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The Best Places for a Helping Hand in 2015

Need a plumber? Masseuse? Spray tanner? Our guide to not doing it yourself.

JP Kempt.

 

Read more of the Best of San Francisco 2015 here.

Beauty

Best Mani-Pedi: Boniva Nail Spa
1929 Lombard St. (at Buchanan St.), 415-829-2188
Boniva is what all nail salons should be: clean and bright, with well-treated employees and a great color selection of gel and regular polish. Pedicures come with hot stone massages, and customers can book appointments online ($35 for a mani-pedi). But best of all is the tranquility of the space, due in part to a sign politely asking patrons to keep their chatting low and to stay off their phones. No wonder the staff know the regulars so well they call them by name.
Runner-Up: Sophia's Beauty Lounge

Best Facialist: Suzanne Scott Skincare
500 Sutter St. (at Powell St.), 415-497-3983
Dropping serious cash for a facial is a luxury, but it can be worth it. For 25 years, licensed aesthetician Suzanne Scott has treated everything from teenage acne to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin, and her clients are serious devotees. She completes regular coursework to keep up with the latest skincare techniques and tools, and though her services aren’t cheap ($100 for the signature facial), you don’t have to worry about the upsell; she understands that different people have different budgets, and she won’t push expensive products or more frequent visits.
Runner-Up: Ensoma

Best Barber: JP Kempt
351 Divisadero St. (at oak St.), 415-437-1300
Shorty Maniace is as close to a celebrity barber as you can get—dubbed one of the best by Esquire, called the “rock and roll” barber by VH1, and featured  in GQ—but his lower Haight shop is all neighborhood. Smocked barbers stand in front of old-school chairs and oak vanities as they give hot-lather beard trims ($25), straight razor shaves ($45), and haircuts ($45). The staff are happy to take direction, and even happier to hand you a beer or a whiskey when you walk in the door.
Runner-Up: Public Barber Salon

Best Waxer: Habit
3212 Fillmore St. (at Moulton St.), 415-931-3165
Having hair ripped off your body can be a very traumatic experience. Luckily, that’s not the case at Habit, a discreet boutique salon that focuses on hair removal and will hand you a cocktail upon arrival to take the edge off. With both sugaring and waxing services ($35 for a bikini wax)—as well as hair removal services for men—Habit can handle all of your depilatory needs, and the staff work hard to do it as delicately as possible.
Runner-Up: BB Wax

Best Salon: Atelier Emmanuel Salon and Day Spa
415 Stockton St. (at Sutter St.), 415-362-8063
There is nothing—nothing—worse than a bad haircut. and whether you’re a particular customer who knows exactly what she wants or you need a professional to steer you away from some disastrous bangs, Atelier Emmanuel will advise you on the perfect cut and color ($66 for a haircut and styling; $59 for a blowout; $81 and up for color). Plus, it’s open until 8 p.m. four days a week, so you can stop making excuses for your roots—and get a massage and a manicure in the process. Enjoy the tea and Wi-Fi.
Runner-Up: Sublime Salon

Best Massage: Psoas Massage + Bodywork
333 3rd St., No. 205 (at Folsom St.), 415-227-0331
Looking for a gentle back rub? This isn’t it. The assertive massage therapists at Psoas work with clients to create specific short- and long-term plans to help alleviate pain and heal injuries from sports, office life, car accidents, whatever. Clients swear by the services and rave about the results. But you don’t need an injury to get treated—Psoas also offers massages (starting at $75 for 30 minutes) just for relaxation.
Runner-Up: The Blue Buddha

Best Spray Tan: Brown Bunz Tan
3303 Buchanan St. (at Magnolia St.), 415-462-4826
We all know that tanning beds aren’t good for us, but the chemicals in a spray tan probably aren’t either (the FDA is taking a skeptical look at active ingredient DHA). Luckily, “Spray-tanner-in-Chief” Gemma DeMasi uses an organic, paraben-free formula that won’t leave you a streaky shade of orange. The shop is open until 8 p.m., so you can sneak in after work (starting at $60 per session), or you can stay at home for a tanning house call ($99). Yup, that’s a real thing.
Runner-Up: Viva la Tan

Best Spa: Nob Hill Spa
1075 California St. (at Taylor St.), 415-345-2888
This might be the only spa in the city where people show up early just to wait around. The myriad services—Swedish and Thai massage (starting at $140 for 50 minutes), aromatherapy, facials (starting at $150), and nail care (starting at $70)—are great, but its location in the Scarlet Huntington Hotel means they come with outdoor deck chairs overlooking the entire city, not to mention the added bonus of an infinity pool and whirlpool (day pass $45). Plant yourself poolside in your complimentary robe and slippers and enjoy the free snacks.
Runner-Up: Kabuki Springs & Spa

