Hard Water

Restaurants, Cocktail bars Downtown
4 out of 5 stars
Hard Water
Photograph: Noelle Chun Hard Water

This New Orleans–inspired spot serves expertly mixed Creole-style drinks and tasty bites in an intimate setting with a panoramic view of the Bay. A haven for whiskey lovers, Hard Water's granite, horseshoe-shaped bar showcases a discerningly selected array of more than 100 bottles, mostly from independent Kentucky distilleries. Well-priced flights of small-batch whiskeys or single-ounce pours make it possible to explore many of these rare gems without serious damage to your wallet. Celebrated beverage director Erik Adkins led some of the early days of the craft cocktail revolution in San Francisco, nabbing prestigious awards for his work. Here, the selection bends affectionately toward stirred brown spirits, with Big Easy classics like Sazeracs and juleps alongside lesser known, but historically accurate, renditions of rye-based drinks like the Cocktail a la Louisiane and Roffignac. But there are also lighter cocktails like the Bourbon Lift (bourbon, coffee liqueur, orgeat, cream, and soda water) and the Presbyterian (bourbon, lemon, ginger, soda). Rich snacks and dishes like pork belly cracklings, mac and cheese, seafood gumbo Andouille and fried chicken and waffles stand up nicely to the bold cocktails. To avoid an inevitable wait, reservations are highly recommended.


Venue name: Hard Water
Address: Pier 3, The Embarcadero
San Francisco

Opening hours: Mon–Sat 5pm–midnight; Sun 5pm–10pm
Transport: BART & Metro to Embarcadero
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