Home to lesbian bar Wild Side West, eye-popping vistas, chicken pot pie purveyor Liberty Cafe, quaint moments, cement stairs, and a calf muscle-building incline (i.e., Cortland Avenue), Bernal Heights* has been named the hottest neighborhood of 2013. Or so says Redfin.com. Is this a good thing? Perhaps. Bernal Heights** has, more or less, remained unscathed when compared to its sister, the Mission, but that could soon change if this bubble doesn't burst.
According to Redfin, the rankings were based on "places that are trending among the millions of homebuyers searching on Redfin.com leading into the new year and Bernal Heights' North Slope came in as the no. 1 hottest neighborhood of 2014." Top notch rated schools, short commutes, and affordable prices were also factors.
The list is as follows:
#1 Bernal Heights North Slope (San Francisco, CA)
#2 Eagle Rock (Los Angeles, CA)
#3 Morningside-Lenox Park (Atlanta, GA)
#4 Upper Chevy Chase (Washington, D.C.)
#5 Desert Shores (Las Vegas, NV
#6 Barrington Oaks (Austin, TX)
#7 Phinney Ridge (Seattle, WA
#8 Concordia (Portland, OR)
#9 City Park (Denver, CO)
#10 Humboldt Park (Chicago, IL)
To find out more about this city within a city on a hill, we talked to proud Bernal Heights native Melanine Brooks, who has lived on three different Bernal spots during her lifetime, to tell us more. As for the neighborhood's breakdown and all of its many sides, she explains, "The North Side goes down into Precita Park, and ends on Cesar Chavez. The West Side goes down into the Mission. The south side is, I believe, around St Mary's Park, and goes down to Alemeny. And the East Side dips down to Bayshore."
As for the comparatively untouched feel to the hood, Brooks tells SFist, "Parts of the hill were unpaved up until the 2000s. When I would walk to friends' houses on other parts of the hill, we had to walk down a dirt road. It's still crazy like that in some spots. And if you try to drive using GPS, it wants to direct your car down a flight of stairs built into the side of the hill."
As for other notable residents? So far, we're hearing word that crooner Jonathan Richman, Dan the Automator, and Terry Zwigoff live there. So does the bikini jogger. Noted blogs Burrito Justice and Bernalwood are also headquartered in Bernal.
Also, for those who want a deeper history of Cortland, check out the Bernal History Project's history of Cortland Avenue, brimming with old photos from back in the day.
If you haven't had the chance to get to Bernal, get out of your neighborhood (sound advice for many reasons), jump on the 24, and take it all in. Until then, check out these images of the country's allegedly hottest hood. Enjoy. And congratulations, Bernal. May the fame not go straight to your head and may impending Ellis Act evictions be few and far between.