 

Weddings

Best Bridal Salon: Amy Kuschel
23 Grant Ave. (at O’Farrell St.), 415-956-5657
Back in 1996, when Amy Kuschel was getting married, she couldn’t find a gown that wasn’t cheap and mediocre or gorgeous and exorbitantly expensive. In response, she started designing her own elegant gowns, which are now handmade in her Union Square design studio. With styles to fit every aesthetic—from blacktie affairs to barefoot beach weddings to brides who want to channel Brigitte Bardot—the studio’s consultants work hard to find the right dress, and they’re mindful about accommodating specific budgets and timelines.
Runner-Up: Jinza Couture

Best Venue: Terra Gallery
511 Harrison St., (at 1st St.) 415-896-1234
The worst part about planning a wedding? Negotiating the guest list. Luckily, at Terra, there are two floors and 24,000 square feet of customizable space available, so you can invite all of your future spouse’s mother’s second cousins and still have a sit-down dinner. With a full bar service, vintage theater chairs, optional valet parking, a Bose sound system on both floors, and a staff that will happily make recommendations for caterers and more, your wedding will practically plan itself.
Runner-Up: Fort Mason General's Residence

Best Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist
2068 Union St. (at Webster St.), 415-860-5872
Wedding-day hair and makeup can be tricky. You want to look the best you ever have without your guests asking, who is that? Jane Kim and her assistants work to make sure that brides are stunning versions of themselves instead of done-up strangers. And Kim brings a much-appreciated enthusiasm to the bridal suite on the wedding day.
Runner-Up: Looks by Aguayo

Best Photographer: Bustle and Twine
BustleAndTwine.com
Repeat bridal-party members know that taking wedding photos can be a long and cheesy process. Not with Bustle and Twine. The four professional photographers behind the company manage to deliver every shot brides want—the buttoning of the dress, the first look, the kiss, the drunken dance floor without keeping them from the soiree they’ve spent a year planning. And once the pics are ready, couples and their guests can download as many high-res images as they want, at no extra cost.
Runner-Up: Melanie Duerkopp

Best Band: The 415s
The415s.com
Like any good wedding band, the 415s play a mix of oldies and top 40 hits, ensuring that everyone from your grandma to your weird cousin’s girlfriend will hit the dance floor. Unlike your average garage band, everyone from the four vocalists to the guy on the sax has toured with famous musicians, from Prince to Pink to Sly & the Family Stone. Even with a song list that tops 450, the band is happy to learn new ones, so you can rock out to your favorite tunes all night long.
Runner-up: The Duvets

Best Florist: Radeff Design Studios
956 Illinois St. (at 20th St.), 415-355-9000
With floral arrangements ranging from the simple and sweet (a bowl of white roses, a small bouquet of forget-me-nots) to the fantastical (a moss-covered table, a 17-foot teak canoe full of blooming branches), Tracy Radeff-McConnell can create the perfect look for almost any wedding aesthetic. Brides rave about their planning experiences—and the fragrant surprises that greeted them on their wedding day.
Runner-Up: Natalie Bowen Designs

Best Caterer: Fogcutter
Fogcutter-SF.com
Say goodbye to bland chicken and lukewarm mashed potatoes. Fogcutter’s cofounders, Guillermo Perez and Caroline Hummer, are food-truck-scene grads turned caterers who focus on good, clever dishes that fit current trends, like chicken bao with radish slaw, wet and dry ribs, seared brussels sprouts on sticks, sushi, and Meyer lemon deviled eggs. And, true to their food truck roots, their menus don’t break the bank.
Runner-Up: Betty Zlatchin Catering

Best DJ: Boutique DJs and Entertainment
BoutiqueDJs.com
This troupe of six DJs has played events from Coachella to outside lands to BottleRock, but isn’t too cool to play your wedding—even if your mom insists on doing the YMCA. They’ll work with you to put together the ultimate playlist for an all-ages dance floor, as well as background music for cocktails and dinner. Best of all, they’ll pick up the mic to keep the party on schedule and make important announcements, but they want you to stay the center of attention.
Runner-Up: Heart of Gold DJs

