A to Z: San Francisco’s Best Summer Bars + Cocktail Joints
San Francisco is a bright, unique city where, even as high as rent prices are, you can still get a modestly priced drink.
Being the conciseness bunch we are, we decided to ask a few Bay Area pub dwellers what their favorite watering holes are in San Francisco to chill, drink, and meet other like-minded individuals; the results transpired into us making the below list.
ABV // 3174 16th St, San Francisco: Get to know this chic little spot on the edge of the Mission. ABV continues to wow its customers with re-imagined cocktails, mixing liquors types you would've never imagined going together well.
The 16-drink filled menu (plus four mocktails)—which is organized by spirit—is reason enough to stop by ABV, alone. Recipes for these many drinks also stem from the genius of other bartenders and history surrounding the area. All in all, an ace-choice place to take a first date. // Our recommendation: Mumbai Mule.
Buzzworks // 365 11th St, San Francisco: Now this is a sports bar that can house a crowd, taming their SoMA fans in groups, Buzzworks can handle your party of eight or more. Whether televising the latest Warriors or Raider's game on the flat screens that line the wall, you'll surely meet some kindred ilk within the shouting crowds. // Our recommendation: Shmaltz He'Brew Slingshot
Casanova Lounge // 527 Valencia St, San Francisco: This bar, bristling with nostalgia, has us at ease amongst the other yet-acquainted bar go-ers. With the velvet paintings, grape-colored lamps, and comfy couches this bar will definitely take you back a few decades. A great venue to relax with old friends or on a casual date. Drinks are pretty cheap, and it’s in a great location to boot! // Our recommendation: a Greyhound with Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice
Dr. Teeth // 2323 Mission St, San Francisco: Beside the otherwise epic name, this spot is bright with modern-day good vibes. With a lively atmosphere, it’s an awesome place to start or end the evening. Along with its striking name, Dr. Teeth lives up to its well-respected expectations. Be even more merry and consume a couple baskets of discount spicy wings. // Our recommendation: The Mayhem with a Basket of Spicy Wings
El Rio // 3158 Mission St, San Francisco; This is a really good bar for groups. It has a cool, quaint outdoor patio where everyone can mingle. It has a friendly atmosphere with year-round Christmas lights stung all along it. Be festive and slightly inebriated—even into the summer months!// Our recommendation: A Classic IPA and Chips
Fireside Bar // 603 Irving St, San Francisco: Often considered to be the Sunset cousin to Yancy's, regulars are quick to shy away from such comparisons. Mixed with art-deco furnishings and a whiskey selection that could make your grandfather's liquor cabinet look sparse, is the type of place to kick your feet back. Oh, and did we mention that this spot is dog-friendly too. // Our recommendation: A Shot Of The Scooby Snack
Golden Gate Tap Room // 449 Powell St, San Francisco: This bar is excellent for groups or just a for a much needed beer after a long day. A Union Square staple, they play all the big games and even the less watched events...like the World Dart Championship. Wall-to-wall beer and cocktail selections make this Union Square bar a watering hole for authentic sports lovers. // Our recommendation: The Raging Bitch
Horsie’s Saloon // 3202 Mission St, San Francisco: Horsie’s Saloon seemingly came out of nowhere and instantly won the hearts and taste buds of the Mission cohort. Owner Paul Miller quickly applied for his liquor license and opened the bar inside the Royal Cuckoo. So what’s the drink to try? “Horsies Mary,” a bloody Mary that includes two shots of the digestif Underburg. // Our recommendation: Horsies Mary
Inovino // 108 Carl St, San Francisco: A friendly little spot in Cole Valley with a nice selection of wine and bites. This is a great date spot or a place to catch up with friends. A Plus! Looking to class up your list of go-to’s? Inovino is an instant stamp in our little black book. // Our recommendation: A Chinato Spritz
Jones // 620 Jones St, San Francisco: With a jaw-dropping outdoor patio and a fun, young vibe, Jones is a bar where it’s impossible not be be in a good mood. It doubles as a relaxing lounge spot or a lively dance club—it’s up to you. We'd recommend this bar to people visiting from out of town; it’s in a good location and it’s not too gimmicky. If you haven’t been already, definitely check it out. // Our recommendation: Slippery When Wet
Kozy Kar // 1548 Polk St, San Francisco: A 70’s theme, paired with the porn playing on mini television screens, makes for an interesting outing on either a weekend or weekday evening. (I mean, you can drink atop of water beds—how cool is that?) Don’t take our word for it though, check it out with a friend. // Our recommendation: Schlitz tall boys
Local Edition // 691 Market St, San Francisco - The coolest basement lounge you'll ever come across. Local Edition on Market is the hidden (not so hidden gem) that our cocktail minds have ever seen. Inspired by the newspaper business of the 50’s and 60’s, you will find a sophisticated décor juxtaposed by vintage paper presses and clippings from the archives of San Francisco’s past. Our cocktail menu includes both the contemporary and the classic with a strong nod to the drinking habits of a not so distant era. “Culinary” Highballs, updated versions of the Bloody Mary and Gibson are just a few of the choices they offer. // Our recommendation: Jenny Lane: an aged rum, beeberovka, vermouth di torino, lemon.
