The best bars in San Francisco to grab a drink at right now
December 2018: We expanded this list from 10 to 24 essential bars and included newcomers like Radhaus and Oakland's Hello Stranger. Welcome to the Time Out DRINK List, our handpicked ‘best of’ San Francisco’s drinking scene. These are the most buzzing bars in this city right now: the most inventive and most memorable watering holes. Just as there's no shortage of great things to do in San Francisco, there's certainly no shortage of watering holes here either. Artisanal cocktail parlors, laid-back dives with cheap beer and pinball, craft beer emporiums… Bars in San Francisco are crammed into every block of the 7x7. Whether you prefer neighborhood dive bars, elegant cocktail dens or craft beer bars, there’s a long list of “bests” in every category across one of the world’s best drinking cities. Here are some we couldn’t live without. Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars here.
The best tiki bars in San Francisco
Since the 1930s, the tiki trend has popped up in bars all over the country, bringing umbrella-topped libations to gritty dive bars and swanky cocktail bars in San Francisco and the East Bay alike. Some cities have lost their fascination with the tropical fad, but in the Bay Area, the tiki torch has never gone out. Since the iconic Trader Vic's (which, while no longer one of the best tiki bars in the area, is still certainly worth mentioning) opened in 1936, quenching our thirst for themed refreshment has been one of the best things to do in San Francisco. With more than 15 tiki bars to choose from, there are bound to be some tiki wannabes in the mix, so we hit the road and sipped Mai Tais from San Mateo to Alameda. Here, without further ado, the ten best tiki bars in the Bay Area. RECOMMENDED: The best speakeasies in San Francisco
Two new rooftop bars just opened in the Bay Area
This week, two new rooftop bars, one in SF and one in downtown Napa, have quietly opened—now all we need are those warm summer nights. Rooftop25 at Twenty Five Lusk With a striking, three-floor layout in a 1917 brick-timber warehouse, Twenty Five Lusk has always been a draw for chef Matthew Dolan's international cooking (sturgeon schnitzel, anyone?) and a cocktail from drink pioneer Daniel Hyatt, who mans the lounge bar downstairs. Now they're elevating their game with Rooftop 25. Mini-olive trees nestle under a canopy of heat lamps at this west-facing (read: sunset-viewing) deck. It's open daily from 11:30am-8pm, and the team plans to add flat screen TVs soon for game days. A playful menu offers boozy slushies (we love the Spicy Passionfruit Margarita), bottled piña coladas and wood-fired pizzas like the Pizza #2, loaded with bratwurst sausage, fennel, shaved apple and oregano. Sky & Vine Photograph: Courtesy Archer Hotel Sky & Vine at the Archer Hotel World has spread quickly about downtown Napa’s only rooftop bar, Sky & Vine at the chic new Archer Hotel. With sweeping views of downtown Napa, cradled by the mountains on either side, this is surely Napa’s new hotspot. There are fire pits, all-day food, a giant Jenga set, red umbrellas, a covered restaurant section and an olive tree surrounded by couches and chairs. While we have yet to try executive chef Jeffrey Russell’s rooftop food, downstairs, Charlie Palmer Steak is a top-notch steakhouse and r
The best new way to tour Wine Country is in a stylish tuk-tuk
You’ve never seen Napa like this. A fleet of electric three-wheeled tuk-tuks, from brand-new tour company Laces and Limos, is hitting the streets of Napa Valley, ready to take you and your squad for a spin. A tuk-tuk (Bangkok’s stylish, modern-day rickshaw) can carry you and five friends through picturesque vineyards while making sure the trip is comfortable with heated seats and a waterproof hood. Choose from one of three packages: The Basic includes a two-and-a-half-hour ride ($55 per person) through downtown Napa, with stops at two tasting rooms and a distillery. The Classic ($75 per person) is a three-hour journey through the up-and-coming Coombsville wine region and includes three tastings. Finally, the Custom package (prices vary) allows you to build your own itinerary of wine tastings, food pairings, classes and more. Headed out for a special occasion? Tuk-tuks can be adorned with wedding colors, birthday balloons or bachelorette swag for an Insta-worthy day among the grapes. A personal designated driver is always included.
Historic Mare Island is getting a new, scenic whiskey distillery
Mare Island is a well-known haven for outdoor enthusiasts, but it’ll soon be a go-to destination for craft whiskey-lovers as well. Savage & Cooke, a new craft distillery owned and operated by world-renowned winemaker Dave Phinney (creator of The Prisoner and Orin Swift wine labels), will open next month on the North Bay preserve, crafting whisky, bourbon and rye by the barrel. The island, just off the shore of Vallejo, boasts a fascinating history as a former naval shipyard and includes hundreds of acres of pristine green spaces and camping destinations in close proximity to both Napa Valley and San Francisco (just hop on the ferry). The new distillery will take over a restored brownstone building that once served as bunker and a storage facility for highly classified military documents. Savage & Cooke launched operations in May of 2017 with Ayate tequila (featuring reposado and anejo versions) and expanded in September with the five-year-old Second Glance American Whiskey and the four-year-old Burning Chair Bourbon. Both the tequila and whiskies are finished in Phinney’s wine barrels before bottling, though the tequila is not made in the United States. “The tasting room will offer visitors a unique experience on Mare Island with tastings of our core products, tours led by our master distiller, and rare tastings of our reserves which are only available onsite—including a 12-year-old Bourbon and 10-year-old American Whiskey,” says Lauren Blanchard, general manager at
San Francisco's newest cafe is dedicated to all things matcha
It's been a year in the works, but Stonemill Matcha is planning to finally open at 561 Valencia Street (the former Bar Tartine space) this May. Resembling a traditional Japanese cha-no-ma, Stonemill Matcha focuses on high-quality, stone ground matcha sourced from Kyoto, Japan and served in countless ways: Freshly whisked matcha, sparkling matcha, matcha lattes and cold-brew Sencha and Genmaicha on-tap. Pastries and sweet treats are under the direction of pastry chef Mikiko Yui (formerly of Statebird Provisions and Coi) and a partnership with Tartine Manufactory means matcha croissants will soon be the go-to breakfast for most of the Mission. Heartier dishes, including a Katsu Sando, come courtesy of chef Keisuke Akabori. Our signature drink to be, #sparklingmatcha is perfect for a warm day like today! We at #stonemillmatcha are always curious to find new ways to enjoy #matcha A post shared by Stonemill Matcha (@stonemillmatcha) on Apr 23, 2018 at 5:35pm PDT A curated retail section at Stonemill Matcha will also offer matcha starter kits, handmade ceramics and art by Japanese and local San Francisco artisans. For a first taste of Stonemill Matcha, exclusive sweet and savory pastries like matcha soft serve, matcha-blood orange tarts, and matcha almond cake will be available at Tartine Manufactory beginning Saturday, April 28. Hello!! We are excited to seeing you soon in May. Follow us for updates. . . . #stonemillmatcha #comingsoon #va