Best Cake: Jasmine Rae Cakes
1890 Bryant St., No. 309 (at Mariposa St.), 415-621-2464
These cakes are works of art. From a traditional layered buttercream number to the extraordinary—a stack of newspapers, a Nikon camera, a work boot—Jasmine Rae’s confections defy expectations. And the flavors are as imaginative as the shapes: chai tea, brown sugar, and burnt caramel; cabernet, chocolate, and hibiscus flower. With creations this unique, you can guarantee that you won’t have the same played-out cupcake tower as every other couple this wedding season.
Runner-Up: Miette

Best Planner: Jubilee Lau
JubileeLauEvents.com
Jubilee Lau is all about details. Sure, she can guide you to a venue and suggest a caterer, but she also wants to know if your mom wants a pin or a magnet on her corsage, and if there’s a plan for how you’re going to get grandma to the ceremony. On the big day, she and her assistants will take care of all the vendor questions and even make sure that the bridal party has everything it needs to get ready to walk down the aisle.
Runner-Up: Downey Street Events

 

Clothes

Best Dry Cleaning & Laundry: Sudzee
Sudzee.com
Say goodbye to Sunday afternoons bored out of your mind in the laundromat: register online and Sudzee will send you a laundry bag and a lock, then pick up your laundry, clean it, and deliver it back to your front door, texting you when your clothes are on the move. There are tons of different options—line dry, hypoallergenic detergent, cold water—so you can be as picky as if you were doing it yourself (starting at 79 cents per pound).
Runner-Up: 17th Street Launderland

Best Tailor: Meifei
2418 Chestnut St. (at Divisadero St.), 415-922-1518
Finding someone who can hem your pants is easy. Finding someone who can alter entire bridal-party wardrobes, from wedding dresses to tuxedos, is a heck of a lot harder. Luckily, Meifei takes clothing of all kinds and does miracle work in her tiny Marina shop, from fitting suit jackets to building in bras to working with tricky fabric and beading. But don’t worry: You can get your jeans hemmed here, too.
Runner-Up: Tailor Made

Best Cobbler: Galletti Shoe Repair
22 Battery St. (at Market St.), 415-398-5474
Galletti might not be the cheapest shoe repair shop in town, but it can resurrect even a broken-down pair of vintage clogs. The shop opened in 1905, and more than a century later its employees are careful to follow instructions and even accommodate requests for a quick turnaround. Real fashionistas take note: the shop will make sure your Louboutins come back with a perfect signature red sole.
Runner-Up: Jack's Shoe Repair

Best Bra Fitter: Alla Prima
1420 Grant Ave. (at Green St.), 415-397-4077; 539 Hayes St. (at Laguna St.), 415-864-8180
If you’ve never been to a bra fitter, know this: Your life is about to change. With all the different sizes and styles of bras out there, it’s hard to know which ones will actually fit. Alla Prima will measure you, teach you where straps and bands should go (surprise—they should be tight!) and how to adjust your own, and then bring you a parade of beautiful pieces to try on. Just be prepared: It’s a hands-on experience.
Runner-Up: Toujours Lingerie

 

Health

Best Pool: UCSF Bakar Center’s Rooftop Pool
1675 Owens St. (at Campus Ln.), 415-514-4545
UCSF’s Mission Bay fitness center (membership: $89 per month) has a heated indoor pool, sure, but its crown jewel sits on its roof: a 25-yard stunner frequented by swimmers who are serious enough to follow lane- sharing rules. Take a dip under the big blue sky and enjoy the 80-degree water. When you’ve had enough of this glorious pool, the sauna awaits in the locker room downstairs.
Runner-Up: Garfield Pool

Crossfit Box: CrossFit Alinea
674 S. Van Ness Ave. (at 18th St.), 415-895-0882

If Crossfitters are serious about their gyms, CrossFit Alinea devotees are genuine fanatics. Coaches Marv and Tom have created a convivial environment where members of all fitness levels and backgrounds feel welcome and inspired to become the best versions of themselves. Alinea also has regular happy hours and activities like paintballing and flag football, so you can have some fun after you finish your WOD. Yearly membership starts at $235.
Runner-up: United Barbell

Best Yoga: Moxie Yoga & Fitness
3315 20th St. (at Folsom St.), 415-529-1546; 1501 Taylor St. (at Pacific Ave.), 415-932-6480
You don’t have to be a serious yogi to get fit at Moxie. The studio’s method is based on ashtanga vinyasa yoga but also incorporates Pilates movements and resistance stretching. With four styles of classes—including options for newbies, people who prefer fitness-inspired classes, and those who can already hold crow pose—it’s easy to find your niche. Classes ($18 for a single class) are capped at 20 and run for less than an hour, and instructors skip the spiritual instruction in favor of some well-curated playlists, which you can later stream on Spotify.
Runner-Up: Maiden Lane Studios

