For landlubbers and seafarers alike, San Francisco’s only independent Pirate Supply Store is a veritable treasure trove of awesome adventures. Pack up your little privateers and head over to the Valencia corridor for an interactive store like no other. With shelves stocked with Black Beard Dye, Mermaid Bait (or Repellant), Belly of the Whale Escape Kits, eye–patches, scurvy awareness posters that declare A Lemon a Day, plus t-shirts, compasses, high-end-hooks (at $299 these will really scare you) and even authentic peg-legs created by a professional prosthetic craftsman, this shop is like stepping on board a ship from 1699.
The ultimate rebel with a cause, the store acts as a front for the nonprofit 826 Valencia, an organization founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari dedicated to helping students ages 6-18 with their writing skills and teachers of all ages inspire their students to explore the literary arts. The center offers a range of classes including storytelling, bookmaking, poetry, and after-school tutoring, all free-of-charge. Click here for their calendar of events. So get you can feel good knowing your doubloons are going to a worthy cause.
Walk the Plank
This interactive store offers floor to ceiling exploration, including trap doors, drawers full of tactile treats, and an aquarium mini-theater. The friendly staff at 826 will welcome the kiddos to the world of pirates, with extensive knowledge of history and a true dedication to whimsy. (Ask about mopping!)
Barter for Buried Treasure
To encourage the creative arts, kids can barter for a chance at treasure in “the vat,” a huge metal tub-like thing full of sand. For the price of a drawing—or a poem or song or a joke… get crafty!—they’ll be able to dig around for one item of buried treasure.
Insider Tip: Anyone, adults or kids, can barter for lard. Real lard. Limited to one barter transaction per day. And you can ask to use the loo, here too.
Dine With Your Crew
If lard for lunch isn’t quite what you’d had in mind, you can check out one of the dozens of amazing restaurants within a few block radius. Mexican, sushi, Indian, and a whole lot more. Directly across from 826 the Burger Joint is a real hit with even the most finicky crowd. Try also Valencia Pizza and Pasta at 801 Valencia for massive servings and bargain prices.
Sweets for the Shipmates
Patient patrons can wait in line at the Bi-Rite Creamery at 3692 18th St. (Sun-Thurs, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm; Fri-Sat open until 11:00 pm) for arguably the best soft-serve in town. Lines, especially on the weekends, can wrap around the block so be prepared if you’ve got wiggle-worms in your party. If artisan chocolate is more your style, stop by Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Café at 740 Valencia for a divine treat. (Wed-Sun from 11:00 am-6:00pm).
Even More Adventures
The totally revamped playground next to the Mission pool on Valencia is less than a half block from the Pirate Supply Store and offers major water feature radness—perfect on a hot day (this SF neighborhood gets notoriously hotter than others). If the crew still seem wound up after that soft serve cone, hike them over to the Dolores Park Playground to check out the amazing wonderland with a killer view. Enter the park from the Dolores Street side: stroller mamas will find the sidewalk ends on the Church Street side, making it a tricky navigation. The playground sports a side for the bigger kids, as well as one for the under 4 set, a wild ride of a slide, and a giant sandpit.
Park Your Vessel Here
Look for parking on nearby Dolores Street. Not in the mood to scout, especially on a busy Saturday afternoon? Park at the Mission and Bartlett parking garage at 21st and Bartlett.
The Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia is open every day of the week from 12:00 pm –6:00 pm. Between 19th and 20th. Restrooms available at the store. Accessible by public transit lines 33 Stanyan and 22 Fillmore, as well as Mission Street buses and BART.
What is your favorite pirate supply?
Photo Credits: Interior store photos 1 and 3 credit to Angi Brzyncki; Photos of students and interior of store, 2 and 4, credit to 826 Valencia. Images 5-8 credit Amber Guetebier.