The best cocktail bars in San Francisco
Since the mid-aughts, some of the best bars in San Francisco have been at the cutting edge of craft-cocktail innovation, and though sophisticated beverage programs have caught fire in cities across the globe, Bay Area cocktail bars continue to deliver new and novel drinks that play to the bounty of fresh ingredients. Trailblazers like Bourbon and Branch continue to hold ground with a bedrock of precisely made classics from the Prohibition and pre-Prohibition eras, while their successors have brought a diversity of tipples to satsify every thirst, from elevated tiki drinks to revolutionary riffs on the Negroni. Some of the best San Francisco restaurants house exceptional bars, such as creative-cocktail star Beretta. And, of course, the city has no shortage of gay bars. To take a Gold Rush era walking tour of San Francisco (cocktails included), click here.
The best mescal bars in San Francisco
San Franciscans are getting in touch with their Mexican roots (after all, the Golden State was part of Mexico only 160 years ago) with frequent pilgrimages to Oaxaca and a wide-armed embrace of all things agave. If you can’t travel South of the Border, head to these local bars for some of the largest mescal selections in the United States.
The best wineries in Sonoma
Some liken Sonoma to Napa’s mellow, less snooty cousin. You’ll find the same lush, rolling landscape, but blessedly fewer wine buses and bachelorette parties. (The tasting fees tend to skew more affordable, as well.) But that’s not to say Sonoma has any less pedigree. Here, historic landmark wineries abut buzzy newcomers. Whether you’re looking for a low-key picnic spot, a hiking trail forgiving of a pinot buzz, or an Instagram-worthy wine cave, you’ll find it in Sonoma. RECOMMENDED: Best wineries in Napa Valley to taste world-class wine
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
Best wineries in Napa Valley to taste world-class wine
The Bay Area draws young winemakers like New York attracts artists—every year, oenophiles crown a new crop of hot, up-and-coming vintners, whether they’re working from the rocky Central Coast or a warehouse in Berkeley. But there’s something to be said for rediscovering the OG classics. These Napa wineries offer the quintessential Wine Country experience, whether you’re seeking inspiring vineyard views, hidden-gem caves, an abridged wine-making education, or simply some standout Cabs. RECOMMENDED: The best Napa hotels
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