From splashy dives to upscale classics (and everything in between) — our favorite spots to grab a drink
45 Rose, SF. (415) 703-0403, www.hotelbiron.com
JASPER'S CORNER TAP
Union Square, $–$$
Cocktail Destination, Gourmet Bites
Need a meet-up location with friends or colleagues near Union Square? One open all day, that'll please the beer geek, the wine lover, the cocktail aficionado? Oh, and that serves reasonably priced, tasty gastropub food? Not too tall an order, since Jasper's came along. Thanks to bar manager Kevin Diedrich, one of our city's great bartenders, some of the most thoughtful, fun cocktails in the city are here.
401 Taylor, SF. (415) 775-7979, www.jasperscornertap.com
Inner Sunset, $
Dive, Pub, Classic, Mellow
Though there's no shortage of Irish pubs in town, Little Shamrock stands out, going strong since 1894. Just off Golden Gate Park, this is garage sale, eclectic comfort expressed in a hodgepodge of couches, chairs, tables, inviting one to linger over Guinness on tap, board games, backgammon, warm fireplace, and free popcorn.
807 Lincoln Way, SF. (415) 661-0060
Upper Haight, $–$$
Beer Haven, Gourmet Bites
Operating as a busy gastropub, Magnolia arguably crafts the best local SF beer (not bottled) since 1997. Beermaster and restaurateur, Dave McLean, who also owns Alembic and an upcoming Dogpatch brewery, is behind the world-class brews. Serving cask-conditioned ales long before it was trendy, experimenting in a range of styles and categories, he makes sure there's a beer for everyone. McLean is a key figure in furthering SF and California beers from his roles in the SF Brewers Guild and Outside Lands' Beer Lands.
1398 Haight, SF. (415) 1398 Haight, SF. www.magnoliapub.com
Classic, Memorable Atmosphere, Music
Who doesn't love a piano bar? Characters belt out showtunes in the back of this velvet-draped classic, while spiffy bartenders shake or stir some killer martinis upfront. It's a little bit classy, a little bit seedy, and all San Francisco.
4 Valencia, SF. (415) 241-0205, martunis.ypguides.net
Lower Haight, $–$$
Cocktail Destination, Gourmet Bites
Kate Bolton brought a deft hand with cocktails (formed at fine dinging bars like Michael Mina) when she became bar manager at Maven, Lower Haight's best new cocktail outpost. Elegant yet unfussy drinks and an equally strong food menu — with helpful, adventurous beer pairings — make it a winning, all-around stop.
598 Haight, SF. (415) 829-7982. www.maven-sf.com
MONK'S KETTLE, ABBOT'S CELLAR
Beer Haven, Gourmet Bites, Memorable Atmosphere
Opened by the same team, these temples to beer feature proper glassware, storing temperatures, and impeccable selections (bottle and draft) of rare beers from around the globe. Both are strong restaurants, whether the always-crowded, gastropub-like Monk's, which has been one of our city's best beer bars for years, or the newer, more upscale Abbot's Cellar.
Monk's: 3141 16th St., SF. (415) 865-9523, www.monkskettle.com
Abbot's: 742 Valencia, SF. (415) 626-8700, www.abbotscellar.com
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