Food & Drink

The best of SF bar snacking

Published On 10/30/2013 Published On 10/30/2013
Butter SF
Hi Tops
Allison Webber
Flickr User [Milind.Desai]
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1. Butter 354 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

This quirky dive bar offers deep-fried Twinkies, Jell-o shots, and tater tots (in other words, everything you need to get your night started right). With a consistently lively clientele, cheap drinks, and late night karaoke, Butter is gloriously bawdy, and a checkerboard floor, aluminum siding, and neon sings only add to the trashy-chic vibe.

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2. 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.

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3. Lightning Tavern 1875 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (Cow Hollow)

Unabashedly divey, Lighting Tavern carries Fireball, Fernet, tater tot nachos, and chicken wing buckets all in equal parts. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio to sip down bottomless mimosas as you prepare yourself for one of the booziest brunches in town (or dinners or happy hours). Even if you don't take advantage of the bottomless offer, the Scotch egg- and poutine-filled menu will have you overindulging in a different way.

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4. Trick Dog 3010 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

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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5. 15 Romolo 15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Jackson Square)

Located up a steep alley on Strip Club row, 15 Romolo rewards lucky wanderers with superbly crafted cocktails served by well-versed bartenders. Classy wooden barstools accommodate drinkers, while comfortable booths serve weekend diners because -- if you haven't heard -- the brunch menu, featuring tofu báhn mì vie and bone marrow fritters, garners as much praise as the drinks.

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6. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem 2323 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Although inspired by the famed Muppet band, this place is about as devoid of Muppets as you can get. What they do have, however, is cheap wings, liquor on tap and beers served in Mason jars. We think this more than makes up for a little Hensonless-ness.

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7. The Rock Bar 80 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

A watering hole Scissors would never go near, The Rock Bar's a Southern Mish imbibe-ery from the folks behind The Front Porch, with a Temple of Doom-mine-cart-chase-worthy interior pairing artifacts from one of the owner’s silver-quarrying dads (including an honest-to-God blasting permit) with miscellany you'd expect to find in a mine, like amethysts, crystals, and 33 trapped Chileans.

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8. Old Ship Saloon 298 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

For a bit of history with your beer, sail into this saloon constructed from pieces of The Arkansas, a three-masted ship that ran aground in 1849. Part locals’ bar, part after-work hangout with good beers on tap, Old Ship Saloon is also known for its great burger menu.

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9. The Alembic 1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Upper Haight)

The Alembic is known for its encyclopedic menu of spirits and handcrafted cocktails. The whiskey selection in particular reads like a written history of brown spirits, featuring American bourbon, whiskey, and rye alongside single-malt and vatted Scotch whiskey. The draft beer list is a nod to those with an appreciation for local craft brews and the food menu is filled with atypical bar snacks like pickled quail eggs and jerk-spiced duck hearts. As for the space, it's a trendy, rustic, dimly lit affair.