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Vesuvio's colorful, stained-glass windows provide an unbeatable second-story view of the vibrant Broadway and Columbus intersection. Guests who want to drink where Kerouac & Co—"mad ones"—once did, come here to feel the echo of the 1950s' literary history. As colorful as the decor is, the ambiance can be described as whimsical and inspirational, with old classics playing in the background and arty walls adding more allure to the interior. You will usually find a mixed bag of writers, artists and tourists lounging around here. It's a good place to linger over drinks while soaking in the establishment's eclectic and neighborly charm.
Bourbon & Branch is the talk of the town. Perched inconspicuously on a corner in San Francisco's Tenderloin, Bourbon & Branch has no signage and the door is closed tight. When you ring the buzzer, the door swings open and you are asked for the password. If you do not have the password, the door slams shut. It sounds barbaric, but once you have taken the time to register on their website, make a reservation, and receive a password, you will be graciously ushered into a world of boozy delight. The atmosphere is an homage to Prohibition-era speakeasies, albeit with a dash of modern urban swank. The drink menu is extensive and innovative. Featured fare includes not just one, but a whole selection of hand-numbered craft bourbons. A list of rare scotches, rums, and tequilas round out the offerings. Bartenders here are master mixologists, incorporating such sought-after liquors into equally tantalizing, boundary-busting cocktails. See the website for online reservations and a complete list of house rules.
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.
If the name Smuggler's Cove conjures pictures of pirates singing, "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," well rest assured that's no mistake. This bar specializes in rum-based drinks, specifically Havana Probation-era, traditional Caribbean and tiki bar concoctions. The decor echoes the menu, providing comfortable seating in a tiki bar-inspired atmosphere. Smuggler's Cove makes sure to maintain a relaxed atmosphere by keeping the bar from getting too crowded and keeping music at a low level so everyone can talk while sipping their drinks. This means there's sometimes a line at the door, but don't let that scare you away from stepping into the cove.
This is the most unassuming of the Lower Haight dives, with lightning-fast bartenders and more microbrews than are usual at at bar. In fact, Toronado has over 50 beers on tap from such reputable breweries as Russian River and Anchor. The vibe is always good, the graffiti on the bathroom walls is legendary, and the company could not be better. When hunger strikes, you're free to bring in a sausage or three from Rosamunde right next door.
Located in the Crocker Amazon neighborhood of San Francisco, the Broken Record Bar & Grill is known for their amazing range of whiskeys. With over 300 labels of fine whiskeys, this bar's selection is more than comprehensive. Bourbon, rye, scotch and Irish, you just name it, and they will have a dozen brands at your disposal. The cozy and casual ambiance of the bar makes it a perfect place to hangout after work or during the weekends. Apart from the mind blowing beverages they also serve some delicious bites, which go very well with the strong taste of whiskey. Sticky ribs, barley risotto, chicken wings and and pulled pork sandwich are some of the dishes, that seem to be loved by all their patrons. Don't forget to carry cash. They don't accept credit/debit cards.
Zeitgeist is a popular bar in the Mission. They make a mean drink here, and you will fit in easily with the crowd, just don't let the profusion of leather and Harleys intimidate you. You do not have to be a biker to feel at home. An outdoor patio with barbecue and live music are all part of the experience. Best of all, you can wake up in the morning and start all over again with one of their famous Bloody Mary's.
Comfortable and chill, Amnesia is a great place to relax with a few drinks and your buddies. The bar offers a variety of micro-brewed beers along with a wide selection of wines, and live music (from bluegrass to gypsy jazz and even hip-hop) entertains patrons every night. An interestingly mixed Mission crowd can often be found here. The service is mellow and the mood is a sophisticated blend of hip and retro-cool.
The brains behind Rio Grande have come up with yet another ace from their sleeve with a quirky little cocktail joint in Mission District. Named Trick Dog, this twin story watering-hole exudes an old rustic warehouse charm accentuated by the vintage cast iron plates, banister posts and vintage marbles. Walk in here and take a pick from its cocktail list that is laid out on a Pantone-color-palate style menu. Apart from cocktail, the bar also has plenty of ales and beers to keep you company. Situated next to the fine dining restaurant Central Kitchen, the spot is perfect for a pre-dinner or post dinner drinks and a quick late-night bite with your pals.
Housed in an old Irish hostelry, this authentic pub is popular with all the city's drinkers, local and visiting alike. The brick walls are covered in photos, antiques and many other things Irish and there is a wide selection of beers and spirits. The food is an interesting Celtic-California combo, served while UK rock plays in the background. Enjoy a burger & fries or Grilled Salmon and a pint. If you are looking for a fun night, then Irish Bank won’t let you down.
A venture by renowned chef Charles Phan, Hard Water is situated along the scenic Embarcadero. When you consider the kind of water used to make the best whiskey, you will find this watering hole to be rather aptly named. An American whiskey bar, it has 150 not entirely common varieties on offer. Bourbon cocktails like the Dixie and Roffignac are fantastic. The food menu features delicious preparations like fried chicken with pepper jelly and braised rabbit with buttermilk dumplings. A raw bar is also featured.
You don't have to travel to the Deep South to experience a culinary tradition that is rarely reproduced elsewhere. Perhaps for good reason. Dubbed, the best place for eating beanie weenies while listening to deep house by Rolling Stone magazine, this strange creation serves microwaved trailer trash food (Mac'n'Cheese, fries, TV dinners, etc) from an actual trailer to crowds of hipsters and clubkids. Nightly DJs and a full bar add music and mayhem to the nuke-food energy, keeping Butter's atmosphere radiant.