San Francisco’s ACRE/SF combines two powerful fixes that city dwellers desire: style and caffeine kick if form of a fresh-brewed cup of Joe.
By Grace Chen
The boutique/coffee shop sits on Telegraph Hill, overlooking the hubbub of North Beach. It’s off the Grant Avenue thoroughfare, where most boutiques and eateries call home, but the short hike along Union Street is worth the detour.
ACRE/SF is an extension of Acrimony in Hayes Valley. The extension is a hybrid of street fashion and café culture where shoppers can not only survey the latest styles but also ensconce themselves by the windows to imbibe Blue Bottle lattés and fresh pastries. There is even a mini freezer that stores It’s-It ice cream sandwiches when a cold sweet fix is needed.
The entry opens directly into the café bar where Jared, the friendly barista can offer a nosh and assistance with your sartorial selections. He, after all, models many of the men’s fashion offered in the boutique. Near the counter, a wall displays quirky home accoutrements such as a soap dish with four horse legs.
The central floor space offers mostly accessories and tees for men and women. For women, Hikaru Noguchi knits fetching gloves with the fingerless option. They come in either strong solids like mustard yellow or Fair Isle prints and start at $65. Men should consider the leather wallets that open like an envelope and close with a snap.
Similar to its sister store, ACRE/SF carries men’s and women’s fashions that appeal to those with a contemporary sense of style. Designers include Kai-akkmann, Cheap Monday, Gitman Bros. Vintage and Laugh Cry Repeat. Despite the variety of designers that get showcased on the floor, the vibe channels urban layer-me looks in neutral palettes of khaki, grey and black.
For this fall and winter, women can sport a new twist on the staple hoodie. A grey fur trimmed hoodie with gold sequins by Pvblic adds some edge to a basic staple ($216). Laugh Cry Repeat offers also a seemingly basic terry pullover but the black oversized heart applique adorning the front ($118) makes a statement. Other notable finds include pieces by Kai-akkermann. The long-sleeved grey (or olive) ruched dress ($111) pulls in all the right places to create a slimming effect and the black long military coat ($295) creates sleek lines that cut a sharp silhouette for this fall.
Menswear by Kai-akkermann does not disappoint. The horizontally ribbed sweater in charcoal grey ($128) offers an alternative look to a fashion basic. Also within the collection there are V-neck sweaters and outerwear which includes a black funnel neck jacket ($245) that rises just under the chin to shield the body from gusty winds.
Although most of the pieces at ACRE/SF avoid extreme color, Gitman Bros. Vintage hardly complies. This brand pushes color of every sort in a variety of plaid, solid, tartan and check prints. Starting at $156, men can choose any button-down shirt that best suits his style. Wear it unbuttoned over a smiling banana or striped tee by Cheap Monday ($35). Nearly everything sold on the floor somehow compliments another piece by another designer.
ACRE/SF may stray from the main shopping strip in North Beach but it definitely is worth the uphill stretch to find staple pieces in classic neutrals that have an edge. Sometimes you have to trek the off-beaten path to get the right look but you won’t be trying too hard since there are ice cream sandwiches and Blue Bottle drip coffees to treat you in the right space.