Hello, 8 best cocktail bars in San Francisco

December 21st is the longest night of the year -- almost 15 straight hours of darkness. Nerds like to call it the "Winter solstice". We like to call it the "Best Night of Your Life", because that's damn sure what it could be, if you spend it at the city's best Thrillist-approved happy hour spots, cocktail bars, nightclubs, etc. Check out our picks for SF's best cocktail bars below, and make sure to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.

Trick Dog
The Mission
This three-years-in-the-making Thrillist 47 standby from tipple titan Bon Vivants has quickly become one of the best cocktail bars not just in SF, but in America. There literally (and figuratively?!) isn't a bad drink on the menu.

Upper Haight
Upper Haight may not strike people as the place to go for good cocktails, but it's actually home to one of the city's best mixed drink bars, Alembic, where cocktail descriptions read more like stories. Pro-drinker tip: get the Vasco da Gama (Buffalo Trace bourbon, garam masala-spiced apple syrup, and a splash of Islay Scotch).
This TL bar may be a little dicey to get to, but it's totally worth it -- especially if you've made a reservation for a booth, and especially especially if you've ever gotten the Speakeasy booth, and especially especially ESPECIALLY if you've ever gotten the Speakeasy booth and sipped on an Afternoon Tea Sour while in it. Coolest part by far: they've got eight full-on drink menus (one for Tiki-drinkers, one for dive-drinkers, etc.), meaning you could keep coming here for weeks without ever drinking the same thing.
This not-quite-in-the-Castro bar boasts a truly impressive cocktail list displayed on brown packing paper on the wall. Absolute-must-tries count the Adios My Friend (a classier, barrel aged-er AMF) or the Gosling Rum (Old Overholt Rye, yellow Chartreuse, lime, and cream soda combining Rye N. Gosling). Hey girl, indeed.
In a part of town mostly known for its clubbiness/auto repair-iness, Alchemist pairs great 'tails with rotating bartender pop-ups, so you'll never grow bored. We pity the fool who hasn't tried the B. A. Baracus (Scotch, lemon, ginger & habanero syrup, and cider).

Lower Haight
Just how serious is Maven about its cocktails? This serious: every single menu item has a paired cocktail listed next to it. If you want a side cocktail while you're getting your recommended pairing on, we'd highly recommend the 5 Spot (aged rum, ginger, lime, maple, Thai basil & five spice), and the perfect-for-Winter-which-is-year-round-here Fireside Cocktail (rye, lemon, egg white & Winter spice).
With a menu run by one of the dudes who fixed up peoples horrible drink programs on the show Bar Rescue, this tipple spot sports a cocktail menu that separates sippables into five categories: Approachable, Complex, High-Octane, Low-Octane, and Social... which, oddly enough, could describe the phases you go through when drinking.
Park Tavern
North Beach
If you haven't tried the Muir Woods (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Drambuie, egg white & lavender), then clearly you're not reading a certain awesome men's interest site nearly enough.
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1. Trick Dog 3010 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Brought to you by The Bon Vivants, Trick Dog in The Mission's a marble- and steel-adorned cocktailery serving drinks from a Pantone-inspired menu with names from favorite song titles, along with bar bites like beer nuts, pickles, and cracklins.

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2. The Alembic 1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

While you flip through the encyclopedia that is their drink menu, snack on some atypical chow like pickled quail eggs or jerk spiced duck hearts at this unusual and trendy bar and restaurant.

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3. Tradition 441 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

This laid back spot from the Bourbon & Branch team maintains both tiki and speakeasy vibes. Make a reservation for one of the nine "snugs," which are high-walled booths with stained glass windows, each of which is dedicated to a certain cocktail era. Charming vintage art and bartenders in suspenders add to the unique mood of the place, and the cocktails are always inventive and delicious, like the Dr. Jones (islay mist scotch, lemon, honey, orange, apricot liqueur, cinnamon tincture).

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4. Alchemist Bar & Lounge 679 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Being an Alchemist in the 14th century was actually pretty daunting: you had to discover a means for everlasting life, transmute base metals into gold, and, worst of all, hang out with Zosimos of Panopolis. For a bar taking a less-daunting approach to that age-old profession, check out Alchemist Bar & Lounge in SOMA.

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5. Maven 598 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

If the words "redwood", "bar top", "alluring", "seductive", and most importantly, "creative cocktails" mean anything to you, Maven is the place of your dreams. Rooted in San Fran's Lower Haight neighborhood, this restaurant that serves small plates and curated drinks is worth a trip.

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6. Bergerac 316 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Bergerac's a cocktail destination in SOMA, styled like a Southern French mansion and whipping up 'tails off of five separate menus for different tastes, as well as awesome bar snacks like tempura'd freezer-cured eggs.

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7. Park Tavern 1652 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Located in the culturally rich North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, Park Tavern serves American-style cuisine, plus well-rounded cocktail and wine menus are also sure to please.

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8. Blackbird 2124 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

From a dude who used to run the kitchen at 15 Romolo, Blackbird's Bar Jars're 4oz Masons you can get at the (surprise!) bar, all served with crackers and stuffed with six different types of goodness including deviled ham, smoked trout dip, and chicken liver mousse.

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