826 Valencia: San Francisco's premiere pirate shop/writing center

John Lovas and other Bay Area folks may already know about this, but a friend of mine emailed me about this and it sounds totally cool:

The friend in question recently took a trip to San Francisco and he ended up going to a place that he described as “The Pirate Store,” which I think is actually known as 826 Valencia. It’s a “Writing Center” for kids 8 to 18, a place that does tutoring, has workshops, hosts school field trips, and holds all kinds of other events, all for free.

Oh yeah, it’s also a pirate store, a place that the main 826 web site describes as “San Francisco’s only independent pirate supply store. We offer a variety of goods, including lard, flags, eye patches, mops, glass eyes and the like.” You can find most of this stuff on the web site– I couldn’t find the lard though. According to my friend, the place set up operations in a building that is in a commercial zone and the organizers of the center were told they had to either sell something or get the zoning changed. So they said “okay, we’re a pirate supply store.”

Anyway, what a great idea! It just seems to make such perfect sense to me that a writing center is fronted and (in part) financed by a pirate store. I think I’ll run the idea by our writing center director….

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