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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.
Once you walk in through the doors of the Local Edition, you will be transported to a whole different era. This cocktail bar recreates a newspaper office from the 1950s and 1960s, and is a perfect tribute to the space that was once the printing room of San Francisco's popular publication, The Examiner. The walls are adorned with newspaper articles of the mid-20th Century, and the bar counter even has typewriters as embellishments. Classic concoctions and contemporary variations are well represented here. Do try the Bloody Mary and Highball, or the Fidel and Mojito for a new flavor.
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.
At Brewcade, you can unwind with your friends over a couple of beers and some good old video games. The bar features a plethora of classic arcade games that you can choose from. Even if you are not a gamer, the energy and vibrant atmosphere of this place will make you want to keep revisiting it. You can also select a good wine for yourself from their extensive wine collection. Come here during the happy hours and drink to your heart’s content or drop by on a Saturday night at this bustling bar.
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.
Alex Smith and Kate Bolton combine their passion and mixology expertise at Novela. Spanish for “novel,” this bar in SoMa is literature themed. Its menu features classic cocktails, traditional punches as well as creative concoctions. Drinks are named after famous literary characters like Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and Holden Caulfield. Its interiors are Art Deco-inspired, and features bookshelves and vintage decor.
The rum and fruit juice formula of a faux tropical nightspot goes happily unquestioned at this undergraduate dive, although the only sand here has been dragged in from Ocean Beach by sneaker and sandal treads. Regulars come here to get drunk, dance and romance and they have a great time doing it. Those who like easy parking will be pleased, and those concerned with Polynesian authenticity should keep driving.
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.
Picture this; A dimly lit elegant room, smooth leather upholstered chairs, the screening of a classic noir film. If this seems to be your idea for a perfect date or a casual hangout, drop in at Noir Lounge. With an ambiance that is distinctly influenced by the 40s, a vast selection of wines and other spirits and a menu full of American delights, this bar offers a great setting for every occasion.
Catch the excitement of a wild crowd dancing to the tunes of the DJs who keep on spinning the latest tracks back to back all through the night at Bamboo Hut. A seven foot tall majestic Tiki God at the entrance is an interesting touch to the interiors. The bamboo shacks and rustic furniture create a beach-like ambiance that is in tune with the name of the place but makes it a very unlikely hang out in the Financial District. A good option for private parties, Bamboo Hut is the ideal spot if you're looking for a laid back ambiance to throw a party for all your close pals. On weekend nights, make sure you get in there early for this is one hangout that is always crowded.
Located within SF's historic Fairmont Hotel, Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a kitschy bamboo lounge that is for anyone who always wanted to visit the set of “Fantasy Island.” During the happy hours, indulge in some fruity umbrella drinks, the simulated tropical storm (yes, it really rains), and the intentionally cheesy soft-rock house band to lull you away to that paradise cruise you never took. Snacks and meals are both pricey, but the food's not the main reason for coming here. The Kalua pork is a highly recommended menu item, but you had best order them with a round of Mai-Tais; they're rumored to be the city's finest.