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Initiated as a place to relax and indulge in good food and wine, this wine bar comes across as a tasting room with a lounge area. The ambiance of this tasting room is more like a bar from the prohibition era, with dim lights and a warehouse-like setup serving as a backdrop to socialize with fellow drinkers. The selections from the wine list are curated by the experts who have not only scouted local wineries for their pickings, but also have sourced their collections from other Northern California wineries in Napa, Santa Cruz and Sonoma. The constant change in collection of wines adds to the fun where seasonal varietals find their way onto the list. Wine fights are available, where you can taste four wines, paired with a cheese sampler plate. Seasonal fruits and charcuterie are other options to complement your wine.
This little place lends an undeniable taste of the French countryside to a bustling Mission District intersection. Though sweet items like cakes, pies, buns, cookies and pastry may be Tartine's mainstay, the decidedly savory, heartiest and most-Béchamel-drenched open-faced croque monsieurs keep neighborhood folks lining up for more. And speaking of bread, if you arrive early enough, you just might score yourself a loaf of the divine rustic country bread served (and constantly raved about) at sister bistro Bar Tartine. Just can't shake that sweet tooth? Opt for one of their beloved Morning Buns marbled with cinnamon and orange or the decadent Bread Pudding. Whatever you order, enjoy it at the big communal table gazing through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the entry of the 18th Street corridor.
Backed by a selection of 20 Californian wines and 10 draft beers, all of which are available only on tap, the family-owned Jamber wine pub aims to bring people together for an unpretentious and casual wine drinking experience. Adding to the exquisite experience is the home-cooked, delicious American comfort food that complements your selection of wine. Select from one of the red wines and pair it with the delicious mac 'n' cheese or meatloaf and you won't regret it. You can sit inside, surrounded by the rustic decor, or relax on its patio with your friends and enjoy the treat.
Hotel Utah is a low key, neighborhood bar that serves up local music seven nights a week along with food and drink. Shows never cost more than a few dollars, and are sometimes free. Mondays are open mic night, so if you want to become a star yourself, start here. The location near the happening SoMa District makes for an interesting mix of clientèle ranging from dot-commers (and increasingly rare species) to artists to refugees from the Financial District. Have a brew and enjoy the people-watching.
Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and Cafe is an ideal place to kick back and enjoy an afternoon. It is small, cozy, and a neighborhood favorite. Excellent coffee, beer, and wine are offered along with some of the best focaccia sandwiches on the planet. Sit by a window and look out on Washington Square Park and the passing parade that'll inevitably include tourists with their cameras and maps, as well as longtime locals at at bocce ball game.
This is an excellent place to go beyond the tea bag from your local grocer. The establishment itself, a bit formal with its antique furniture in dark wood, marble floors, and an antique tea counter, evokes old China. It is a perfect setting to sample rare teas like the delicate, airy flavor of silver needle white tea, the peachy smokiness of oolong, and the pungent and earthy pu'erh (not for the timid). A tea master can suggest what will suit you best, discuss the finer points of tea production, if you like, and then serve you a superbly brewed pot that you will be encouraged to linger over. There are traditional Chinese tea snacks available, including dim sum, cookies and rice crackers.
Bazaar Cafe is an adorable place complete with a garden and charming interiors that make it a local haunt on weekends. The menu is not very extensive, but offers a decent selection of sandwiches, salads and espresso to keep you going. Ideal for casual dates, guests can also make use of the wi-fi to catch up on work. Featuring live music on most nights, there is always something to look forward to at the Bazaar Cafe.