Mission Bowling Club // 3176 17th St, San Francisco: With amazing pieces of art and murals done by Andrew Schoultz, this is a really amazing to either go solo or bring friends too! They have an awesome selection of beer and comfy couches to drink atop, in between bowling runs. Even if you’re not bowling, it’s a cool place to kick it. // Our recommendation: The Chicago Sour
Novela // 662 Mission St, San Francisco: Novela is a book lover’s dream. The drinks are named after famous literary characters and they have some interesting ingredients. There are books mounted on the walls and encapsulates a very warm yet chic atmosphere. Come, drink, and feel well-read. // Our recommendation: Mary Foxe
Owl Tree // 601 Post St, San Francisco: This is one of the oldest bars in San Francisco, according to us locals. This is a cozy, old-school bar that is well loved in the city. With its great cocktails and warm atmosphere, this is a place worth keep going to. It’s a little snug but it wouldn’t be bad for a small group. Definitely a great spot to catch up with friends. Our recommendation: Bulleit Manhattan
Philosophers Club // 824 Ulloa St, San Francisco: This bar is a little tucked away. They have a fantastic atmosphere to them and a pool table for those pool sharks out there. It’s also next to an awesome sub shop, too, that you can grab a sobering bit at afterward. They have friendly, attentive staff. This is a best friend bar where you shoot the shit and chill out after a long work week. Our recommendation: Bloody Mary’s (can be made extra spicy).
Rx // 701 Geary St, San Francisco: Stumbling upon this dark oasis on Geary was a surprise and a benefit for us, cocktails with prescription themes served in a handsome, wood-decked tavern space with lounge areas. We couldn’t get enough. Everything from stimulants, to stress relievers, to mood stabilizers and more — Rx is the doctor we’d see way more often. Most notable drinks that they serve are their “Bartell,” a Cynar Amaro, Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, St. George NoLa Coffee brew that will keep you bouncing off the walls. Though if you’re not in the mood to be the life of the party, we suggest the “Dante’s,” a Fernet, Gin, Genepy, Agave Nectar, Orange Bitters drink that’ll have you feeling the vibes for sure. // Our recommendation: Bartell Cocktail
Socialstudy // 1795 Geary St, San Francisco: Located in San Francisco's historic Fillmore District, the Social Study is a truly unique day and evening lounge. Start off your day with locally roasted Four Barrel coffee, a variety of tasty bar bites, and free WIFI. Ease into the evening with their signature Winetails, Beertails, Sangria, Soju cocktails, and local and imported beer and wine. Overall: very chill vibes. // Our recommendation: Sanfrangria
Tempest // 431 Natoma St, San Francisco: Tempest is the be-all dive bar of the city. It’s in a little hidden alleyway—so it’s tricky to find at first. They have a great staff and the food next door is mouth watering! The people that go there are pretty friendly as well so don’t hold back in making friends. Real easy to make a friend or two we promise. Our recommendation: Friday Night Borracho Nachos
Upcider // 2nd Floor, 1160 Polk St, San Francisco: Ciders only, you guys! If you’re looking to find the cider you’ve been dreaming, look no further. It’s a pretty relaxed bar with a plethora of tasty foods. Great for groups or just hanging out with a friend. Definitely give this one a try. Our recommendation: Fox Barrel Ciders
Vertigo // 1160 Polk St, San Francisco: If you like to dance the night away, this one’s for you. This one can get pretty crowded but everyone always seems down to dance the night away. The red lit space gives it a little mystery and the music is pretty good for the most part. This is one for a good time! Our recommendation: The Last Word
Wreck Room // 1390 California St, San Francisco: Who doesn’t love arcade games? This one is packed with old arcade games, like skee ball and a basketball hoop tourney. There's no way you’re getting bored or tired here. Great for a group friends after a game or for a birthday gathering. We wouldn’t really come here on your own but it’s definitely always a good time nevertheless. Our recommendation: Firestone DBA on Tap
Yancy’s Saloon // 734 Irving St, San Francisco: A Sunset Party place, Yancy’s can get a little rowdy sometimes—but it’s definitely a great place to grab a drink, nonetheless. Inexpensive drinks and a big space makes this a great place to visit with a group of friends for a crazy locals night out. They have dice, darts and wifi, best of all. And you can't go wrong with free Wifi, are we right? Our recommendation: A Classic Cosmo
Zeitgeist // 199 Valencia St, San Francisco: So many beers! Welcome to the beer gardens of been gardens. It does get pretty packed here—but don’t worry. Lots of place to put your large pitchers and chat with a friend over some beers. The bartenders are all about getting the job done, no small talk is tolerated when it's busy. Watching the bussers stack the pint glasses almost twice their height is a site to see, too. Our recommendation: Trumer Pils
This list is brought to you by the editors of Bob Cut Mag. The listed businesses did not compensate to be on this master guide. Feature photo by Adam Jaime.