San Francisco as we know it has been split into two halves of the same whole. On one side, there’s “Old” San Francisco, a town with a history of art and activism that stems back to the Beat Generation and, later, the hippie movement. “New” San Francisco is represented by tech innovation, remarkable growth, and an overabundance of young millionaires. While the relationship between these two sides is often contentious, the coexistence between old and new has helped create an environment conducive to some of the most incredible dispensaries in the country. Whether it be a casual lounge where you can medicate and catch a game with friends, or an over-the-top luxury experience, San Francisco has a little bit of everything when it comes to dispensaries.
Funky decor and chill vibes make for a casual experience with top-notch service.
The Green Cross, with its calming blue lights and surprisingly tasteful Dr. Seuss sculptures, is the perfect balance between the new money and the hippie culture that is such an essential part of San Francisco’s DNA. It’s like being inside of the warmest, most comfortable fish tank—except instead of a plastic castle and neon pebbles, it’s filled with a whole mess of tasty jazz cabbage. Bonus points to Green Cross for making national headlines a few years ago when a genius Girl Scout posted up out front and made a killing slinging cookies to stoners. Be sure to bring cash, as they don’t accept cards.
Opulent aesthetics and a reasonably priced menu lets you feel like a baller without breaking the bank.
What can be said about this high class mini-chain that hasn’t already been said by dozens of publications? Everybody seems to have recognized the unique design and customer service experience that the The Apothecarium offers. Stepping into any of their three San Francisco locations has the feel of walking into a designer clothing store, or a Michelin star restaurant. The experience caters to you, without insane price tags. This is an ideal place for new users, or to take an out-of-town visitor who still buys into the stigma surrounding enjoying a little bit of kind bud. It’ll change the way they look at things.
Lower Nob Hill
Open late with a massive menu, Grass Roots is basically the Taco Bell of cannabis clinics.
While San Francisco is a notoriously sleepy city, Grass Roots offers a reliable late-night option (open daily until 10 P.M.) to those who are winding down, or for those whose nights are just getting started. Situated in the perfect neighborhood for an evening out, the interior appropriately channels a speakeasy vibe with its solid wooden bar and deep green wallpaper. It’s a shame they don’t offer on-site consumption, as this is the type of place you might want to spend an evening. Fortunately, that’s easily forgiven since their menu is enormous, and the service is on point.
Barbary Coast Collective
Old-school lounge vibe offers an experience that goes beyond a wide selection of product.
When I was young, my dad used to tell me stories about the cigar bars where he would go for an entire afternoon just to smoke and chew the fat with the other old guys. When I was finally old enough to go to one of these with my dad, I was sorely disappointed by the cramped loft above the cigar shop where we all sat huddled around one small TV. Barbary Coast Collective is what happens when cigar bars are actually cool, and instead of tobacco everyone is sucking down that tasty reefer. While the process of getting into the lounge can be tedious, the one-of-a-kind experience is worth the effort.
No-frills location allows for a refreshingly straightforward experience.
Dispensaries sometimes feel like they have to have some sort of theme or identity. Almost every location on this list could be described as “the *blank* of weed!” This does not ring true for Bloom Room, which offers a straightforward and unintimidating experience for those looking to meet the green goddess without any of the extra noise. If you’ve aged out of the “trendy” dispensaries and are looking for something a little more adult, give the BR a look. And if you’re looking for something on the adventurous side, they boast a lounge equipped with Volcano vaporizers.
Inner Richmond, Bernal Heights
Like Whole Foods and a fancy hotel lobby had a baby that loves chronic.
Harvest does a lot of little things that other dispensaries don’t. For starters, they sling a ton of all-natural fare. Their products aren’t stashed under glass countertops either; rather, you can check them out and pop them in a provided basket. The place has been criticized for its price, but look, people don’t go to Whole Foods because it’s cheap. They go because they prefer the finer things in life, and can afford to indulge. Think of Harvest as a Whole Foods—except instead of organic field greens, it’s that all-natural-extra-stanky herb.
Steampunk-themed dispensary offers a lot more than over-the-top design.
We understand that a “Steampunk-themed cannabis club designed by a Burning Man artist” is a little on the nose, but it’s hard not to be impressed by everything Urban Pharm has to offer. In addition to the one-of-a-kind aesthetic, they have a dab bar, which is like an espresso bar serving hits of concentrates instead of java. They also have a rare open-flame permit, which allows consumption of smokeables on the premises. Despite its aggressively San Francisco vibe, Urban Pharm is the best place in the city for on-site consumption.
Varied technology creates a customer-driven experience.
Some dispensaries let you smell the bud. Some will give you a magnifying glass so you can get a closer look at all of those precious little nug crystals. Medithrive is the only place where you can use a camera and an HD monitor to get a closer look at that righteous weed. Although Medithrive may still be working to flawlessly incorporate technology in a meaningful way, the concept at this dispensary is likely a look into what we can expect in the future, especially in a city as tech-obsessed as San Francisco.
San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC)
SoMa, Lower Haight
Edibles crafted by a local legend top the list of attractions.
There’s a lot to like about SPARC. They have friendly staff, and a ton of different products. They test all of their flowers to make sure they’re of the highest standard (pun most definitely intended). They offer special events, like game nights. All of that said, there’s no greater selling point than their employment of local legend the “Truffle Man”. Before making edibles as a member of the SPARC team, this hero’s now-famous treats were a favorite amongst the dazed crowds of Dolores Park. The Truffle Man’s edibles are something that no other dispensary can offer.
Intimate service and competitive prices prove that simplicity is sometimes the best policy.
Compared to the other entries on this list, Cookie Co.415 may seem unremarkable. It’s small, and lacks the special features typically required to be considered one of best. What they do really well, however, happens to be the stuff people care most about: Prices and customer service. Their prices are as low as any in the city, and the fact that they’re a smaller, more modest operation means that you receive one-on-one attention from budtenders that you won’t get anywhere else. Sometimes you just need to get the most green for the least amount of green possible. Cookie Co.415 fills that need perfectly.
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