Best Gym: Embarcadero YMCA
169 Steuart St. (at Howard St.), 415-957-9622
Sure, you could pay $300 a month for a membership at one of the city’s most tricked-out gyms, or you could drop as little as $54 a month (adults 18 to 26; $71 for 27 and up; $124 for families) to work out at a gym with a 25-meter pool, classes ranging from aqua fitness to zumba, and ellipticals and treadmills that sit in front of open windows overlooking the Bay Bridge. The Embarcadero branch has been the YMCA’s prime S.F. location since the ’20s, when soldiers used to train there; now you can sweat it out in hip-hop class, get fit with core conditioning, or hang out on the rooftop deck. Just make sure to enjoy the views.
Runner-Up: Studiomix

Best Barre Class: Avant-Barre
592 3rd St. (at Brannan St.), 415-735-1928
At Avant-Barre’s SoMa studio, owner Nini Gueco and her team have created a class that strengthens your core while making you sweat. High-energy tunes? Check. Sanitized workout mats? Check. Classes capped at 20? Check ($25 per class; $99 for the first month). Plus: free filtered water, clean towels, and curtained changing rooms. Time to embrace your inner ballerina.
Runner-Up: Maiden Lane Studios

 

Home

Best Painter: Modamas
3410 Geary Blvd. (at Commonwealth Ave.), 415-552-6567
Victorian houses require perfect paint jobs, and Modamas is all about precision. Though the company has commercial clients—head to Holy Trinity at Green and Van Ness if you want to check out its handiwork—its color consultant will also help you pick the perfect color scheme and type of paint, based on the weather conditions in your microclimate. Estimates are free, and jobs start with a production meeting to review the plan.
Runner-Up: Love Painting

Best Organizer: New Minimalism
56 Cervantes Blvd., No. 1 (at Beach St.), 415-602-5278
San Franciscans have mastered the art of squeezing into tinier and tinier spaces, but we can’t bring all our junk with us. Cary Fortin and Kyle Quilici, the two-woman team behind New Minimalism, help declutter and refocus home spaces while keeping you in charge of what stays and what goes. Best of all, they’ve focused their business around community partnerships, meaning that all your unwanted but usable items are donated to places like the San Francisco Public Library, the San Francisco Unified School District, and Image for Success. They even haul it all away themselves, leaving you to sit back and enjoy your new digs.
Runner-Up: Liberated Spaces

Best Computer Repair: Tech Collective
263 San Carlos St. (at 19th St.), 415-285-8882
This worker-owned cooperative provides IT repair and consulting for just about every problem you might run into. Broken laptop? Lost data? Software installation? You name it, these guys will do it, all while keeping you appraised of how much each repair will cost (and it won’t be as much as you think, either). They’ll even come to your home or office to help fix wireless problems. Hooray for not calling Comcast!
Runner-Up: Grey Matter Technical Services

Best Mechanic: Action Auto Care
2040 17th St. (at Vermont St.), 415-487-1210
Robert Kim at Action Auto Care is the beloved car god of Potrero Hill, taking care of everything from routine maintenance to serious auto ailments. Every fix, even the most minor, is done only with customer consent, and Kim ensures that you don’t have to pay more than necessary. Plus, the shop is within walking distance of the 16th Street Bart station and the Muni T Line, making getting around while carless a breeze.
Runner-up: My Mechanic

Best Plumber: Heise's Plumber
260 Ocean Ave. (at Onondaga Ave.), 415-333-0704
When your toilet is overflowing into your downstairs neighbor’s apartment, you need a plumber fast. Heise’s will send someone over right away to assess and fix the problem, and will even secure any permitting you might need (say, for that new gas fireplace you’ve been dreaming about). All service estimates are free, and the company will happily recommend other repair companies—maybe to fix that ruined drywall.
Runner-Up: Pipeline Plumbing

Best Handyman: Reasonably Honest Mike's
ReasonableMike.com
Handyman Mike Watson’s motorcycle saddle bags are full of tools to help him spruce up your home, from installing a garbage disposal to replacing old two-prong outlets. He’s even familiar with the special needs of the antiquated gas lines common in older San Francisco homes. If you need “bullshit labor”—things like building Ikea furniture, putting in window treatments, fixing a hole in the wall, etc.—he’ll charge you $50 an hour, but he has a $130 minimum (two hours of work) for bigger projects like plumbing and electrical work. As Bar Tartine’s sometime handyman, he gets a loaf of bread with his payment, but for you, money will do.
Runner-Up: Bernal Burly Man

