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Sunday, May 6, 2007
West Portal is a principal shopping street for much of southwestern San Francisco, California, and is also considered a neighborhood itself. Named for the western terminus of the Muni tunnel beneath Twin Peaks that opened in 1918, the street (West Portal Avenue) and adjacent district is still dominated by the frequent trundlings of the three Muni Metro lines (K, L and M) that emerge from the subway to run in the street median. The ride in the subway from West Portal to downtown/Union Square is about fifteen minutes.
In addition to the streetcar tunnel, West Portal's landmarks include a large movie theater, a library, a school, churches (including the prominent West Portal Lutheran Church and School), many good restaurants (Fuji, Roti, El Toreador, Xiao Loong, Fresca, Fuji, Bursa, Spiazzo), bars (Portal's Tavern, Philosophers' Club), bookstores (West Portal Books , BookShop West Portal (, Waldenbooks), drugstores (Walgreens and Rite Aid), markets, coffeeshops (Starbucks, Pete's Cafe, Greenhouse), a bakery (West Portal Bakery), professional offices, a video rental store (Diamond Videos), and many beauty salons.
Despite the semi-recent appearances of larger chain stores, the many unique neighborhood shops give the area a distinctly smaller-city, "retro" charm. The West Portal Muni Metro Station is located at the entrance to the Muni tunnel at the northern end of West Portal Avenue.