Benjamin Cooper is among the best of S.F.’s cocktail bars, open since early 2015 and hidden upstairs near Union Square. The powerhouse duo of Brian Felley and Mo Hodges, as beloved for their welcoming hospitality as for their unique drinks, also run the nearby (and equally delightful) Douglas Room. A top-notch bartending team makes Benjamin Cooper as ideal a romantic respite as it is a solo watering hole or meet-up with friends, set to engaging music playlists.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: Though the menu constantly changes, expect unique drinks featuring everything from kummel to rancio wine. Try the refreshing Tony Wonder (reposado tequila, Lo-Fi dry vermouth, kumquats, honey, mint, citric acid and club soda) or savory-bright Steve Oaxacan (mezcal, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, blood orange, chipotle, lemon and salt).
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Regulars know they can get some of the freshest oysters downtown paired with their cocktails—a daily-changing offering from the West Coast typically including local Tomales Bay oysters.