Vibrant, gorgeous and openly gay, Kendall Chase just might be the quintessential San Francisco blogger. With 19,200 Instagram followers at @chasingkendall and a website full of stylish advise on anything from winter hoodies to hosting a party, Chase is the first guest of our new series featuring local influencers and their favorite neighborhoods. Here’s where you’re likely to spot this blogger extraordinaire and why Castro has her heart.
How long have you lived in the Castro?
Just over 4 years.
What do you love about living in the Castro?
Oh, so many things. It’s central to the whole city, I can hop on Muni and go just about anywhere. It’s lively but not overboard (unless you live above Badlands). Most importantly, it’s the heart of SF culture. The Castro and its history is an integral part of what makes this city so special and unique. I feel lucky to live here, and to be happy, free, and gay—knowing how many people fought for me to do so.
Where do you get coffee and why?
Verve or Revéille. Usually Verve because it’s the new kid on the block, very hip and also right below where my best friends live. Both have great coffee and food options though, just depends on where I’m headed!
What’s your favorite neighborhood bar and why?
The Mix is a quintessential Castro neighborhood bar that holds so many memories from growing up and partying in the Castro. Hi Tops is another favorite. When this bar opened, it was like a gift from God! Finally, a well-decorated, themed bar with great cocktails, beer and delicious food comes to the neighborhood. And there’s also Blackbird, which is great for both unique and classic cocktails, it has a pool table (at a cocktail bar!), and there’s always a seat.
Where do you like to eat in the neighborhood and why?
My go-to is Starbelly. It just never disappoints. I also love Frances—my girlfriend first took me there for my birthday dinner and I was not only shocked by the fair priced bill, but also by the fact that we finally had something this cute in the Castro. The dishes change daily, but the best part are the small tapas style appetizers, so you can try a bunch of things. Plus they do this awesome ‘pay for as much wine as you drink’ thing, which I’m all about.
Describe the perfect Castro day:
The perfect Castro day consists of walking down my hill for brunch (probably at Starbelly), grabbing one more drink at Hi Tops to pregame the huge drag show that is about to commence at the Castro Theater. It’s such a treat to go to a showing there. Next up, walking up the hill heading to my best friend’s place nearby for dinner and rooftop hangs. Not many know, but there are some great views of the city from the Castro! Maybe we stay there all night or maybe we head out for a nightcap, depending on how much wine was consumed at dinner. If it gets really crazy we’ll hit Badlands or Beau to shake it under the disco ball.
Where is the best Instagram photo-op in the neighborhood?
There’s too many to choose from. The blue mural on 16th and Market, Corona Heights, with its gorgeous view of SF and easier access than Twin Peaks. The Rainbow crosswalks on 18th and Castro. The F train stop and plaza at the top of Castro and Market; it can be hard to navigate through all the people but there is almost always one of those historic trains there and they are beyond photogenic.
What do you wish people knew about your neighborhood?
It’s not all just one big gay party. The Castro has its nights for sure, but it’s really a cute quiet and super happy part of the city. It’s unfortunate that sometimes people just label it as the gay hub, and if you’re not gay why would you be there? So not the case.