7x7 Big Drink: 50 Most Iconic Cocktails in San Francisco 2024
Let's all welcome Abaca's ube colada to the list. (Allison Webber)

7x7 Big Drink: 50 Most Iconic Cocktails in San Francisco 2024


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The vibe, it has shifted.

San Francisco’s cocktail scene has gone posh, with many new bars debuting on rooftops (Chotto Matte, Cavaña, Kaiyo Rooftop), designed like opulent hotel lobbies (Starlite, Holbrook House, Bar Sprezzatura), or feeling like private clubs (Dawn Club, Dark Bar). I guess we are going to have to start dressing better to match.

Whether these newest venues will make an enduring impact on the culture of the city remains to be seen, but luckily San Francisco still values its classic spots. Trad’r Sam is back open, Harry Denton’s Starlite Room has been reborn, Dalva is better than ever, Stookey’s expanded, and hopefully we’ll always have the Buena Vista, Tommy’s, and Bix among others.

This year’s Big Drink additions include variations of newly popular old drinks like the espresso martini, an ube colada, and a sherry cobbler) and a few more that are potentially poised to become modern classics. Get ‘em while they’re good, because who knows where we’ll be drinking in 2025.

Holy Water's After the Gold Rush.(Marc Fiorito, Gamma Nine Photography)

1. 1934 Zombie at The Tonga Room. It may leave your head swimming, but just don't jump in the pool; rum, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon, falernum, absinthe, bitters. // Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St. (Nob Hill), tongaroom.com

2. 20th Century at Stookey's Club Moderne. Throw back this throwback; gin, quinine wine, creme de cacao, and lemon. // 895 Bush St. (TenderNob),stookeysclubmoderne.com

3. After the Gold Rush at Holy Water. It's still the holy quaternity; bourbon, pineapple gum syrup, apricot, and lime. // 309 Cortland Ave. (Bernal Heights), holywatersf.com (Psst: Get the recipe.)

4. Bacchus Old Fashioned at Schroeder’s. Pair with a pretzel; German grape brandy, rye, bitters, sugar, absinthe. // 240 Front St. (FiDi), schroederssf.com

5. Blood in the Water at Hog Island Oyster Co. Tomatoes in your throat; mezcal, jalapeño cordial, bloody mary mix, mignonette tonic, lime, beer. // #11 Ferry Building (Embarcadero), hogislandoysters.com

6. Bloody Mary at Zeitgeist. May make you see pink elephants; vodka, tomato juice, spices, and pickly garnishes. // 199 Valencia St. (Mission), zeitgeistsf.com

7. Boracay Old Fashioned at Kona’s Street Market. Pandan pandan; gin, pandan, bay leaf, coconut water, blanc vermouth, calamansi. // 32 3rd Street (SoMa), konastreetmarket.com

8. California Cooler at Horsefeather. She's so fresh; gin, celery, lime, thyme, sauvignon blanc, horseradish, and sparkling wine. // 528 Divisadero (NoPa),horsefeatherbar.com

9. Chartreuse Slushy at The Morris. Sinfully slushed; Green Chartreuse, lemon, syrup; blended. // 2501 Mariposa St. (Potrero Hill), themorris-sf.com

10. Cherry Bounce at Comstock Saloon. Get some pep in your step; bourbon, cherry brandy, lemon, bitters, and Champagne. // 155 Columbus Ave. (North Beach),comstocksaloon.com

Kona's Street Market's Boracay Old Fashioned.(Allison Webber)

11. Chinese Mai Tai at Li Po Cocktail Lounge. It was locally famous, then it got Bourdained; rum, Chinese liqueur, and pineapple. // 916 Grant Ave. (Chinatown), lipolounge.com

12. Destroyer of Bad Vibes at Ocean Beach Café. Kill icky juju, spare your liver; nonalcoholic botanical spirit, hemp and root spirit, honey, lemon, orange bitters, cinnamon. // 734 La Playa St. (Outer Richmond), oceanbeachcafe.com

