I only started getting pedicures a few years ago when I was dating a girl who was very feminine. I had never really paid any attention to those sorts of things. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t spend thousands annually on beauty products, and being a guitar player, I had always kept my nails short and unpolished. But one day, she convinced me to go, and I became hooked. I can’t really explain why I love my bubblegum pink toenails, I just do. Nowadays, my monthly pedicure is more regular than my period.
I started the whole pedi thing in Nashville, so when I moved back here, I needed to find a new place and quick. I asked around a bit, and everyone said the same thing—go to Mani Pedi.
Mani Pedi is located in Potrero Hill, at Missouri and 20th streets. They are open every day except Tuesday. They offer their signature mani/pedi for $40, but also services such as waxing, airbrush tanning and, massage (mani, pedi, and/or shoulders). All of their nail services are done in reclining, heated, massage chairs, while your feet soak in a whirlpool Jacuzzi tub. Of course, they have a million little extras and products to customize your experience.
When you walk in the door, even when there are a lot of people, you don’t get that wham-bam, McDonalds’, I’m-not-so-sure-about-the-clean-factor kind of feeling. The shop is like a little beach house, and though busy, it doesn’t feel crowded or rushed. You are asked if you would like some green tea or water, pay for your service, and then head over to peruse the nearly 400 different shades of polish. If you have an appointment or if there are not a lot of people, you will get in a chair almost immediately. Walk-ins are always welcome (especially Sundays and weekdays 10–4), and they try to get you in as fast as they can.
They have magazines that are current and ones you actually want to read. I don’t know why, but when I am getting my nails done, I just want to read about all the Hollywood gossip. It’s crazy, I don’t pay attention to that stuff at all in my real life, but when I get there, I’m all about what’s going on with Britney. The pedicure is relaxing and doesn’t last too long or end too quickly. If you are getting a manicure, they do it at the same time, and every woman in there looks like she feels like a queen. It’s a casual and friendly environment. The last time I wanted my toenails painted black, the whole room chipped in with their comments—“That’s so cool!”, “That reminds me of the eighties!”, “You’re so brave!” and so on.
One thing that rocks about Mani Pedi is all the cool jewelry, purses, and little knick knacks they have. One day while there with a friend, we practically killed each other as we dove for this amazing necklace we saw (I got it.). I have worn it every day since then, until a woman at my job went all Single-White-Female about it, and we did a trade. I have never gotten as many compliments on a piece of jewelry as I did on that necklace, and I was very happy to give it to someone who loved it even more than I did. I am serious—they have some very unique stuff that probably warrants its own visit.
The staff is very professional and communicates with you about your needs. I am prone to ingrown toenails, so I have to be very specific about the length and shape of my nails. I have been to many places, all over the city, some even more expensive and “trendy” than this place, but nowhere have I received a pedicure that lasts so long and takes into account my problem. The staff is quick, talented, and efficient—the experience feels just good and clean.
The only drawback I have is that if you don’t have a car, which I don’t, and you are too cheap for a cab, which I am, it is a pain in the butt to get there. It usually involves a couple of buses that aren’t the most reliable MUNI has to offer. It’s practically impossible to walk there, considering it is at the very top of the hill, and you can barely walk down the sidewalk, much less up it. I tried going to other more convenient places, but I was never satisfied with the job they did.
Every month, rain or shine, I make the trek to Mani Pedi. My toenails thank me for it.