People watch and indulge in the fabulous dining at this San Francisco favorite. Known equally well for its affluent clientele and its oven-roasted chicken, this hot spot is worth the wait. Dinner entrees are nominally priced, though specials will cost you a bit more. If you are not enamored with the dinner scene, try visiting late mornings or early afternoons when you can sip on a latte (or scarf a Gorgonzola-topped burger) and watch the fog lift.
While the mythical and much-hyped liqueur after which this establishment is named is not served here, many equally potent concoctions are. Specialty drinks, such as the Perfect Pear and the Ginger Rogers, seem to contain pure alcohol, and even a standard margarita packs an unbelievable wallop. If you're looking for something to help mitigate the effects of a strong drink, then ditch the regular bar peanuts for Absinthe's bar snacks. This bar offers bread with a smooth fig spread, croque monsieur and more. The menu changes daily, but any antipasto platter of cured meats is sure to please, as will the particularly rich duck confit. You can enjoy your meal in the main room or at a cafe-style table on the sidewalk, but if you're looking for a quieter spot, book a table in the private dining room.
Yoshi's is not just a place where you can catch mind-blowing jazz, but also a sushi bar with an excellent food. Eager music lovers pack the restaurant and the Jazz House on performance nights. It showcases the best talent and boasts of high tech acoustics in the Bay area. A full cocktail menu is available with items like sushi, appetizers, salads and desserts. The attire is causal and the atmosphere jazzed up. It has a top-notch restaurant that serves Japanese food, and is open for lunch and dinner.
Bender's is a Mission District legend. Firebombed into oblivion in 2006, its valiant founders rallied the troops, and with a cavalcade of community support, reopened just a year and half later, bigger and better than ever. Some choice burnt-to-a-crisp fire wreckage are kept around as "trophies" of the place's victory over tragedy, you will love watching it. Comfy booths surround the pool table and the grill, which is operated by the folks at Weird Fish.
Brought to you by the same people who opened Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Comstock Saloon is a lively establishment that maintains a Barbary Coast ambiance while serving up some delicious contemporary American food. Complete with a 20-foot mahogany bar, the cocktails here are legendary, as are the live music performances. Dishes have included the rustic yet decadent concoctions like Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Pot Pie and Ricotta Gnocchi. If you want a place to simply unwind, an evening at Comstock Saloon won't disappoint.
This neighborhood coffee shop is actually the Oakland branch of San Francisco's popular Farley's, which was opened in the 1980s. The two story coffee shop serves, of course, all kinds of coffee and tea drinks, but also features a menu light foods like soups, salads and hot and cold sandwiches. Farley's also offers a selection of beer and wine, and even has mimosas on the weekends! The upstairs area features all kinds of toys and kids books, and Farley's weekly hosts a storytime for them, along with other live music and performance events for grown-ups during many evenings.
If you love wine, then Hotel Biron is a place you should visit. The cozy, sophisticated interior houses a selection of wines that would please the pickiest of palates, and the friendly, humble staff can help budding wine connoisseurs find the perfect glass. An exquisite selection of international cheeses enhance the flavor experience, while the paintings on the walls by the artist of the month help those on a first date break the ice.
Welcome to the land of gender illusionists. It is essential to start off your experience at Asia SF with one of their signature alcoholic drinks named after the ladies of Asia SF. And while the food here is not initially the main attraction, the menu offers great dishes that surprise with their creativity and balance. Start with an Asia-dilla—jack cheese, smoked duck and sun dried cherries in a grilled tortilla. Then for an impressive main course dish, try the Miso Glazed King Salmon on a bed of black rice and a tomato-edamame salad; this dish is delectable and surprisingly cohesive. And during it all, you'll be treated to great bar-top performances by the ladies of AsiaSF. After you eat, continue your night in the club, where DJs spin R&B/funk, house, as well as salsa.
Nickies is a local favorite, and every night it brings a different theme and crowd. Monday is trivia night and the weekends offer brunch with bottomless mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys--truly something for every taste. With a mellow ambiance lit by candles and twinkling lights, you can dance, mingle, or just observe the scene. The expanding and always-changing music scene happens Thursday through Sunday after 10p.
Ask for a cup of the delicious Turkish coffee or the luscious peanut butter milkshake at Cafe International, a cozy spot for some frothy espressos and cafe grub. Found on a busy street in the city's Lower Haight neighborhood, the bistro's interiors feature hardwood flooring, comfy sitting booths and ivory walls adorned with a number of eclectic art paintings. Along with its scrumptious eats and hot beverages, it also remains famous for open-mic and live jazz acts. Stop in over the weekend for a quick cuppa of hot chocolate, even as you get to enjoy wonderful performances by local jazz bands at Cafe International.