel: Wag Hotels
25 14th St. (at Harrison St.), 415-876-0700
Wag Hotels gives neurotic dog people peace of mind. Like a regular hotel, it’s open 24 hours, so you can check in or out anytime. Perks like the roof deck and splash pool don’t come cheap: Accommodations start at $54 and go up to $150 for the Ultra Suite. But given that top dogs are treated to a 200-square-foot room, a king-size bed, a TV with movie picks (like Beverly Hills Chihuahua), nightly two-way video chats, and a bedtime belly scratch and story, $150 doesn’t sound as steep.
Runner-up: Hound Lounge
Cat Kennel: Feline Wishes & Caviar Dreams
600 Bryant St. (near 4th St.), 415-543-5365
Since boarding cats is almost as hard on owners as it is on felines, the least-worst solution is to leave them with cat people. The caretakers at this cats-only kennel get to know their charges—and let them take turns wandering the halls or batting toy mice in the play area (from $40 per day). The staff heed instructions on medication and cat personality quirks, and they might even send you snapshots of your kitty jumping for a treat.
Runner-up: Kitty Bed & Breakfast
Vet: Pets Unlimited Care Center
2343 Fillmore St. (at Washington St.), 415-554-3000
When you’ve been up at night with a sick pet, you come to appreciate a 24-hour vet with reasonable fees (around $70 for an exam, not including tests). The S.F. SPCA’s vet hospital in Pacific Heights is there when other vets are asleep, plus it offers payment plans and a financial assistance program. It’s also incredibly accommodating if you want to remain by your pet’s side after surgery—a comfort to anyone who can’t stand to be away from their pooch or kitty.
Runner-up: Park Animal Hospital
Bridal Salon: Alt Brides
709 Hyde St. (near Post St.), 415-316-8062
Having launched the world’s first bridal salon in a truck last year, sisters Marisa Montalvo and Kristin Whitlock put down roots in a petite Tenderloin storefront in January. They’ve quickly built a roster of independent, woman-owned labels, with most dresses between $2,000 and $2,500. You won’t find designers carried by any other bridal shop in San Francisco here, but you will find a few rare sights: gowns with straps or even dramatic bell sleeves, novel flourishes like hand-painted or hand-dipped skirts, and several plus-size numbers stylish enough to elicit a squeal and a twirl.
Runner-up: Loho Bride
Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist
2068 Union St. (near Webster St., inside Blu Bungalow), 415-860-5872
Glamourist owner Jane Kim knows that when some people ask for “smoky eyes,” they want just a bit of smudged liner, while others want the full Kardashian. Kim will go as glam as you want, but she favors a natural style that lets brides look like themselves—but not like they’ve done it themselves. The top-of-the-line Glamour Package ($2,150) comes with a three-hour trial at Kim’s Marina studio, travel to three locations on the big day, a hair and makeup change for the reception, and six hours of touch-ups (handy for criers).
Photographer: Gladys Jem
Gladys Allen makes it her mission to document weddings with the intimacy of a family member or friend. She defuses the staginess of the whole situation by making it a policy to scrap that first round of awkward, just-getting-warmed-up photos—and asking questions that get the pair focusing on each other, not the camera. Packages start at $3,400 for six hours of shooting and include the entire download of high-res files. The result: effortless, fly-on-the-wall photos of people wearing their feelings on their faces, not a superglued smile in sight.
Runner-up: Kara Brodgesell
Music: Ivy Hill Entertainment
This artist-run entertainment company is a one-stop shop for all flavors of wedding day music. Hire a string quartet for the ceremony and cocktail hour (around $2,000), a high-energy dance band (around $6,000), or even a vintage jazz band called, yes, Hella Fitzgerald (around $7,000). Ivy Hill also keeps a full roster of DJs who can play an instrument—so your guitarist during cocktail hour and your reception DJ can be one and the same person (about $2,500).
Runner-up: Pop Rocks
Wedding Planner: Glow Event Design
3547 Sacramento St. (near Laurel St.), 415-967-0553
To us civilians, a wedding is an open bar preceded by a homily. To wedding planners, it’s a mini-Rome that must be built and broken down in a day. Glow founder Christina Millikin and her squad of planners are worthy architects: They shape everything that a guest will see or touch, from reception transportation down to the hem on a dinner napkin (prices start at $12,000 for logistics-only planning). What puts Millikin in the planner hall of fame is her on-the-fly cool: During a wine country deluge, she once moved an entire ceremony to an unplanned venue at the drop of a hat.
Runner-up: Laurie Arons Special Events
Florist: Nancy Liu Chin Designs
548 5th St. (near Bryant St.), 415-757-0393
Nancy Liu Chin deploys flowers like sculpture: She can shrink a golf course to the scale of a garden with canopies of blooms or turn a restaurant patio into a wonderland with a cascade of wisteria (from $6,500 for weddings). Most important, she doesn’t shy away from a challenge. When you’re getting married, you don’t want a florist who wilts under stress—you want one who will bring a scissor lift into City Hall to make your floral arch stand up tall.
Runner-up: Studio Mondine
1080 Howard St. (near 7th St.), firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether it’s serving a beloved family recipe or re-creating the cocktail you had on your first date, this small team works closely with couples to perfect their wedding feast. Fogcutter eschews the stuffy caterer vibe with easygoing staff and fun extras like a “late night” menu with doughnuts and truffle-salt-dusted tater tots. And it does all this using local, seasonal ingredients at the non-gag-inducing price of $80 to $120 per plate.
