SAN FRANCISCO — Touting the city before it hosted the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, President William Howard Taft declared San Francisco to be “the city that knows how.” On the ongoing eve of cannabis legalization in California, these medical cannabis dispensary lounges are some examples of San Francisco’s know-how when it comes to the social use of cannabis, which has become a contentious topic in Denver and Seattle. You must be a California resident with the requisite medical cannabis paperwork to enjoy these vapor lounges.
RELATED: San Francisco vape culture has evolved while legal states still grapple with social cannabis use.
BLOOM ROOM | 471 Jessie St.
WHAT: This vape-only lounge is a hip, colorful space tucked in the back of the dispensary, itself tucked behind frosted artsy red-white-and-orange panes — no neon green cross or pot leaf here telegraphing what’s inside. A communal table holding two Volcano vaporizers is ringed by six tall metal stools. Two walls of comic-themed oil paintings provide decoration and entertainment.
WHERE: A short walk from both Union Square and Westfield Center, Bloom Room is located between Market and Mission streets behind the historic Old Mint Building in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Enjoy coffee with your cannabis? Bay Area darling Blue Bottle is 300 feet away in a semi-industrial alley surrounded by hotels, shopping and vestiges of the city’s Asian textile trade.
GET THERE: From Powell/Market Street BART, Muni train or Muni bus, walk south on Fifth Street, turn west on Mint Plaza and west again on Jessie Street. From Embarcadero or Mission district, take Mission Street buses to Fifth Street. Walk north on Fifth, west on Mint Plaza and west on Jessie.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, Noon-7 p.m Sundays.
Click here for more info
SPARC | 1256 Mission St.
WHAT: A vape-only lounge featuring Volcano vaporizers at each of four blond wood, bench-and-table communal stations. It’s the sleek-and-airy dispensary equivalent of an Apple store, but with a free self-serve hot tea bar instead of a Genius Bar. In a neighborhood that showcases San Francisco at its grittiest, sidewalk check-in makes you feel like you’re clearing the line at a hot nightclub. Use the dispensary’s app en route to expedite your order.
WHERE: One block from Twitter headquarters, two blocks from Uber HQ and near City Hall, the symphony, the opera and the Asian Art Museum.
GET THERE: Using a ride-sharing app from Uber HQ on Market Street? It’ll cost you about $3.50 without tip. Otherwise, it’s a 1 1/2-block walk from the Civic Center BART/Muni station and Market Street bus and street-car lines. Walk one block south on Eighth Street from Market Street. Turn west at Mission Street. Sparc is mid-block on the right. Sparc offers 1-hour free validated parking at SOMA Grand Garage one block east at 1160 Mission St.
HOURS: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily except holidays. Click here for more info
LOUNGE8FOUR7 | 847 Howard St.
WHAT: Currently closed after an inspection by the county health department received a tip that smoking took place here and found lack of necessary permits, San Francisco’s largest and most popular lounge is now waiting to reopen as a vape-only lounge. With amenities such as sturdy tables and chairs, televisions, junk-food machines and a pool table, Lounge8four7 had operated like a laid-back community center, offering Volcano vaporizers for use in the lounge’s large club-like room, plus events like movie nights and open mics.
WHERE: Adjacent to Moscone Center and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and near the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, AT&T Park and major hotels.
GET THERE: From Union Square/Powell Street, head south on Fifth Street. Turn east on Howard. Lounge 8four7 is mid-block on the south side of the street. From AT&T Park or CalTrain, take Muni bus 30 or 45 from Fourth and Townsend north to Fifth and Howard. Walk one-half block east on Howard. Lounge is on your right, just before The Green Door. Click here for more info
IGZACTLY 420 | 527 Howard St.
WHAT: Colorful and cozy vaping lounge featuring five Volcanos, comfy chairs and couch in a living-room like setting.
WHERE: In the financial district, near the Embarcadero, AT&T Park and the Greyhound bus station.
