It seems like just yesterday we were lamenting the death of Blockbuster. Now that everyone is suddenly OVER Netflix and their fascist rate hike, here's a brief list of neighborhood video stores where you can walk in, talk to someone, leisurely peruse their aisles of soon-to-be-antiquated plastic discs and maybe even take one home with you for a couple nights if it suits your fancy:
Four Star Video, Bernal Heights: Owner Ken writes lengthy blog posts about what he's been watching lately. It's kind of like having a nice chat about cinema with the movie store geek from the comfort of your own home. They also offer an Netflix-alternative Kenflix plan: 10 bucks a month for one DVD at a time, but you can swap discs twice in a month.
Top Video World, Sunset: At Judah and 9th Ave, you can keep 3 DVDs out at a time for $25 bucks a month. A little steep, sure, but you can go retro with your porn browsing and if you ever have a late fee you can blame it on the N-Judah like everything else.
Le Video, Sunset: If Top Video World Doesn't do it for you, Le Video has a 90,000 films and a rent-two-get-one-free deal. You have to pick the third from the War and Western Collection, but you probably need to expand your genre studies anyway.
Fayes Video and Espresso Bar, Mission: The selection is small, but there's coffee and you can pick up a hand-packed pint of ice cream from Bi-Rite down the street to set yourself up for some nice, locally sourced "Me Time".
Superstar, Castro: Speaking of "me time", Superstar has an adult section that eclipses it's regular selection, but it's still got a massive mainstream and independent library.
Poppa Opps, Richmond: Way out at Balboa and 39th Ave, Poppa Opps is an all-in-one video rental store and authorized FedEx shipping center, because why not?
Gramaphone, Russian Hill: On Polk Street, Gramophone insists their "grungy style and friendly staff" makes them one-of-a-kind. And here we thought every video store had a grungy style by default. Also: a large foreign section and "up-to-date" adult section.
Film Yard Video on Divisadero in the Panhandle will still rent to you for now, but they'll sadly be closing at the end of the summer - which means there are deals to be had for the possessive types out there.
In the East Bay, Video Room Tape & Laser Rentals in Piedmont has survived long enough to hold on to it's retro-naming bonafides. Kids and dogs are welcome. Also: free parking!
Surely we missed a hidden gem somewhere. Let us know in the comments.