13. Dublin Honey at The Ice Cream Bar. You’ve earned this; Guinness, caramelized honey ice cream, Valrhona chocolate syrup, and port. // 815 Cole St. (Cole Valley), theicecreambarsf.com

14. Faithful Fool at Bar Iris. An apple a day, you say?; sweet woodruff, granny smith apple, calvados, yuzu sake. // 2310 Polk St. (Russian Hill), bar-iris.com

15. Greyhound’s Tooth at Spruce. Classing up the classic; vodka, Benedictine, grapefruit, lemon, grapefruit bitters. // 3640 Sacramento St. (Presidio Heights), sprucesf.com

16. Hat in the Ring at Junior. Throw your, you know; gin, bitter aperitif, grapefruit, and bitters. // 2545 24th St. (Mission), juniorbarsf.com

17. Holy Basil at Wildseed. Plant-based party over here; green chili vodka, lime, cucumber basil shrub. // 2000 Union Street (Cow Hollow), wildseedsf.com

18. House Campari Soda at Buddy. Open you palate, open your mind; bitter vermouth, cherry quinine liqueur, aperitivo wine, orange bitters, soda. // 3115 22nd Street (Mission), buddythebar.com

19. Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe. The OG; Irish whiskey, coffee, sugar, and cream. // 2765 Hyde St. (Fisherman's Wharf), thebuenavista.com

20. I’ve Grown to Love Life Too Much at The Interval at Long Now. Choose life; Cognac, spiced pear liqueur, and creme de cacao; shot of sparkling wine on the side. // 2 Marina Blvd. (Fort Mason), theinterval.org

Bar Iris' Faithful Fool. (@equal_parts_cocktail)

21. Jamaican Zombie at Zombie Village. Wake the dead; rum, grapefruit, lime, mango, Doc's Spice #2, and Scotch bonnet chilis. // 441 Jones St. (Tenderloin), thezombievillage.com

22. Kentucky Buck at Rickhouse. Invented here, and world famous; strawberry-infused bourbon, lemon, and ginger beer. // 246 Kearny St. (FiDi), rickhousebar.com

23. Last Rites at Last Rites. Your first pick; rum, passionfruit, molasses, and spice mix. // 718 14th St. (Duboce Triangle), lastritesbar.com

24. Leeward Negroni at P.C.H. Cuckoo for coconut: gin, coconut-washed Campari, pandan cordial, bitters. // 550 Sutter St. (Union Square), pacificcocktailsf.com

25. Lost Resort at Lost Resort. The Last Word on the matter; gin, Chartreuse, hibiscus, and lemon. // 2736 20th St. (Mission), lostresortsf.com

26. Mai O Mai at True Laurel. Clarified and elevated; rum, lime, pistachio orgeat, curaçao, and coffee-rum float. // 753 Alabama St. (Mission), truelaurelsf.com

27. Manhattan at The Progress. You butter believe it; black butter bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. // 1525 Fillmore St. (Lower Haight), theprogress-sf.com

28. Martini at Blondies Bar. Sixteen ounces makes it iconic; vodka or gin and your choice of stuffed olive. // 540 Valencia St. (Mission), blondiesbarsf.com

29. Negroni in Caffeteria at Bar Sprezzatura. An espresso Boulevardier; Italian single malt whisky, coffee liqueur, fortified wine, Campari. // One Maritime Plaza #100 (Embarcadero), barsprezzatura.com

30. Open Sesame at Causwells. Savory sensation; tequila, bianco vermouth, cold pressed poblano, lime, agave, and toasted sesame. // 2346 Chestnut St (Cow Hollow), causwells.com

31. Paloma Slushy at The Lark Bar. Frozen and fizzy; tequila, lime, grapefruit, guava syrup, and Sprite. // 29 Third St. (SoMa), thelarkbar.com

