Brian Barneclo ( has literally painted his town red—and black and yellow and blue. The 34-year-old San Francisco artist’s massive, neo-graffiti works cover the walls of restaurants, hotels, and neighborhoods. There’s Suite 301 in Union Square’s funky Hotel des Arts (; a Jazz Era-inspired mural at the contemporary-California café Nopa (560 Divisadero St.; 415/864-8643) near Golden Gate Park; and an upcoming piece for neo-soul restaurant Farmerbrown (25 Mason St.; 415/409-3276; All capture his wry eye for textured interpretation—but none so grandly as Food Chain, a 225-foot-long, color-saturated commentary on the commercial food industry, on a building in the Mission District (1800 Folsom St.). Look for upcoming Barneclo collaborations with Salomon skis and Burton Snowboards.


In the same building as Hotel Metropolis on Mason Street, farmerbrown is where chef-owner Jay Foster creates Southern cuisine using organic and sustainable ingredients from local and African-American suppliers. Against a blue façade with brown awnings, the farmerbrown name is etched into rustic wood over the door, while the inside has a long wooden bar, olive-green pillars, and distressed-metal panels. The menu includes such classic Southern dishes as fried chicken, Creole shrimp and grits, crispy corn meal catfish, and North Carolina style pulled pork sandwich. Tuesdays are chicken ‘n waffles night, and the Sunday brunch includes live jazz.


Located near Alamo Square inside a simple building with a tile roof, Nopa is a favorite after-work hangout of Bay Area chefs. The interior has large windows and a high ceiling, and murals and seasonal flowers create the decor. Executive Chef Laurence Jossel uses organic local and seasonal ingredients to craft his Californian and Mediterranean cuisine, which includes such dishes as Moroccan vegetable tagine, grass-fed hamburger with pickled onions, and the popular country pork chops and flatbreads. The wine list has a selection of Italian vintages, as well as half bottle options.

Hotel des Arts

The hostel style of the Hotel des Arts does not draw customers with its luxury or amenities; instead, people come for the location and avant-garde art. No matter what is on your agenda, the hotel's Bust Street location is steps away from Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square, and the financial district. The lobby serves as a gallery for contemporary artists; a recent show included Brazilian artists such as Regis Silva and Vera Costa. Out of the 51 rooms, 36 are "painted" rooms, which have been completed by local artists. The Jet Martinez room is filled with lapis lazuli blue and gold-leaf plants, while whimsical fairy-like creatures populate the Kelly Tunstall room. Even the courtyard's murals are filled with pudgy birds and scaly flowers.