Magazine article Sunset

Take the N-Judah: Tour San Francisco from the Breakers to the Bay-For $1.25

Magazine article Sunset

Take the N-Judah: Tour San Francisco from the Breakers to the Bay-For $1.25

Article excerpt

As a car-happy Californian, I thought public transit was a great idea--for everybody else. Then I moved near San Francisco's N-Judah line and found a streetcar to love. Running from Ocean Beach across the city to the Caltrain station, the N-Judah isn't cable-car quaint. But for showing you the best of San Francisco, from breakers to bay to Barry Bonds, the line is in a class by itself.

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I start the trip at the route's west end. (Starting at the east is more convenient if you're coming from the Peninsula or BART.) Here, sip a cappuccino or a Guinness at Buffy and Pat Maguire's Hibernian surf hangout, Java Beach (1396 La Playa St.; 415/665-5282). Up the street, the Sea Breeze Cafe & Restaurant (closed Mon; 3940 Judah St.; 415/242-6022) has an unpretentious atmosphere and good food. A block away, Marge Heard has assembled a lovely, idiosyncratic assortment of soaps and jewelry at her tiny shop, the Last Straw (noon-6 Tue-Sat; 4540 Irving St.; 415/566-4692). Heard began here 30 years ago after fleeing a career in banking. "I had to get out," she says. "It was necessary for me and for the poor bank."

Pay your $1.25 and ride east to Ninth Avenue and Irving Street and the once-dowdy, now-hip Inner Sunset. …

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