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Curbed Cup 1st round: (4) Hayes Valley vs. (13) Bernal Heights

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

Hayes Valley.
Photo by CTG-SF/Flickr

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, kicks off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (albeit fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which hoods should advance. Let the eliminations begin!

Hayes Valley

A neighborhood where Victorians mingle with contemporary homes, the centrally located Hayes Valley neighborhood is awash in new construction, new money, and new boutiques and restaurants.

But don’t even think of renting or buying here unless you have cash to burn—and then some. Rents in Hayes Valley are some of the highest in the city. And homes can be purchased upward of $1 million. At least.

But what this neighborhood lacks in affordable housing it makes up for in location (transportation in Hayes Valley is excellent, with several Muni lines running through it, as well as close proximity to the Van Ness Muni station) and amenities galore.

Patricia’s Green, for example, is the neighborhood’s unofficial town square, which features a pop-up movie theater, cafes, and ice cream shops. Elsewhere, Rich Table spinoff RT Rotisserie proved wildly successful in 2017. And Portland-based ice cream shop Salt and Straw, which opened to long queues, provided much-needed sugar rushes to hungry denizens.

Bernal Heights.
Bernal Heights.
Photo by Todd Lappin

Bernal Heights

Once thought of as San Francisco’s last remaining neighborhood untouched by gentrification, that, well, is no longer the case. Bernal Heights has turned into one of the coolest, priciest, and most contentious neighborhoods.

First off, there’s that park. Ah, and what a park it is. Boasting 360-degree views of the city, Bernal Heights Park is topped by a microwave transmission tower, making it all the more curious. What’s more, this is the preferred park for dog owners.

Not so cool? Rent and home prices. Fire-damages teardowns go for a small fortune in 2017. Life is easy and breezy here, but only if you have heaps of cash.

While Bernal Heights didn’t have as many eatery openings as it did in 2016—El Buen Comer, Old Devil Moon, and Barebottle Brew Company, just to name a few—it’s still home to some of the best bars in the city. And the area’s residents are some of the friendliest, too, with lots of old-timers and natives still hanging around, staving off eviction.

What’s more, it’s also one of the few hoods with its own blog, Bernalwood, proving that NextDoor is hardly a neighborhood necessity.

But now, the decision is in your hands: Which area should advance? Cast your vote below, and may the best neighborhood win.