As its reputation for being a “tougher” neighborhood fades from memory, Ingleside has increasingly become a wonderfully diverse last stop on your way south. Flanked with West Portal and the Whole Foods at CCSF / Balboa BART, the neighborhood’s main draw to any visitor will undoubtedly be Ocean Avenue. Talk to nearly anyone on the street and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you a story about Ingleside from decades ago. Travel beyond Ocean Avenue and you’ll find some of San Francisco’s most stunning views from parks atop unexpected hills. With a diverse set of authentic eats, dive bars and even yoga studios, Ingleside feels decidedly more “SF” than other neighborhoods which have become increasingly sterilized thanks to rampant gentrification.
Ocean Ale House
Pop into Ocean Ale House’s friendly atmosphere for the game or a quick drink.(Courtesy of George Anzaldo)This cozy bar with a giant aquatic mural is the social anchor to Ingleside. Packed full of small-town charm with its live performance space, neighborhood regulars, and rotating beers on tap, this Ocean Avenue staple welcomes anyone in with its low-key ambiance. Serving burgers, salads, and some surprisingly delicious fries, Ocean Ale House is the ideal spot for a chill Sunday or post work drink—especially if live music is your jam. // 1314 Ocean Ave, 12pm – 11pm Tuesday and Wednesday, 12pm – 12am Thursday through Sunday, closed Mondays, www.oceanalehouse.com
Brooks Park + Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park
The city from Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park.(Courtesy of Carter Gibson)High on top of Orizaba Avenue (named after the tallest mountain in Mexico), awaits two beautiful parks if you can muscle your way up what must be one of SF’s steepest streets. While Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park offers unrivaled views of the Pacific Ocean from within city borders, it’s a tiny fraction of the space Brooks Park h, just two blocks away. Brooks Park, nestled atop Ingleside, holds one of SF’s best community gardens, is packed with old-growth trees, and has exceptional views. Face one way to watch the sun set over the Pacific or the another to watch the fog roll over Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower. These two parks are truly hidden gems. // Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park, 488 Orizaba Ave.; Brooks Park, 399 Shields St.
Take a deep breath.(Courtesy of Yoga Flow)If you thought the only Yoga Flow in SF was in Russian Hill, you’d be mistaken! This popular studio has a second location right off Ocean Avenue and is one of many yoga studios and gyms in Ingleside. With its exemplary classes, high ceilings, and inviting staff, this studio is one every neighbor should join. // Classes every day, 385 Ashton Ave., yogaflowsf.com
Pho Ha Tien
Pho Ha Tien’s unassuming ambiance.(Courtesy of IHeartMambo S., via Yelp)An unassuming restaurant with more neon signs and posters in their windows than should be allowed, Pho Ha Tien is one of the most packed places for lunch and dinner. Simply put, the eatery is authentic, with delicious pho at absurdly cheap prices. The (unwarranted) mixed reviews about the service shouldn’t deter anyone from letting this restaurant hit the spot on a foggy day. The portions are huge, the menu is even larger, and for what it lacks in decor, Pho Ha Tien makes up for in flavor. // 10am – 9:30pm, closed Tuesdays, 1900 Ocean Ave.
The Ave Bar
“San Francisco style” for sure.(Courtesy of Andria Lo)This is, perhaps, the most quintessentially dive-y dive bar in San Francisco. With unfinished particle board for walls, makeshift decor, and a wholly unique and diverse crowd, The Ave Bar has long been an Ingleside watering hole. Located on Ocean Avenue, and missed if you aren’t looking for it, it has a wide selection of beers on tap and is usually playing the game if it’s on. If you want to hang with the locals, this is the bar to do it at. Oh, and they take credit cards. // 3pm – 2am weekdays, 12pm – 2am weekends, 1607 Ocean Avenue, theavebar.com
Good burgers this way.(courtesy of Peter Breinig via The Chronicle)With the memory of Joe’s Cable Car fresh in our minds, small burger joints are increasingly becoming a rarity in San Francisco. But they’re not all gone—one of the last remaining ones is right off Ocean Avenue. Beep’s Burgers is located directly across the street from new condos and a massive Whole Foods which makes its diminutive stature all the more charming. Despite its size, these burgers are massive, juicy, and worth every penny. // 10am-10pm Monday to Saturday, 11am-9pm Sunday, 1051 Ocean Ave., beepsburgers.com
Fog Lifter Cafe
Patio seating at Fog Lifter.(Courtesy of Fog Lifter Cafe)There are two large coffee shops off Ocean Avenue, but Fog Lifter Cafe has the edge thanks to its vibe, food selection, and distinct lack of birds in cages (not mentioning any names here). Indulge in an array of treats like their apricot crumb cake, salmon avocado panini, chai tea latte and Blue Bottle coffee. If you’re looking for a quiet place to get some work done (they have free wifi), this is it; and the friendly baristas will know your order in no time. // 6:30am-7pm weekdays, 7am-7pm weekends, 1901 Ocean Ave.,fogliftercafe.com