Runner-up: Global Gourmet
Bakery: A Spoonful of Sugar
185 Arkansas St. (near Mariposa St.), Studio B, 415-944-9994
The demands placed on wedding cake—architectural stability, hours of stamina—often produce a dry, cardboardy disappointment. Kathleen DeManti turns out moist tiered cakes in flavor combos that would be at home on an ice cream sundae menu: banana cake with salted caramel and vanilla buttercream, chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream and hazelnut crunch (from $8 per slice). DeManti’s a buttercream purist: Hers tastes like butter; it’s the fillings that supply the sweetness.
Runner-up: the Whole Cake
Guest Transportation: Nationwide Limousine Service
Whether you’re looking to make an entrance in a Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce ($110 to $135 per hour) or shuttle a gaggle of guests in party buses ($85 to $200 per hour), Nationwide Limousine Service will make it happen. But its secret weapon is its cadre of motorized cable cars. For $300 per hour, you and your guests can ride off into the sunset (or the Outer Sunset—these babies go everywhere).
Runner-up: Events West Tours and Travel
Pool: Hamilton Pool
1900 Geary Blvd. (at Steiner St.), 415-292-2008
Not only is this city-run facility heated and flooded with natural light, but it also boasts one of the only water slides in San Francisco. Plus, the renovations are recent and admission is cheap ($6 for adults, $1 for children). Want to throw a swim party? You can rent the entire place for up to 75 guests on Sundays for $700. Runner-up: Embarcadero YMCA
Outdoor Workout: Cable Car Chase
3575 Sacramento St. (near Locust St.), 415-800-7575
Sprinting to catch a bus may make you feel like an athlete, but have you ever tried to beat a cable car up a San Francisco hill? On the last Thursday of every month, this free challenge starts in Presidio Heights at A Runner’s Mind. After a roughly two-mile jog to Bay and Hyde Streets, it’s on: You speed after a cable car for two blocks up Hyde’s 24 percent–grade hill while the trolley’s riders cheer you on and the driver talks trash and rings the bell. Usually only a few people can pull out the six-minute-mile pace it takes to best the cable car, but the fun is in the chase, right?
Runner-up: San Francisco Recreation & Parks’ Zumba in the Parks
Indoor Cycling: 17th Street Athletic Club
3265 17th St. (at Capp St.), Ste. 104 , 415-851-1784
Shannon Boughn and Marissa Axell deliver the hardest cycling classes you’ll find in the city (Axell is a Category 1 competitive cyclist). While the trend among group fitness instructors is to praise you for being a magical unicorn, Boughn and Axell give you the feedback and encouragement you need to actually improve ($25 for drop-ins). Thanks to the app-syncing, top-of-the-line Stages bikes at their studio, clients can take home a personalized report after each class.
TRX: TRX Training Center
1660 Pacific Ave. (near Van Ness Ave.), 415-655-4797
Founded by the man who invented TRX, this studio is the holy grail of suspension training—which pits your body weight against gravity using those dangly yellow straps that hang from the ceiling at the gym. The instructors here work you into a wicked burn by forcing you to engage your core and countless small muscles to stabilize yourself and control your movements ($60 for a three-session pack). Expect to be quivering on the floor by the class’s end.
Boot Camp: HitFit
1150 Sutter St. (near Larkin St.), 415-440-8269
Led by boxers and MMA champs, HitFit’s four-week boxing boot camp will whip you into fighting shape. The early-a.m. program ($500 for nonmembers) meets every weekday and tunes workouts to participants’ abilities, building up to increasingly demanding challenges that mix outdoor and studio work. One morning you might jog from the Nob Hill studio to Lafayette Park for agility drills; the next you might be wailing on a punching bag and tossing around a medicine ball. That sense of triumph at the end of the month? Totally earned.
Yoga: Yoga Tree
Multiple locations, yogatreesf.com
Want to do yoga to live music? Want to bring your baby with you? Want to move slowly while sweating your eyes out in a hot room? This family of studios has it all ($19 for single classes; $155 for all-access monthly memberships). Though there’s plenty to please the yoga dilettante, committed yogis keep coming back for the studios’ mix of challenging practice and friendly support. No one gets the side-eye for using a prop to safely get into position.
Runner-up: Ritual Hot Yoga
592 3rd St. (at Brannan St.), 415-735-1928
Avant-Barre sets its Signature class to an upbeat, clubby soundtrack. The faster music helps you survive the strength and cardio portion, which will definitely get your quads quaking (single classes are $29; monthly plans start at $149). Because the studio caps classes at 20, the instructors have ample time to do individual work and make hands-on adjustments. For hardcore barre-istas, the studio offers Sculpt, which promises to “help you discover a new type of soreness.”
Runner-up: Maiden Lane Studios
Personal Trainer: Ryan Miller
1860 Lombard St. (near Buchanan St.), 310-699-4318
Ryan Miller of Rise Up Fitness will coach you at his Marina studio or your home, using everything from Pilates to weight lifting to high-intensity interval training ($1,200 for 10 sessions). You’ll come to Miller because he meets you at your level. You’ll stick with him to reap the benefits of his laser focus—he’ll make sure you squat, dip, lunge, and crunch with proper form. Most of all, Miller’s infectious energy will leave you feeling like a badass even when the workout slays you.
Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco