Exploring San Francisco through the lens of city blocks, Blocker is a weekly series by Charles Hodgkins. Look for it on SFist each Wednesday, around the lunching hour.

View the map of all published Blocker episodes.

Blocker, No. 14: Balboa St. in the Outer Richmond

The seaward stretch of Balboa between 37th and 38th Avenues conjures a variety of images, from some of the thickest summer fog around to the Balboa Theater’s weathered sign. The block’s numerous Asian restaurants also merit consideration.

Add hockey to the list, sort of. More on that in a bit.

Unless you’re an Outer Richmond local and you buy your nuts and washers at Crown Hardware on Balboa’s south side, odds are strong that you know this block best for the Balboa Theater, where the scent of butter-slathered popcorn wafts outside day and night. The circa-1926 moving picture house endures as the only one of its kind remaining in this part of town, and it seems to do well showing new releases. One reason for its success may be the fact that, as its sidewalk sandwich board announces, No private picnics (are) allowed in the auditorium. Ask anyone on this side of town what killed the Alexandria or the Coronet in recent years, and they’ll surely tell you: private picnics in the auditorium.