The 23 Essential San Francisco Bars: Summer 2017
… Loading 23 Venues …

Close Preloader [X]

The 23 Essential San Francisco Bars: Summer 2017

San Francisco has been a pioneering drinking town since its inception. From its Barbary Coast beginnings to its last 15 years as a leader in the 21st-century cocktail renaissance, the City by the Bay is a place that knows its drinks. Any collection of notable bars is entirely subjective. Still, it’s hard to argue that these 23 spots are anything but essential—the kind of places that make San Francisco a destination for drinkers from across the world.—Virginia Miller

*Bars are listed alphabetically.

There are no matching venues. Try widening your filters.

1.  ABV

Spirits industry gurus Todd Smith, Ryan Fitzgerald and Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud opened ABV in 2014, with the laid-back bar immediately becoming a…
 More Info 

2.  Aub Zam Zam

Aub Zam Zam, with its dingy, charming Arabian Nights–esque décor, is one of San Francisco’s treasures. It’s been open since 1941,…
 More Info 

3.  Bellota

Jonny Raglin (who oversees all bars for The Absinthe Group) and bar manager Collin Nicholas keep it Spanish at the horseshoe-shaped…
 More Info 

4.  Benjamin Cooper

Benjamin Cooper is among the best of S.F.’s newer bars. It opened in early 2015 and is a prime example of…
 More Info 

5.  Bourbon & Branch

“Secret" passwords at the door and reservations-only and tired speakeasy rules are old news for die-hard cocktail fanatics. But Bourbon &…
 More Info 

6.  Club Deluxe

Since 1989, Club Deluxe is arguably S.F.’s best jazz bar (Though Royal Cuckoo is another great for Hammond-organ-centric jazz). With blond…
 More Info 

7.  Comstock Saloon

With the departure of bar greats Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin, who opened Comstock Saloon and provided its heart and style…
 More Info 

8.  Elixir

The space housing longtimer Elixir opened as a saloon way back in 1858. H. Joseph Ehrmann’s corner bar is intimate and…
 More Info 

9.  Fat Angel

Fat Angel exemplifies the ideal neighborhood beer-and-wine bar. Since opening in 2010, its staff has been pouring rare draft beers and…
 More Info 

10.  15 Romolo

With more than 500 spirits, a pioneering sherry menu and an in-house sherry expert, Ian J. Adams, North Beach’s 15 Romolo,…
 More Info 

11.  54 Mint

54 Mint has been an San Francisco bar destination since Jacopo Rosito (from Florence, Italy) took over the bar, bringing rare…
 More Info 

12.  Hard Water

Though part of Charles Phan’s restaurant group, focused on New Orleans–influenced dishes, Hard Water is also all about American whiskey, comprising…
 More Info 

13.  Hideout

The secret was out long ago. But Hideout, hidden in the back of cool, longtime Mission dive Dalva, is a cocktail…
 More Info 

14.  The Interval

The pioneering Long Now Salon has one of the coolest bars in this—or any—city, complete with salon talks and a library…
 More Info 

15.  Monk’s Kettle

In a town rife with celebrated beer bars, including the first United States outpost of Copenhagen’s Mikkeller bar, it’s tough to…
 More Info 

16.  The Riddler

Yes, it’s tiny, perpetually packed and noisy. You have to play your cards right to get a spot in this Hayes…
 More Info 

Added by Joshua Oakley

17.  Rye

Open since 2006 by drink pioneers Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren (who also run Rye on the Road and 15 Romolo),…
 More Info 

18.  Saison

Yes, it’s a three-Michelin-starred restaurant that can compete with the best restaurants in the world. Yes, a dinner here can cost…
 More Info 

19.  Smuggler’s Cove

The tiny, tri-level Smuggler’s Cove, which Tiki guru Martin Cate opened in 2009, is about as essential as it gets: the…
 More Info 

20.  Third Rail

The eastern neighborhood of Dogpatch has become quite the destination for a drink crawl. In the same couple blocks, there is…
 More Info 

21.  Tommy’s

The one and only Tommy’s just celebrated its 50th year in 2015. The icon has been spreading the tequila gospel to…
 More Info 

22.  Vesuvio

North Beach is rife with legendary, historic bars, from Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe to Tosca Cafe. Another one of the…
 More Info 

23.  Wildhawk

Karri Cormican Kiyuna runs a stellar bartender team at Wildhawk, a bar that opened from Jacques Bezuidenhout and Ken Luciano of…
 More Info