Among America’s most esteemed literatti, author Dave Eggers conceived of 826 Valencia as a clever means of circumventing San Francisco’s zoning laws. He stumbled upon a perfect Mission District-location within which to manifest his vision for a non-profit literacy and publishing empire for inner-city youth. Retail-zoning wouldn’t allow for such an institution, so Eggers took matters into his own hands, giving a proverbial middle finger to the government by instead opening a bizarro, curiosity-filled “pirate supply store.”
Its proper storefront offers up literal treasure chests full of sand and trinkets and an impressively curated ship-like interior. A ‘secret passageway’ into a back-end writing-lab teems with school children absorbing the ins-and-outs of comic-book creation, short-story writing and poetry penning. Eggers’ do-good empire has expanded into major cosmopolitan areas throughout the U.S., with locations from New York to Chicago. San Francisco’s only independently-owned pirate supply shop. Do it.