Though it's located in the heart of the gritty Tenderloin, Tradition is one of the most beautiful bars in San Francisco, with a paneled grandeur that evokes a 19th-century train station. An elaborate wood-and-glass bar hangs from the tall ceiling, dwarfing the half dozen suspenders-sporting bartenders hustling to dispense drinks to the throngs. The bar has three levels: the main space on the ground floor that gets packed at weekends; a quieter mezzanine providing a bird's-eye view of the action below; and, between the two, a series of slightly elevated “snugs.” Couples and groups of up to eight people can reserve one of these semi-enclosed booths, which have table service and an extended menu. As suggested by the mishmash of vintage posters from various decades adorning the walls, the cocktail program takes you through the history of American tippling with drinks from each era, spanning everything from Prohibition old-fashioneds to tiki-bar mai tais, made with quality spirits (no Smirnoff in the wells here) and fresh fruit.
441 Jones St
|Cross street:||between Ellis and O'Farrell Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 5pm–2am|
|Transport:||BART & Metro to Powell|