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The No-Fail Guide to Holiday Drinking in San Francisco

Drink fireside

You’ve driven by Zeki’s, on California and Leavenworth, a million times. But did you know it’s one of SF’s coziest bars? Burnished dark wood, dusky lighting and a roaring fireplace. Weeknights, stop in for a whiskey, and enjoy some tranquility (weekends can be a bit, shall we say, festive).
1319 California St., 415-928-0677, zekisbar.com

Do dessert wine

Perfect for the holidays is Rosenblum Black Muscat, a thick, viscous beauty that smells of candied cherries, blackberries and cinnamon. Chill it ever so slightly and serve with a plate of good cheese.
$13 per half bottle at K&L Wines, 638 Fourth St.,415-896-1734, klwines.com

Rent, don’t buy


Be it cocktail or wine glasses for your holiday party, don’t buy: Rent. It’s easier and less expensive. Abbey Party Rents makes it a no-brainer. They deliver and pick up, and you can send the glasses back unwashed.
415-715-6900, abbeypartyrents.com

Buy the best bubbly

We are lucky to have one of the best Champagne selections, not just in California, but in the country, in the humble but jam-packed D&M on Fillmore. From rarities like Cristal Rosé in magnum ($1,470) to inexpensive local delicacies like Domaine Carneros 2005 Brut ($20), this shop’s got all the bubbles anyone could need.
415-346-1325, 2200 Fillmore St., dandm.com

Drink Frugally

Always have wine on hand. William Cross Wine Merchant keeps a fantastic selection of wines under $15, rigorously selected from all over the world, from Hungary to New Zealand. A case or two of good wine here won’t set you back and tastes more expensively than it is.
2253 Polk St., 415-346-1314



Show up with something local


It’s always meaningful to bring a delicious spirit with a local flair to a dinner party. Gift a bottle of Germain-Robin Apple Brandy from Mendocino. Made from heirloom apple varieties from the Anderson Valley, it’s the most complex and delicious apple spirit in the country.
$62 at K&L Wines, 638 Fourth St., 415-896-1734, klwines.com

Give the right thing

For your spirit-loving friend, give something unique. The go-to shop is Cask, laden with small-batch bourbons, hard-to-find scotches, and artisanal gins. Try a bottle of spicy Thomas H. Handy Rye Whiskey ($72) or smooth and soothing Rhum J.M. Rhum Vieux from Martinique ($113).
17 Third St., 415-281-6486, caskstore.com

Pair perfectly with crab

What to sip while you crack into a Dungeness? Without question, a delicious German Riesling. Its acidity and citrus punch are like squeezing a lemon over the rich crab meat. The best place to buy German wine in the country is at Dee Vine Wines. The 2007 Von Hövel Scharzhoflberger Kabinett ($21) is a sure thing.
Pier 19, 415-398-3838, dvw.com

Take on your hangover

Barmistress Brooke Arthur suggests: “Water, cold shower, strong iced coffee, breakfast at Laszlo (Bloody Mary, fritatta, brown-sugar smoked bacon). Finish with a glass of Champagne and a shot of tequila.”
2526 Mission St., 415, 401-0810, laszlobar.com