Smuggler's Cove

Bars, Cocktail bars Hayes Valley
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Smuggler's Cove
Photograph: Noelle Chun
Smuggler's Cove

With an extensive menu of complex cocktails and an interior worthy of a movie set, it's not hard to understand why Smuggler's Cove is one of the most lauded tiki bars in the world. Patrons plunge straight into a pirate fantasy as they gaze at the three-story interior bedecked with a ship's bow, large anchors, mermaid carvings and even a waterfall. But the fanciful decor belies a sophisticated cocktail program. The hefty drinks list, contained in a thick binder, showcases traditional Caribbean libations and specialty creations from other famous tiki bars. Bartenders expertly mix, shake and blend the satisfyingly sweet and fruity concoctions using a stunning array of fresh ingredients—as many as a dozen in a single drink—and spirits that include seriously boozy overproof rum. Alongside the classics are lesser-known delights like the Batida (coconut cream, fresh passion fruit puree and condensed milk blended with the Brazilian sugarcane spirit cachaça) and the Tradewinds (a deceptively sweet drink made with two types of rum, apricot liqueur and coconut cream). Parties of ten or more can opt for punch bowls (some theatrically set alight), which come with two-foot-long straws to sip from your seat. The Cove also offers a serious selection of more than 200 rums. Regulars may choose to sign up for the Rumbustion Society, a punch card program that will help you chart your exploration of the spirit. Members who try at least 100 rums become Guardians of the Cove, earning a plaque, a merit badge and a fez. Those who hit 200 become a Master of the Cove and may go on a trip with bar owner Martin Cate to a rum distillery, plus other events throughout the year.


Venue name: Smuggler's Cove
Address: 650 Gough St
San Francisco

Cross street: between Ash and McAllister Sts
Opening hours: Daily 5pm–1:15am
Transport: Metro to Van Ness/BART to Civic Center/bus 5, 21, 92
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