Southside Sacramento, CA

This industrial neighborhood in the capital buzzes with craft cocktails, a farmer’s market, and summer’s last snow cone


 Artists Call it Home

What was once a wasteland of auto body shops and shuttered warehouses had become the city’s creative core.  At its heat is Verge Center for the Arts, home of some toe dozen studios in a single gigantic warehouse that hosts everything from pop-up dinners to indoor mini golf.  At nearby Arthouse, works by local sculptors, painters, and photographers fill a well-lit space above indie shops that sell jewelry, yarn, and tea.  Southside’s arts scene includes more working studios than galleries.  The best way to see them is on the annual Capital Artists Studio Tour, when neighborhood creatives open their doors to the public.

The Snacks are Sweet

After WWII, many Japanese Americans settles in the Southside, and a Japanese flavor still persists – most deliciously at Osaka-Ya, where the Nakatani family has been making traditional mocha for 50 years.  On hot days, crowds line up at the snow cone window.  There, a choice must be made: cherry, orange, root beer? All the syrups are home made, and mixing isn’t allowed.  So choose wisely and choose soon – they’re only available through early September.  Just up the block, Doughbot traffics the kind of high-calorie doughnuts (chocolate-bacon, toasted-to-order s’mores) that keep the place hoping.  “Sometimes I think people come here just for the artwork,” jokes co-owner Bryan Widener, whose shop functions as an informal gallery with a vintage robot theme and coloring corner.

Farmers share the good stuff

On Sundays, the neighborhood overflows with shoppers at the Sacramento Central Farmer’s Market, the city’s largest.  Look for hyperlocal tomatoes from West Sacramento’s Wantabe Farms, late season peaches from Brenner Ranch, and grown-in-town mushrooms from Dragon Gourmet.  The best spot for a post-market picnic is across the street at Southside Park, a longtime oasis in the city with a fun space-themed playground, picnic tables, and leafy shade.

The Cocktails Will Hook You

Southside has no shortage of dive bars slinging $3 gin and tonics, but craft cocktails have encroached its borders.  The year-old restraint-bar Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company pours some of the tastiest drinks in town, including a handful of cocktails on tap, like a negroni or a maraschino-liqueur sweetened Manhattan.  If you’re a single-spirit kind of drinker, barman Chris Tucker uses a special Japanese saw to cut cube from large ice blocks to keep your drink cold without the watery leftovers.  Enjoy his handiwork at brunch, where the pommes Anna (perfect crisp potato cakes), crab has, or open face burger with fried egg, can soak up the effects of your afternoon triple.

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Source: Sunset Magazine

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