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Top Rated Nightlife in San Francisco

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Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

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.

Restaurant Chez Panisse

A world renowned name in the culinary industry, Chez Panisse is known for their innovations in tastes and flavors.Started by Alice Walkers in 1971, it was named after the movie character Honore Panisse. Prepared with fresh, local produce, the restaurant is a spectacular specimen of fine dining. The menu changes daily and is curated keeping the seasonality of ingredients. Through the week, delicacies like Striped bass carpaccio with cardoons and Titone olio nuovo and Huckleberry and Meyer lemon ice creams meringata are served, to name a few. The wine list is extensive, featuring dozens of wines from across the world. With contributions like California style pizza to the ever changing culinary world, the Chez Panisse is no less than a legend.

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Bourbon & Branch

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.

Press Club

California wines are the focus at Press Club, located at the foot of the Four Seasons Hotel. Each month features two new wineries, and on Thursday nights guests can try wines directly from the vintner. There is also an extensive menu of small plate dishes aimed at complimenting the featured wines. Press Club is the perfect place to get a drink after work or plan a day around a wine-tasting experience.

Ippuku

Experience traditional Izakaya-style dining and drinking at this little spot located in the heart of the city. There's a focus on authenticity in every aspect of the restaurant; from the inviting all-wood entrance with Japanese signage to the delightfully rustic interiors. Seating is in the form of intimate, warmly-lit wooden booths seating just four. There's a traditional low seating area for groups as well. The dinner menu offers traditional yakitori fare (skewered cuts of chicken) available all week. You can also savor delicious soba specialties for lunch, available only on Fridays and Saturdays. A diverse choice of sake and shochu make up the spirit list.

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Acquerello

Locals come to Acquerello on special occasions to enjoy meals that combine the best aspects of Italy and California. The incredibly artful dishes, prepared with extra care and tender love, please the palate and sate an empty stomach. The menu is prix fixe only, starting with three courses. If you find it difficult to choose from among the restaurant's 700 bottles of wine, the knowledgeable wait staff is happy to suggest a selection sure to complement your food. Atmosphere is formal, so jackets are suggested for men, and sandals, sneakers and t-shirts should be avoided. This restaurant is a recipient of the coveted Michelin Star award.

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