Best HousekeepingZen Home
ZenHomeCleaning.com
Founded by a devout vegan in 2005, Zen Home uses only ecofriendly products, to create a “positive energy flow.” Its polite staff leave you with a sparkling home, but you can also get excited about the free herbal tea and the chocolate they’ll leave on your pillow. Prices are slightly higher than average ($45 an hour with a three-hour minimum), but feeling smug about your newly clean green home is worth it.
Runner-Up: Zero Dirt Cleaning

Best Locksmith: Yes Locksmith
YesLocksmith.com
Locked out at 3 a.m.? With its 24-hour service, Yes is quick to answer the phone and will be at your house in under 30 minutes. Unlike companies that serve only sections of the city, Yes can bail you out no matter where you live. Prices vary depending on the problem (house, car, or workplace), but quotes typically range from $125 to $195. Beats sleeping on the street.
Runner-Up: Mario's Locksmith

Best Flower Delivery: Farmgirl Flowers
640 Brannan St. (at 5th St.), 415-800-1301
Farmgirl Flowers owner Christina Stembel creates just one locally grown floral arrangement each day, wraps her creations in recycled burlap coffee sacks supplied by local cafés like ritual and Sightglass, and delivers blooms by bicycle (from $45). Short of hitting up the farmer’s market and arranging the stems yourself, this is as eco-friendly and easy as it gets.
Runner-Up: Bloom That

Best Gardener: Gentle Giant's Gardening & Landscape Services
GentleGiantsGardening.com
When the drought was officially declared an emergency in January 2014, John Herbert of gentle giant’s gardening knew he could and should make some changes to his growing business. Since then, Herbert and his team of eight have removed thousands of square feet of lawn every month, replacing it with drought-tolerant plants, drip irrigation, and the occasional vegetable garden. And it’s cheaper than a new lawn.
Runner-Up: Evergreen Tree and Gardening Service

Best Phone Repair: Bonjour Professional iPhone, iPad Repair and Electronic Center
1652 Irving St. (at 18th Ave.), 415-988-9968
Don’t let the Apple-specific name fool you: this Sunset repair shop can fix a broken screen ($60 to $160), a charging jack, or other damages on virtually any cell phone model. Most repairs come with a replacement warranty and are done the same day, and there’s a $20 discount for students, seniors, and Medi-Cal holders. Plus, the first five customers of the day get a discount, so show up early.
Runner-Up: City Cell Repair

Best Upholsterer: Save My Seat
275 6th Ave., No. 106 (at Clement St.), 415-515-6638
Founder Lauren Siegel is a self-proclaimed “saver of seats.” Using only eco-friendly fabric, the environmental scientist turned upholsterer will bring any piece of furniture back to its glory days. Opt for a $50 home consultation (she’ll waive the fee if you choose to upholster) or browse the store’s one-of-a-kind chairs, headboards, pillows, and couches.
Runner-Up: Welsh Upholstery

Best Rug Cleaning: Expert Clean and Green
ExpertCleanAndGreen.com
Red wine stains don’t stand a chance against Ofer Kolton. The certified, eco-friendly carpet cleaner has all your bases covered: carpet, upholstery, oriental rugs—he’ll even battle allergens and pet stench (prices based on consultation). Plus, he’ll happily teach you how to get stains out yourself and, when it’s time, offer advice about buying a new rug, at no extra charge.
Runner-Up: Red Rugs Carpet Cleaning

 

Family

Best Summer Camp: Wheel Kids
WheelKids.com
San Francisco may not be the obvious choice for a kids’ bike camp (finding a quiet street is no easy prospect), but local dad Tim Hurley is making it happen. He and his crew of coaches squire little cyclists throughout the city’s 49 square miles—and even across the bridge—during various camps (around $440 per week). On the first day, kids learn safety skills and how to change a flat tire, so soon you’ll have your own little bike mechanic.
Runner-Up: Camp Edmo

