San Francisco’s bar scene is just as lively as its restaurant scene, with new bars opening frequently. Here are a few noteworthy bars in San Francisco that are worth a try.
Whitechapel (600 Polk St.)
One of the city’s most beautiful bars to open in quite some time, this spacious gin palace from Martin Cate, Alex Smith and John Park feels like it’s in an abandoned London Underground train station. The cavernous space is full of historical details, more than 350 gins, a long list of cocktails, and there’s a kitchen open until midnight nightly (don’t miss the “fish and a chip”).
The Lark (29 Third St.)
The beloved and low-key downtown watering hole “Dave’s” closed and reopened within a month as The Lark. The new owners, the Future Bars group (Bourbon & Branch), reportedly are keeping a lot the same, and still offer approachable beers, affordable drinks (not the craft cocktails they’re known for), and the chili dogs have stayed put too.
The Treasury (115 Sansome St.)
Three well-known San Francisco restaurant industry chaps—Arnold Eric Wong, Carlos Yturria and Phil West—have partnered on a new Financial District bar. Experience craft cocktails served quickly, a historic space and style with a casual vibe, and an extensive menu of bar snacks.
Big (98 Turk St.)
Although the tiny bar with the Big name closed, now it’s coming back, and is going to have larger floor plan that will live up to its name (although the original bartenders have moved on to their own project, Benjamin Cooper). The former Tenderloin dive bar 21 Club is currently being gutted, and new owners Peter Glickshtern, Jordan Langer, Ryan Melchiano and Ryan Hisamune plan to reopen the menu-free joint (your bartender will custom make your drink, just for you) in the summer.
Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio (39 Fell St.)
This Hayes Valley cocktail bar from the owner of Lower Haight’s Maven has a strong musical component, with live music every night—plan on some jazz, with funk, swing, blues and more. It’s a perfect spot to keep the vibe going after a show at nearby SFJAZZ. Grab some bar bites, too.
Pete’s (570 Green St.)
Pete Mrabe of Chubby Noodle fame took over the former Amante in North Beach, and updated the space and cocktail menu. Duggan McDonnell consulted on the list (nothing too fancy), and Pete’s offers cocktails on tap, too. There’s a full kitchen, so there will be an all-day menu with smoked wings, turkey potpie, flatbread and more.
Horsefeather (528 Divisadero St.)
Two talented bartenders, Justin Lew and Ian Scalzo, opened a temporary bar called Tsk/Tsk in this Divisadero corridor location, which morphed into Horsefeather. It continues to be a neighborhood bar with affordable but well-executed cocktails (they have quite the skill set), and late-night dining is also being discussed. Saturday brunch is currently part of the scene as well.
High Treason (443 Clement St.)
Wine lovers are heading to the Inner Richmond to experience this wine bar and retail shop from sommeliers Michael Ireland (The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood) and John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko). It’s a casual spot with a patio and 30 wines on the list, and will also feature small plates from chef Daniel Brooks.
Wine Down (685 Folsom St.)
Co-owners Sarah Garand and Jaime Hiraishi wanted to create the after-work space they always sought: a comfortable place to enjoy quality wine that wasn’t too expensive. They really care about value (the average glass of wine is $10) and having a laid-back and friendly vibe. Sustainability is also important to them. Wines are local (and you can buy retail as well), plus craft beer and some bites are offered, too.