San Francisco’s Mission District has become the city’s hottest bar and restaurant scene because of its central location, access to public transportation and funky sense of excitement.
“Every other neighborhood is sleepy at night,” says Joe Hargrave, founder and owner of both Mosto and Tacolicious. “The Mission is cool.”
Long the city’s center of Latino culture, The Mission’s modern era began when Charles Phan opened The Slanted Door restaurant in 1995.
In the last several years, there has been a growth spurt marked by new dance clubs, hipster hangouts and pricy restaurants. It’s brought added life and color—along with, of course, fears of gentrification—to the neighborhood.
Sip and savor your way from one hot spot to the next: These five places are located within blocks of each other along the famous Valencia Street Corridor.
Mosto and Tacolicious
Hargrave opened these side-by-side eateries last year. Tacolicious features great tacos, but it’s Mosto that draws in the crowd for its Tequila- and mezcal-based specialty drinks. The scene is crowded, noisy and fun. Try the La Paloma ($9), a delicious elixir of Tequila, St-Germain and Jarritos Toronja, a Mexican grapefruit soda.
The valets make it seem fancy, but Locanda has quickly become a destination for a young, hip crowd that loves to drink and talk. It’s slightly retro in tone—Mad Men meets the Mission—with bartenders in vests and suspenders serving $10 cocktails in 1940s-style martini glasses to wash down little pizzas.
Still going strong after its buzzy 2008 debut, Beretta offers a full dinner menu of Italian-inspired fare, although it’s best known for pizzas. Late night, the cocktail lounge is hopping with some of the best bartenders in town crafting creative cocktails.
Opened amid much anticipation in late July, The Abbot’s Cellar is headed by the people who run the popular, nearby Monk’s Kettle. Both joints cater to the beer crowd, but The Abbot’s Cellar brings beer-and-food pairings to a new level. The Old World monastery look belies a modern, edgy feel.
Charles Phan moved The Slanted Door to Ferry Plaza years ago, but last year he opened this sleekly modern restaurant in The Slanted Door’s original space. His signature is everywhere on the Vietnameseinspired fare, such as rock cod with fried tofu and oyster mushrooms. The wine list is eclectic and the cocktail list inspired. Try the Cocktail of the Moment.