Best Swim School: La Petite Baleen
933 Old Mason St. (at Marine Dr.), 866-896-3603
When a swim school refers to its class prices as “tuition,” you know it’s not cheap. But very low student-teacher ratios (4 to 1 for levels one through four; 6 to 1 for Baby and Me and Toddler and Me classes), bathtub-warm water (90 degrees), and instructors with bona fides like child development training and Olympic-level experience are worth the steep fees ($95 per month for group lessons). La Petite Baleen will take swimmers as young as two months, teaching them about breath control, floating, and, most important of all, how to climb out of the pool.
Runner-Up: University of San Francisco's Koret Health and Recreation Center

Best College Prep: Scholar Co.
ScholarCo.Com
Most college counselors and test prep services have one goal—to get you in. Owner Bridget Allen wants more than that: to teach the fundamental skill—analytical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and good writing—that will help you with your test scores and essays, as well as the work you’ll do once you’re in. She and her team guide students through all aspects of the process, from school shopping to essay writing to test prep ($150 per hour), and her clients have been accepted everywhere from Amherst to Yale.
Runner-Up: McClure, Mallory, Baron & Ross

Best Driving School: Fearless Driver—Ann's Driving school
FearlessDriver.com
With their roller-coaster hills, speeding cyclists, and renegade pedestrians, San Francisco’s roads are tricky to navigate. Enter Judy Ann Lundblad and her team of instructors, full-time employees who are pros at figuring out how individual students learn. After a few two-hour, one-on-one sessions ($180 per lesson), your teen will leave the school with the confidence to drive on the freeway and park on hills (curb your wheels!) and the common sense not to text and drive. And if you can drive here, you can drive anywhere.
Runner-Up: Guerrero Driving School

Best Babysitting Service: UrbanSitter
UrbanSitter.com
UrbanSitter makes going online to find a babysitter safe and easy. Seriously easy. You can search for help in your zip code, see which of your Facebook friends have hired a given sitter, and find information about certifications, background checks, and educational experience. Better yet, there’s no need to hit the ATM. Just like Uber, the app handles payment, so handing over $20s is a thing of the past (rates vary depending on the sitter).
Runner-Up: Wondersitter

 

Pets

Best Veterinarian: Mission Pet Hospital
720 Valencia St. (at 18th St.), 415-552-1969
If the patience and compassion of its staff ultimately distinguishes one vet’s office from another, then Mission Pet Hospital easily stands out from the pack. Chief among its attributes is Dr. Dave Gordon, an easygoing, thoughtful guy who’s passionate about his work, thorough about answering questions, and refreshingly upfront about discussing the costs of various treatments. And MPH actually sticks to its appointment times, so even if your pet hates going to the vet, you won’t mind.
Runner-Up: Lotus Veterinary House Calls

Best Day Care and Boarding: Black Nose Trading Company
342 Divisadero St. (at Oak St.), 415-503-1004
Finding a good place to board your pup often involves a big leap of faith and a bigger wad of cash. Not at Black Nose Trading Co., where canines aren’t confined to kennels and the price—a flat $45 a night—is eminently fair. Owner Walt Bell and his staff are clearly devoted to their charges (overnight boarders stay upstairs in Bell’s apartment), providing peace of mind to anxious pet parents.
Runner-Up: Pet Camp

Best Obedience School: San Francisco SPCA
201 Alabama St. (at 16th St.), 415-554-3030
Obedience school is as much about training the human as the dog, and the San Francisco SPCA gets this. In addition to being fun and effective, its small, reasonably priced classes are designed to condition owners to better understand and communicate with their dogs. And with a course catalog that includes everything from Open Space Etiquette to Shy Dog Seminar, you—and your pup—will be all set.
Runner-Up: Puppy Prep

Best Groomer: The Dog Barber
1903 Market St. (at Guerrero St.), 415-552-7387
Roberto Lopez has been in the dog grooming business for years, and it shows: His four-legged customers walk out with haircuts that could inspire two-legged envy. The grooming here is full service, meaning that Lopez and his staff provide everything from nail trimming to anal gland expression (don’t ask) along with their cuts, making the prices reasonable (from $40 to $149). Between that and the friendly, attentive staff who actually listen, it’s a cut above.
Runner-Up: Doggie Day Spaw

Best Walker: Kit's Dog Walking
415-240-2174
Good dog walkers have a lot in common with good babysitters: They protect your babies like their own and don’t skimp on positive reinforcement—and benevolent discipline. Kit Vella meets all these criteria and then some—bighearted, patient, and extremely detail-oriented, she and her small staff keep their pack sizes small and their prices reasonable ($25 for a two-hour off-leash romp). And the result—a tired, happy dog—is priceless.
Runner-Up: Noe Dogwalkers

 

Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

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