Food & Drink

The SF Streetcar Drinking Guide

Published On 05/20/2014 Published On 05/20/2014
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Grant Marek
Joe Starkey
Orbit Room
Joe Starkey
Ma-Velous
Sam's Diner
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
David Phelps for Dirty Habit
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
83 Proof
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Joe Starkey
Hard Water
Joe Starkey
Seaglass
Joe Starkey
Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Twin Peaks Tavern 401 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

Predominately known throughout the city as SF's first-ever gay bar, Twin Peaks is adorned with beautiful, front-facing windows (for those who were comfortable enough back then to show the world their sexual orientation). Beyond the historical value, the drinks are strong, the company is amazing, and the music is a constant throwback to simpler (or, not-so-simpler) times.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Super Duper Burger 2304 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

One of San Francisco's best burger chains, Super Duper ups the ante with draft beer, wine , milkshakes, and their use organic, all natural, and free range ingredients.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Hi Tops 2247 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

Finally, a place to drink and relax where your sexuality isn't reduced to a stereotype. Hi Tops is a gay sports bar in The Castro that's decked out in benches made from bleachers, flat-screen televisions (16 of them, so they're always playing the game you came to watch), and Top Chef-level nachos, wings, and corn dogs. The speciality cocktails are a huge draw too, like the house Haterade that's served in a plastic water bottle.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Churchill 198 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (Duboce Triangle)

Named after Sir Winston, Churchill's a WWII-inspired drinkery from the dudes behind Bloodhound and Double Dutch, set on quenching your thirst in a space replete with industrial lighting pulled from a factory in Belgium, massive metal pipes that double as pillars, and dozens of shipyard-thick ropes hanging loosely from the ceiling above the bar.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. The Mint Karaoke Lounge 1942 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Western Addition)

Once a steakhouse and piano bar, The Mint is now most known for its karaoke. Karaoke here is the opposite experience of private booths: you’re up onstage, out in the open, surrounded by a (hopefully) pumped audience so make sure to choose a song you can crush and lead in a full on sing-a-long. Oh, and The Mint streams karaoke performances live on the TVs at the bar, so get ready for your 15 minutes of fame.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Orbit Room Cafe 1900 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Western Addition)

The Orbit Room should really be called Orbit Room 2.0 -- it shut down after 20 years in business when its owner died, but reopened months later under new management and with a slight facelift. Fortunately, the Market Street bar still has the same homey feel, standard drinks, and greasy favorites. The kitchen serves up some mean totchos: nacho-style tater tots covered in house-made pico de gallo, cheddar & mozzarella cheese, house-pickled jalapeños & serranos, and sour cream. Need we continue? Yes? You're also in for some hand-tossed pizzas, and specials like meatball sliders, street style tacos, and chicken & waffles. Basically, head to this art deco bar any day of the week for flavor-packed snacks and killer cocktails (like the Bourbon & Basil), but note: it's cash only.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Zuni Cafe 1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Soma)

A culinary talisman for over thirty years, Zuni Cafe on the ever-bustling Market Street continues to serve New American cuisine with French and Italian influences. With a menu that changes daily, the element of surprise is never lost -- all while using the freshest, most sustainable ingredients.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. MA-velous 1408 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Civic Center)

A coffee AND wine bar that comes complete with a small library.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Sam's Diner 1220 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Downtown)

Sam's features classic American diner plates and international dishes from around the world, as well as cheap bar drinks and tasty Bloody Marys.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Show Dogs 1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Civic Center)

Head to this triangular Market street hot doggery (decked out with 200-year-old church pew seating) for the city's best all hot dog menu, oddly brought to you by the Foreign Cinema peeps.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Mikkeller Bar 34 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (The Tenderloin)

