Nightlife Guide 2015: Where to Drink the Best Cocktails in San Francisco

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There's more to drinking that just a gin & tonic, folks. For the true San Francisco experience, one must immerse themselves in the city's world renowned craft cocktail scene. Here's where to go...

This beautiful, shabby-chic-in-the-way-Gwyneth-Paltrow-is-shabby-chic restaurant features the somewhat hidden gem of a cocktail menu crafted by Brian Felley and Mo Hodges of the beloved and missed Big, so expect delicious and exquisite drinks with unique ingredients like house-made apple liquor. // 398 Geary St. (TenderNob), 398restaurantsf.com

ABV

A collaboration from Mission industry greats, this indutrial-gray bar with wooden accents and patina mirrors offers no-nonscense cocktails and delicious bites, such as a filling pimiento burger, for less than $10. // 3174 Mission St. (Mission), abvsf.com

Blackbird

This hopping bar serves a fine array of local wines, cocktails, and craft beers to a mixed crowd that’s primed for a good time. // 2124 Market St. (Castro), blackbirdbar.com

The Interval at Long Now

A bar, cafe, and events space from The Long Now Foundation has more than 1,000 books lining the shelves on the walls, a clock engineered to last 10,000 years, and a cocktail list with drinks for all seven sections of the space. Behind the bar you’ll find a light-and-sound installation designed by Brian Eno. // 2 Marina Blvd Bldg A, Fort Mason Center (Marina), theinterval.org

Pabu

Certified sake sommelier Stuart Morris happily helps you navigate the 50-plus offerings on the sake menu, which pair with chef Ken Tominaga’s sushi masterpieces. // 101 California St. (FiDi), pabuizakaya.com

Park Tavern

Extremely popular (and deservdly so), this upscale restaurant off the square in North Beach has white marble tables and dark leather banquettes. After work, grab a cocktail from the ever-bustling main bar. // 1652 Stockton St. (North Beach), parktavernsf.com

Maven 

Pairing up is easy to do at this bilevel haven, conceptualized around a menu that brings together ambitious cocktails, wine, beer, and small plates of, for example, Chinatown duck sliders. // 598 Haight St. (Lower Haight), maven-sf.com

Trick Dog

Bon vivants Josh Harris, Scott Baird, and Jason Henton have almost outdone themselves with this industrial-chic space that hosts what looks like a hipster-laced college party nightly. Key difference: no red plastic cups. Instead, well-conceived cocktails are offered on menus that are a nod to the “what’s your sign” mingling going on: Dip into a bold Leo (Leblon cachaça, Mandarine Napoleon, condensed milk, guava, stout) and pair it with equally groovy eats, such as the Trick Dog (house-ground chuck, brisket, and sirloin). // 3010 20th St. (Mission), trickdogbar.com

Trou Normand

The follow up to Bar Agricole boasts high wooden ceilings, exposed brick walls with accompanying art, and huge windows, along with a heritage spirit-focused cocktail menu by a nationally recognized team led by Bar owner Thad Vogler. // 140 New Montgomery (SoMa), trounormandsf.com

W Hotel [7x7 Partner]

Experience the pulse of the Bay Area Upstairs at W San Francisco and celebrate the region with local, organic, and sustainable offerings. Relax in secret spaces, mix, and mingle. Enjoy top shelf liquors in eight seasonal signature cocktails crafted to explore molecular gastronomy.  Starting April 2, head to the W for Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays, for cocktails and music from the 80s, 90s and early 00s.  Order tater-tot casserole or a blue Scooby Snack cocktail—all at 90s prices. // 181 Third St. (SoMa), wsanfrancisco.com

Slate Bar [7x7 Partner]

Slate Bar, just off 16th Street BART stop, is a spacious lounge serving serious cocktails alongside shots and beers to Mission locals and commuters alike. Go to watch the game on the big screens, nightly entertainment, and for the best pool table in town. // 2925 16th St. (Mission), slate-sf.com

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