Located on the same North Beach block as institutions like Tosca Cafe and Vesuvio Cafe, Specs’ is a San Francisco icon and one of the country’s great dive bars. Open since 1968, it’s situated in a tiny alcove right off Columbus Avenue. Remaining virtually unchanged for decades with regulars who visit the bar daily, Specs’ keeps the tourists and partiers outside at bay, dedicating itself to remaining a timeless respite for conversation and connection.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: It’s not so much about the drinks as the crusty, maritime charm. Everything remains refreshingly less than $10, with flowing beer and stiff classic cocktails.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Owner Richard “Specs” Simmons was known for placing a brass plaque reading “silly drink” in front of customers who ordered drinks like a flavored Martini.