32. Peas for Bees at Casements. Easy peasy; mezcal, pea and strawberry citric acid shrub, lime. // 2351 Mission St. (Mission), casementsbar.com

33. Pineapple Sherry at ABV. The best worst kept secret (off-menu). // 3174 16th St. (Mission), abvsf.com

34. Pisco Sour at La Mar Cocina Peruana. The first spirit of San Francisco; pisco, lime, egg white, and bitters. // Pier 1 ½ The Embarcadero (Embarcadero), lamarsf.com

35. Prickly Pear at The Snug. Safe to the touch; mezcal, nopales, prickly pear, amaro, lime, and habanero. // 2301 Fillmore St. (Pacific Heights), thesnugsf.com

36. Quarantine Order at Pagan Idol. Keep it to yourself; bitters, rum, cinnamon, passionfruit, grapefruit, and lime. // 375 Bush St. (FiDi), paganidol.com

37. Seafoam Spritz at Anina. Bouquet all day; elderflower, aperitif wine, lime, prosecco, and lemongrass. // 482 Hayes St. (Hayes Valley), aninasf.com

38. Seasonal Sherry Cobbler at The Treasury. It’s always sherry season; rotating blend of sherry, spices, and sweetener. // 200 Bush St #101 (Financial District), thetreasurysf.com

39. SF Yacht Club at 25 Lusk. A boat drink for landlubbers; vodka, grapefruit, cucumber, lemon, lime, and mint. // 25 Lusk St. (SoMa), 25lusk.com

40. Sidecar at Bix. Stay classy with a classic; Cognac, curacao, and lime. // 56 Gold St. (Jackson Square), bixrestaurant.com

Order the seasonal sherry cobbler at The Treasury.(Courtesy of @thetreasurysf)

41. Sometimes Old Fashioned at Cold Drinks. Duck would have it; Peking duck fat–washed Scotch, rye, lemon, pepper, mushroom, and bitters. // China Live, 644 Broadway (North Beach), chinalivesf.com

42. Slushy di Modena at Bar Nonnina. Shaved to order; gin, Italian amaro, Lambrusco, seasonal berries, and citrus over shaved ice. // Inside Fiorella, 240 Ninth Ave. (Inner Sunset), barnonnina.com

43. Smuggler's Rum Barrel at Smuggler's Cove. A secret mix with rum, juice, and spice, served in a barrel. // 650 Gough St. (Hayes Valley), smugglerscovesf.com

44. Space Adventure Cobra at Kaiyo Rooftop. Let it snake up on ya; gin, falernum, passionfruit, matcha coconut cream, lemon, and two kinds of bitters. // 701 3rd St (South Beach), kaiyosf.com

45. The Spritzzz at The Detour. Let's get spritzfaced; Aperol, sparkling rose, lemon, and soda. // 2200A Market St. (Castro), detoursf.com

46. Surfer Rosa at Stoa. A rogue wave in red; hibiscus mezcal, fortified wine, Benedictine, lemon, soda. // 701 Haight St. (Lower Haight), stoabar.com

47. Ten Forward at Mothership. Turn loose the juice; amaro, passionfruit, lemon, pea flower-infused vodka, and fennel. // 3152 Mission St. (Outer Mission), mothershipbar.com

48. Tommy's Margarita at Tommy's Mexican Restaurant. Zen and the art of agave; tequila, lime, and agave syrup on the rocks, no salt. // 5929 Geary Blvd. (Outer Richmond), tommysmexican.com

49. Ube Colada at Abacá. The Piña goes purple; aged rum, ube coconut cream, pineapple. // 2700 Jones St. (Fisherman’s Wharf), restaurantabaca.com

50. White Cap Martini at White Cap. Brine it on; gin and seaweed-infused dry vermouth. // 3608 Taraval St. (Outer Sunset), whitecapsf.com

True Laurel's Mai O Mai.(Aubrie Pick)

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