Benjamin Cooper is among the best of S.F.’s newer bars. It opened in early 2015 and is a prime example of the city’s innovative bar talent. The duo of Brian Felley and Mo Hodges made its mark at the former Big, turning a tiny bar into a destination with creative menu-less cocktails. Felley and Hodges excel in their own space, with a stellar bartending team. Located upstairs and a world away from crazed nearby Union Square, the candlelit low-ceilinged space is enhanced by playlists ranging from classic country to yacht rock.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: Though the menu constantly changes, expect innovation like salted St. George spiced pear liqueur and shiso with gin, brandy and chamomile in the Faulty Chute cocktail.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Daily-changing oysters are paired with rotating cocktails. Or head downstairs to 398 Brasserie for modern European brasserie dishes pre- or post-drinks.