If there's one day of the week that almost demands you have a little booze with lunch, it's... every day. But, since alcohol costs (ugh) money, and you can't always rely on Jody in Sales to expense everything, here're six places you can do some mid-work-day drinking, that won't cost you an expensive arm and an expensive leg.
What: $2 Martinis
Where: Lark Creek Steak
Buy an entrée (so... steak) at this steakhouse (see?), and they'll serve you two $2 martinis, made with either gin or vodka.
What: Cheeseburger, Fries, and Beer for $12
Where: Fast Food Francais
If you find yourself across the Bay in Sausalito and “accidentally” miss the ferry back to San Francisco during lunch, pop in to Trip-F for their $12 burger, beer, and frites.
What: $2 Cocktails
Shake that Moscone Center convention-stupor on Fridays at the W Hotel's shmancy, bi-level California cuisine-ery, where they'll pour you up to two (so... two) restorative $2 martinis, or Lemongrass Drops (vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemongrass syrup, lemon, pineapple, and mint) with your lunch.
What: $2 Taco & Tecate Tuesdays
Where: Mars Bar
This SOMA bar does Taco Tuesdays about as well as you can do them: with $2 carnitas tacos and $2 beers. Even better, the special runs pretty much all day, and even better than even better, they've got a sun-stroked back patio.
What: Free Lunch Fridays
Where: Comstock Saloon
In old San Francisco, it was common practice for bars to lure folks in to drink with the promise of free food. Comstock Saloon revives that custom with a buy-two-drinks-get-a-weekly-special-plate, proving there is such thing as a free lunch (... if you pay for two drinks).
What: $10 Taco, Tequila Shot, and A Beer Prix-Fixe
Where: Tacolicious Locations
This is a threesome you never knew you wanted to be involved in (San Francisco is like that). Depending on your stamina or appetite, this alone might not be enough for a full meal, but you can always double up, because, um, yeah.
Lou Bustamante is a Bay Area based cocktail and spirits writer who's spent time working at a distillery, and once came back from Jalisco, Mexico with 20 tons of whole cooked blue agave piñas. He doesn't remember doing that. Follow him (from a distance) on Twitter.
1. Mars Bar & Restaurant798 Brannan St, San Francisco
2. TRACE San Francisco181 3rd St, San Francisco
3. Lark Creek Steak845 Market Street, San Francisco
4. Tacolicious2250 Chestnut St., San Francisco
5. Comstock Saloon155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco
6. Fast Food Francais39 Caledonia St, Sausalito
SoMa's Mars Bar has it all. The 20-plus-year-old institution is both a bar and a restaurant, complete with a heated outdoor patio, a pool table, and live DJs during happy hour. It's got quintessential sports bar-type happy hours, with half-price wings and $3 bottled beer on Mondays and $5 pizza on Wednesdays. It's the kind of place you can go to watch football one night, and dance to vinyl records another. There's a new crowd every day, so it never gets old.
Located inside the W San Francisco, Trace serves an upscale menu of Bay Area food that's perfect for a power lunch. Expect plenty of vegetables and fish, plus reliable roasted meat dishes. The space is W-sleek with leather booths and modern furniture.
Lark Creek Steak, located in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, offers a view of the Emporium Dome, as well as top-notch steak and desserts.
Two blocks down from the original (and now-closed) Chestnut St location, this outpost of Tacolicious is bigger and brighter than its predecessor. The gourmet taco shop's menu features the original tortilla-wrapped goods you know and love, all of which are made with locally-sourced ingredients. Expect near-authentic tacos filled with house-made chorizo and potatoes, Baja-style Pacific cod, and Guajillo chili-braised brisket. There's also a solid selection of tequila-heavy cocktails and beers from Mexico and California.
From the folks behind Absinthe, Comstock is a classic San Francisco bar in North Beach. The throwback interior is outfitted with antique fans, a 150-year-old absinthe fountain, and the spot's original mahogany bar from 1907. The cocktails are just as classic as the bar, and the tie-and-vest wearing bartenders know how to mix pisco, lemon juice, and pineapple gomme into a standout punch.