There's something that my husband, a longtime restaurant industry person has taught me: When going out to dinner, have no fear.
Before I met Joe, I would never in a million years have attempted to go to the most popular restaurants in town, on say, a Friday night—with no reservations. But he never thinks twice about it. His attitude is, it'll work out, and it almost always does.
A modern, undulating ride of LEED-certified design, Bar Agricole might be the most stunning tavern to ever touch down in San Francisco. The fact that the high-concept, farmcentric tavern is located on one of the most scrappy blocks of the city makes it all the more fascinating. We talked to Thad Vogler, the mad genius behind it all. Just don't call him a mixologist.
It’s not every day you find the business end of a pants-less cherub hovering over your gin and tonic. But if this is an experience you simply must add to your bar repertoire (really, you must), head to Gold Dust Lounge. Founded in 1933, this San Francisco institution seems to have handily avoided changing anything since. It still boasts the decor of a gold rush-era bordello, complete with worn red velvet, chipped gilt, and cheap booze.
When things get rough, sometimes you just have to sing. And when your shampoo bottle doesn't cut it, it's time for a microphone and a few drinks. And for that, you head to your nearest karaoke joint. Unleash your inner Mariah at these spots - our favorites in the city for lettling loose.
Encore Karaoke Lounge, 1550 California St., S.F.
A whole list of suitably ironic hipster bars was concocted for this series and I fully intended to stick with it, at least until I found myself at the Clift Hotel with out-of-town guests on Monday night. People, drinking in the Redwood Room is like attending Hogwarts without the treacle pudding and magical ability. Fairly innocuous while displaying Klimt's greatest hits, the digital frames lining the redwood walls eventually switched to unsettling Harry Potter-esque portraits of people who move when really they should be sitting still. Rather than blinking and breathing and staring down their patrician noses as you gulp your second strawberry margarita.
Green beer, car bombs, pinching strangers: St. Patrick's Day, the old-fashioned way, can be plenty of fun. But if your memories of last year's hangover are still painful, or you can't stomach the antics of a holiday bartenders not-so-lovingly refer to as "Amateur Night," there are still plenty of ways to enjoy St. Patty's this Wednesday that aren't on the traditional Irish-pub route. (And if you still love the classics, take heart: three of the four bars recently chosen by Thrillist as the city's best are Irish pubs.) Here are a few suggestions for a fresh take on St. Patty's (all hours are for Wednesday):
San Francisco has plenty of ultra-hip parents these days, and with the encroachment of rock shows and art events for the younger set, a new locale is emerging as the Final Frontier of family fun: the local watering hole. Buoyed by recent memories of their salad days and recession-induced frustration at dropping a boatload of cash on a babysitter, parents are bringing their babies into locales that were once their meat markets. As with everything involving urban children these days, this has provoked some heated opinions, from parents defending their need for a post-baby social life to childfree advocates decrying the presence of breastfeeding at the bar.
Tosca Cafe, the most jaunty of the city’s gin joints, is also well-known as a destination for the celebrity set.
But last night in North Beach when Jeannette Etheredge celebrated the 90th anniversary of her beloved bar, the place was jammed with that most local of breed: San Franciscans.
Generations, in fact, gathered to raise a glass to this historic watering hole -- from cops, politicians, artists, ribald raconteurs to ballet dancers, theater folks, ink-stained wretches and the jet set.
We've spent a lot of time thinking about the dual nature of bars and restaurants in SF. Obviously, restaurants with great cocktail, wine, and beer programs abound in the city, but on a busy night, dedicated drinkers can usually forget about snagging a table to drink first and eat second-- with people waiting, most restaurants won't allow lingering, especially if food isn't a priority. On the flip side, it's easy to darken the door of a beloved bar all night, but when it comes time for some ballast, drinkers are usually sent out in search of that late-night slice or burrito. With that in mind, here's our list of a few places where barflies can both drink to their heart's content, with no restrictions on seating, and snag a bite without having to leave. Have a favorite we missed?
Reclaimed wood has been a staple of contemporary architecture and interior design for years, but the creative uses and interesting past lives of the medium still never cease to amaze us. Lately we've been noticing bars across the city getting into the act. Haight's Magnolia Pub and Brewery received a major renovation last year, and while we love the new menu and adore the gold leafing on the walls, it's the countertops and bars that really make us swoon. The rich, polished wood is as smooth as butter - we couldn't stop running our hands over it. Our helpful server informed us that the wood was reclaimed from an old Levi's factory, of all places.