GET THERE: From the Embarcadero, head six blocks west on Howard Street. Igzactly 420 is on the right. From AT&T Park or CalTrain, take the 10 Muni bus to 2nd Street, exit at Howard and walk west, toward the end of the block. From the Greyhound station, walk west on Folsom Street, turn north on Fremont Street and west again on Howard, about a 7-minute walk.
HOURS: 11 a.m-10 p.m Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. Click here for more info
LOVE SHACK | 502 14th St.
WHAT: If you really need a place to smoke a joint, this is exactly what you’ll encounter when you open the door on the small storefront: Two high chairs shoved against two walls flanking the small (but well-stocked and nicely priced) cannabis display, perhaps with someone occupying one of the chairs while smoking a joint or hitting from one of the house bongs. Cozy to the point of cramped.
WHERE: Where the Mission, the Castro and South of Market converge. Nearest smoking/vaping dispensary to the Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park.
GET THERE: From Muni trains, exit at Church Street. Cross Market to Dolores Street. From Market Street bus or street-car lines, exit near Whole Foods at Market/Dolores. From Market/Dolores, walk one block south on Dolores. Turn east on 14th Street. Love Shack is near the end of the block on your left.
HOURS: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Click here for more info
BERNAL HEIGHTS COLLECTIVE | 33 29th St.
WHAT: Full smoking and vaping lounge inside a neighborhood dispensary whose atmosphere is not unlike a college dorm common room. The consumption area — equipped with two each Volcano vaporizers, couches, tall cafe tables and chairs, televisions, ashtrays and matches — greets visitors and opens into the dispensary itself. There’s a half-hour time limit. Pet-friendly.
WHERE: South of the Mission district, at the base of Bernal Hill, an open space over which lies both the Alemany flea market and farmers market. One block from Mitchell’s Ice Cream — old-school San Francisco custard confections and flavors of the south Pacific and south of the border. Immediate neighborhood is chock-a-block with Latin and Asian restaurants, markets and bakeries.
GET THERE: Mission Street Muni buses stop at 29th Street, closer to Bernal Heights Collective than you can hope to park a car. Walkable from the Muni Metro train stop at 29th and Church streets heading from Castro, Noe Valley or Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods. Walkable from the first BART station south of the Mission district.
HOURS: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Click here for more info
1944 OCEAN COOPERATIVE | 1944 Ocean Ave.
WHAT: Vape bar with Volcanos and other tools for consuming concentrates. Hashish connoisseurs come here for high-end extracts that cost up to $100 per gram. Pet-friendly. Relatively easy parking. Use the dispensary’s app en route to expedite your order.
WHERE: In one of San Francisco’s less-traveled, mostly residential neighborhoods between San Francisco City College and San Francisco State college. A short walk and a brief ride on the 23 Muni bus gets you from 1944 Ocean Cooperative to Ocean Beach and the San Francisco Zoo.
GET THERE: From downtown or the Castro district, take outbound Muni Metro K train to Ocean Avenue and Fairfield Way. From the De Young Museum or Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, take 44 Muni bus toward Hunter’s Point; transfer to Muni Metro K train at Forest Hill Station,, exit at Ocean Avenue and Victoria Street. Walk short distance to dispensary.
HOURS: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Click here for more info
Where to vape in San Jose
BUDDY’S CANNABIS | 4140 Stevens Creek Blvd.
WHAT: Tailgating not your thing? Here’s the place to vape before any 49ers game (or Super Bowl). Vape with Buddy’s Volcano and enjoy walls featuring the works of local artists.
WHERE: In a suburban jungle near Winchester Mystery House, major sport and entertainment venues, the airport and tech companies.
GET THERE: From Levi’s Stadium, Great America or San Jose International Airport, summon Uber. It takes three buses and one hour to get here from the airport. Buddy’s is a 40-minute bus ride and a short walk away from Levi’s and Great America without game-day traffic. It’s a 10-minute drive here from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Click here for more info
READ MORE: San Francisco vape culture has evolved while legal states still grapple with social cannabis use.