Somebody needs to drop by and ask what the phone number is. I can do that in April.
I dropped by in person yesterday and got the business card for the location's general manager, for the best contact number: (312) 909-6811
They don't have italic nibs in yet, but are awaiting a delivery from Germany (but arrival date is unknown). For now, the only way to get an italic nib at the location is to purchase a pen from the Joy line and swap the nib from that onto your other Lamys. They do, however, have plenty of the special edition vibrant pink Al-Star in stock (which looks more like a purple than a pink, in person).
Their pen testing station is set up with ready-to-go Safaris, Al-Stars, and Joys, with various nib sizes to try out: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, 1.1 mm italic, 1.5 mm italic, 1.9 mm italic. They have both the all-plastic and aluminum-capped Joys to test out, so if you have concerns about how the different lengths between those feel, you can see for yourself!
When trying out the Extra Fine vs. their Fine nibs, I didn't see much of a difference between the two in person. When I asked the people working at the store about it, I learned that Lamy doesn't actually make a separate EF nib- their EF nibs are just Lamy's Fine nibs that have been ground down, so there may not be reliable consistency between any of their EF nibs. They did, however, offer to let me physically look at multiples of their EF nibbed pens to see which one looked the finest to me, if I wanted.
Even though their more upscale pens are in the glass cases, they have tester pens of all of them. You just need to ask a store rep. in order to try them. In addition to all the fountain pens, they also had Lamy's pencils, ballpoint, and rollerball pens around the store.
I ended up purchasing an Al-Star in blue-green with a Fine nib (my first Lamy pen!) plus added a converter. The pen came with 1 blue ink Lamy cartridge. I'm not sure how Lamy pens usually come when purchased elsewhere, but for all of the Safari and Al-Star pens at this location, at least, they all have a large barcode sticker that is adhered to the pen's cap. Getting a pen box is optional - the cashier asked if I wanted a box at all, or if I was fine walking out the store with just the pen in hand. I asked for a box (a black cardboard box at no extra charge). Once I got home and tried to remove the barcode sticker from the pen, it left adhesive residue, which I had to scrape off with a kitchen scouring sponge. (I was so scared of scratching up the finish!!!)
Overall, I would visit the store again for the in-person shopping experience (and to support the existence of the store so that more pen shops will come to the area!); the staff was friendly and helpful (without being overbearing in such a small space). But note that the experience comes at a premium, and their pens are sold at MSRP; the pen + converter cost me a total of $57.50 (sales tax in San Francisco is 8.5%).
Both the Lamy store and the mentioned Patrick & Co. stationary store are located less than a couple minute walk from the Montgomery BART station. One sad thing I realized, however, is that Patrick & Co. is closed on both Saturdays and Sundays, so if you're looking to pick up some paper while you're in the area, either come on a weekday or go to Mai-Do at Japantown (via bus 38). If you're into Moleskine, their store is located 2 storefronts up the street from Lamy's.
Edited by Aquabat1020, 25 February 2018 - 22:32.