San Fran Bar Crawl
The City by the Bay offers six hotspots worth visiting on your next trip.
Photo Courtesy The Monk's Kettle/Najib Joe Hakim
Indisputably a wine and food haven, San Francisco is also teeming with down-home bars that offer global beer lists and swanky lounges with well-priced cocktails. Visit one or all of these six drink destinations on your next visit for guaranteed tasty tipples and a good time.
Located in the Mission District, The Monk’s Kettle is a gastropub fit for any beer lover. The rotating selection of 200 craft brews features everything from pale Belgian ales to dark lagers and smoked beers. The food menu offers organically farmed produce, free-range meats and sustainable seafood that easily pair with the variety of brews. The pub also attracts oenophiles because of its global wine list, offerings choices like Preisinger’s 2008 Zweigelt-St. Laurent blend from Burgenland to Do Ferreiro’s 2009 Albariño from Rías Baixas.
This down-home bar has been serving locals and tourists alike a unique variety of beer and hearty fare, like braised oxtail over pasta and German-style sausage sandwiches, since 1947. With everything from San Francisco’s own Anchor Porter to Brazil’s Palma Louca, there’s something for everyone. The low-rise tables, covered with red-checkered tablecloths and worn-out stools create a relaxed environment perfect for a casual night out.
Set in the swanky W San Francisco hotel, both The Living Room Bar and the Upstairs Bar & Lounge provide patrons with two fashionable nightlife options. Located on the first and second floors of the hotel, respectively, a house M.C. pumps electronic beats throughout these hotspots, attracting a trendy crowd of Millennials hunting for a good time. Both lounges offer ultramodern décor, with radiant lights that mirror the stylish cocktails’ electric flavors. And for suds lovers, an assortment of international specialty beers is always on tap.
Hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and chocolate-brown leather banquets help to set the scene at this trendy cocktail lounge. Located in the historic Rialto Building, which survived the 1906 earthquake, John Colins offers well-crafted cocktails at a reasonable price (approximately $10 each). From the Sweet Leilani––a blend of unfiltered saké, mint, peach nectar and cranberry¬––to a Nicaraguan riff on the classic Sidecar, guests can sip libations in the mezzanine or on the dance floor, where live music is often featured, keeping the place bustling until 2 am.
Not only is a reservation mandatory at this speakeasy, but even with one, guests must find the unmarked entrance, ring the bell and announce a magic password that grants them access. Inside the dark and musky Prohibition-inspired space, tin ceilings, red-velvet wall coverings and wooden plank floors create a relaxing ambience. Bourbon & Branch boasts an incredible spirit selection, with rare gems like Balvenie’s 1971 Single Malt Scotch and the small-batch Crown Royal XR Canadian Whisky. There’s no food served, so come after dinner for a nightcap.
At this dimly lit, tight-quartered SoMa-neighborhood piano bar, you can enjoy live jazz, cabaret performances or open-mic night depending on when you visit. Once the resident piano man hits the stage, patrons are encouraged to request their favorite tunes from the large songbook for him to perform. Martinis are the beverage of choice here, with flavorful twists like the Mango-Melon Martini, complete with mango nectar.