Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Favorite San Francisco Bars

There are so many bars here in San Francisco that are perfectly great and fun bars, but everyone has a preference in the type of bar they like and the reason why they love them. Below are my top seven favorite bars in San Francisco and the reasons why I love them so:

#7: Pops
2800 24th Street (between Bryant St & York St)

Pops has everything a great dive bar needs: great jukebox, friendly bartenders, healthy happy hour specials, pool table, Ms. Pac Man and the best photo booth in the city. I am talking about the old school, black and white kind. I can't really say too much about the bathroom except suggest you don't use it. One should never base how good a bar is by the bathroom anyways.

#6: Velvet Cantina
3349 23rd St (between Bartlett St & Mission St)

Pitchers of watermelon margaritas. Great Mexican food. Enough said.

#5: Bourbon and Branch
501 Jones Street (between O'Farrell St & Geary St)

In the middle of the Tenderloin sits a speakeasy that requires a password for admission. I didn't really understand what all the buzz what about until I got to experience this place for myself. I have to say, I was impressed. Friendly bartenders who make delicious, labor intensive cocktails in lightening speed. Seriously, one-handed straining and fine straining. Fancy! I wish I could be half the bartenders these guys are.

#4: Gold Dust Lounge
247 Powell St (between Geary St & O'Farrell St)

One of the things I love the most about Gold Dust is not the fiesty bartenders (although I do love them), but the variety of people who come here to drink. On any given day, you can see tourists, locals and drunks who don't make any sense. The place is old and seems to have a lot of history. If those walls could talk. There is also a live band that plays on most nights. It's the perfect place to take a break during a shopping excursion in Union Square, get your drink on and people watch.

#3: R Bar
1176 Sutter Street (between Larkin St & Polk St)

Super chill spot in the TenderNob with some of the most coolest bartenders in the city. The jukebox rocks, there is a Ms. Pac Man table to play on and if you ask nicely, the bartenders will more than likely take a Fernet shot with you.

#2: The Saloon
1232 Grant Avenue (between Broadway St & Fresno St)

The Saloon is easiest the oldest bar in San Francisco, opening it's swinging doors for business in 1861. This place has a whole lot of soul. This good old bar survived the 1906 earthquake and rocks it every night of the week with a live band. Sometimes the bartenders don't have any teeth and you can be sure that there are no fancy, labor intensive cocktails on the menu here. I recommend hitting this place up on Monday nights to check out The Bachelors.

#1: Lucky 13
2140 Market St (between 15th St & Church St)

What is there not to love about this rocker dive bar, minus the attitude and cover, located in the heart of the Castro? At Lucky 13, customers can find a photo booth, pool table, pinball machines, a great jukebox with a wide selection of rock and punk songs, an outside back patio, a popcorn machine, tons of beers on tap, a Jagenator (a machine with three bottles of Jagermeister sitting on top that dispenses chilled shots of Jager with the push of a button) and super cool bartenders. If you ask the bartender nicely, you can even get free goldfish crackers while enjoying the happy hour specials that go until 8 pm every night. There is a free barbeque on the outside back patio every Saturday. Lucky 13 is also dog friendly, making it possible to include Rover on your drunken nights of debauchery.

Despite the many times I have been drinking at Lucky 13, I have still yet to see what exactly or how the random metal pole is used which just so happens to be located in the middle of the front room, right on top the bar.

Hands down, my favorite bar in all of San Francisco!

What are your favorite bars in San Francisco and why? I want to know.


Last of the Famous International Playboys said...

... Lucky 13, really? It's ok. Was one of the last holdouts on the smoking ban. I'd give higher props to similar bar, Zeitgeist. Awesome backyard. Love to hear the cooks barking themselves hoarse calling out the bbq orders.
My favorites of the moment:
Nopa, Beretta (falling off a bit lately), and Bourbon & Branch --- for the mixology. Dalva, Hotel Biron, Gitane --- for the ambiance. Kilowatt, Gold cane --- deep divin'. I also highly recommend Velvet Cantina. Great 'ritas and super fun bartenders. So nice you almost forgive them for ogling your date ;)

Cielo Gold said...

Everyone has their own opinion. IN my opinion and experience, Lucky 13 is my number 1. Zeitgeist is cool and all, but I have had better times in Lucky 13. The cooks at Zeitgeist are pretty entertaining.

Kilowatt, Gold Cane-YES!! I am all for deep divin'!