This brand-spanking new wine bar deserves early accolades for doing something that probably no other U.S. wine bar is doing — serving exclusively Mexican wines. San Franciscans are already born with a love of Mexican food, so why not also the wines? Mostly from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, the proximity to the sea lends a slight ocean taste to the natural and conventional wine list. Try the Isabella from Emeve, an interesting white blend of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and viognier. Since the wine bar is the brainchild of folks behind nearby Taqueria Los Mayas, the food is also a big draw. The Yucatean menu includes Paunchos (Mayan crispy tacos), and Pipian Con Pato (squash seed puree over seared duck).
R.I.P. champagne and caviar bar The Riddler, but yay for its replacement of Linden & Laguna. Just opened in 2021 in the corner, Parisian-style beaux arts building, Linden and Laguna focuses on independent, family-produced Californian wines like Ministry of the Interior’s spicy Russian River pinot noir. There are also craft beers and local bites, like a clam dip served with homemade chips. Sidle up to the gorgeous marble bar, get close at the tiny tables, or enjoy more space and fresh air in the parklet.
Those who mourned the closure of The Hidden Vine in 2020 should be happy to know that the proprietor of the wine bar that took its place in 2021, the San Francisco Wine Society, was actually the manager of The Hidden Vine. More importantly, the outdoor bocce ball court in the neighboring alley is still there and open for reservations. The bar might also have the best parklet in the city, mimicking a vintage home library complete with plush velour seating, a 1980s cassette player, and two (reservable) electronic fireplaces. If the glass and bottle lists look intimidating, the flights menu has cheeky themes to guide you, like several dedicated to 2022 goals such as “Learn to Speak Spanish” (includes a Viognier from Uruguay by Experimental) and “Get Finances in Order” (includes Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars cabernet sauvignon from Napa). Don’t pass up the snacks, either, like Smoked Sturgeon Pate with Ritz crackers or a Serrano Ham and Pesto Flatbread.
Housed in the former Thieves dive bar space in The Mission, Bar Part Time captures a San Franciscan vibe—a casual-yet-curated ambiance made up of natural wines plus dance parties. Find European natural wines, as well as California producers like Petaluma’s Slow Dance and Santa Cruz-born Stagiaire Wines. Let the bubbles from Stagiaire’s Let’s Get Fizzical sparkling wine go to your head while twirling with the lights of the disco ball during a Hyde Radio Takeover. BPT also has a monthly wine club that, beyond offering three bottles a month for local pick-up, also includes swag like a branded motel keychain, stickers, and more.
Presenting a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere, Key Klub is the second wine bar from the team behind North Beach’s popular Bodega, as well as from a force behind Cellarmaker, resulting in an offering of natural wines plus fresh craft beer on tap. Sip on a funky Grosjean Petite Arvine or hoppy Galaxy Blaster I.P.A. The food isn’t too shabby, either — think Steak Frites Au Poivre or French Toast with Duck Liver Mousse. The original vintage sign of an earlier incarnation of Key Klub from the 1940s or 1950s remains above the entrance of the building, inviting patrons to ponder the past before entering a paper lantern-canopied venue showing the original exposed brick mixed with modern decor. There’s a five-year lease on the venue before it gets turned into a condo development. Try to drink everything on the menu before then.
The Inner Richmond isn’t known for wine bars, like, at all. So High Treason has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood since it opened in 2016. It attracts a larger swath of wine fans with not only a menu of up to 50 wines deep, but also decent beer and food menus (currently Unco Frank’s Island Grindz with plate lunches like Mochiko Chicken and Coconut Shrimp), plus a love for vinyl records. Founded by fine-dining somms wanting a more relaxed ambiance, expect both rare wines like the Bordeaux Petrus, and $6 cans of beer, all with an SF vibe that skews creatively casual—the walls may be lined with wooden skate decks burned with images of Japanese printmaking-inspired waves. Don’t overlook the wine club, either, which for $79 a month, lets you choose whether to pick up one, two, or three bottles.