MB is a Danish spot with 42 beers on tap (including four Mikkellers, unique to this location) and two cask-conditioned ales, served at three different temperatures, depending on the style of beer. Yeah, they take this stuff seriously... so seriously, in fact, that all of the beers on tap are managed by a system dubbed the Flux Capacitor, which controls the exact mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide used for each tap (no lightning required). There’s also a “secret” downstairs cellar dedicated exclusively to sours. It gets better: Mikkeller Bar isn’t just about the beer. No, there’s also an awesome food menu that involves lots and lots of delicious meat.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Dirty Habit 12 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Union Square)

Dirty Habit is intimately hidden away on the fifth floor of Union Square's Hotel Palomar. The sultry bar and restaurant features seasonal cocktails (plus all of the classics) and an extensive selection of spirits, especially whiskey. Standout bar bites include house-made bar nuts and finger-licking good chicken wings doused in sweet soy and chili vinaigrette. The back patio has tons of seating, a fountain, and a fire pit. Take our word: this place is cool.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Local Edition 691 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Downtown)

The decline of newspapers can really be traced back to two things: 1) the advent of nimbler, handsomer online email newsletter publications, and 2) their refusal to put cocktail bars in their basements. Finally addressing the latter, Local Edition, the newest member of the Rickhouse/Bourbon & Branch/Mr. Win Win's Broman Empire, opened in the basement of the Hearst Building and wants to welcome you and your friends with live music and cocktails.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Sutter Station 554 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94104 (Downtown)

This dive bar in Downtown SF will meet all your casual drinking needs, complete with Christmas lights in May, cheap beer, and four pool tables.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. 83 Proof 83 1st St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Financial District)

This relatively hidden bar is conveniently located near the 1st & Battery stop on the F-Market streetcar line. Whiskey's the main event, but the bartenders will make anything that you, or they, can dream up. 83 Proof doesn't serve food and doesn't play music -- it's just a great place to hit up after work with your cronies to take the day off.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Cafe Terminus 16 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

With accents like Edison bulbs, large metal lamps, and exposed wood, Terminus offers up cafe-style eats for breakfast and lunch.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. Perry's on the Embarcadero 155 Steuart St, San Francisco, CA 94105

This outpost is a mix of raw brick and sweeping Bay views, with seating clustered 'round a big mahogany bar, plus an open-air patio, private room, and two communal tables.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. Hard Water Pier 3, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Embarcadero)

When you step into this gorgeous Embarcadero bar, you’ll be greeted by a massive wall of every kind of whiskey imaginable. The space may be small, but you’ll be blown away by the selection of hard-to-find bourbons. Sip flights of the rare stuff (ranging from $22 to $125) as you chow down on New Orleans-inspired cuisine, like plates of crispy fried chicken, oysters, pimento cheese dip, and hush puppies.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. Coqueta Pier 5 - The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Embarcadero)

Born from a Top Chef Masters vet, Coqueta (which means “flirt”) is an idyllic spot for creative and refreshing cocktails, festive tapas, and a gorgeous view of the Bay. Sit outside in the semi-enclosed patio or snag a seat at the glassed-in bar -- either way, you’ll be enjoying Spanish and Basque small plates that are vibrant and flavorful alongside sumptuous sangria in an unbeatable setting.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
20. Exploratorium Pier 15, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Embarcadero)

Ditch your loving family and embrace your inner man-child at Exploratorium's brand new complex at Pier 15. Their main restaurant's got a full bar (for the adult in the child in you), and they've got another restaurant that's dishing out goods like chickpea-battered fish fingers. Hit up exhibits on "Human Phenomena" (including a Pac-Man game that explores teamwork -- "See, Dad?? Spending hours on a one-player game can build social skills!") and "Tinkering".

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
21. Pier 23 Cafe Pier 23, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Embarcadero)

When it comes to seafood, you want to be fairly close to the sea so that you know it's fresh. At Pier 23, you couldn't be any closer to the water, so much so that they've got a shoulder-height railing enclosing their patio. Add to that the fact that they've got a famously good Bloody Mary, and you just might be docked here for a while.