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Jun 22, 2006 12:12 PM

SF Restaurants with great cocktails

  • m

I've been doing some "research" given my fondness for a killer cocktail before/with dinner. Criteria are basically (1) a full restaurant, not just a "lounge" with a bar menu; (2) a cocktail menu; and (3) specialty cocktails including fresh ingredients.

I recently discovered that San Francisco spends more per capita on alcohol and books than any other city in the country, so it doesn't suprise me that the "mixologists" are starting to take hold - people often seem to want this with their meals now...

The following have been standouts:


Any others come to mind?

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  1. I love the cocktails at Azie, although I don't think the quality of the food measures up to the food at most of those already on your list...(or at least at the ones I have tried, namely Aziza, Range and Myth).

    Coco500 also has great cocktails, but the bar isn't nearly as comfortable as the one at Azie. The food is better, however, at least on my last visit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: susancinsf

      I had an amazing Elderflower Gimlet at NOPA, and their Sazerac was also top-notch. Definitely worth checking out.

    2. Slow Club has a very tasty cocktail menu - always a daily special, in addition to others. And usually quite strong.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SarahS

        I second the Slow Club, they have it going on. Good food, interesting space, small and intimate, although a bit on the noisy side, but what lively restaurant isn't. They also have a great looking crowd and a killer burger for less than $10! And parking is pretty easy.

      2. Zuni Cafe
        Slanted Door

        2 Replies
        1. re: fig newton

          This is a subject with which I am very comfortable.

          I thoroughly disagree with the rec for Zuni. I had some cocktails there recently that just sucked. Very watery and not well made at all. This was over the course of an evening, so it was not one particular bad bartender.

          You already have Aziza on your list. Their cocktails are unusual and great. BIX has very good cocktails and good food. There's a male bartender at Range who owns a high-end liquor store and mixes excellent cocktails--he makes a fantastic Sazerac.

          1. re: KathyR

            My first thought was the same as yours about Zuni - and it's a real shame. If they put a modicum of effort into their cocktails they could have an amazing setup, but they seem like a boring afterthought. I really wanted to like their Bloody Mary, and assumed it would be absolutely fantastic, but was suprised to see it totally mediocre. You'd think with their emphasis on fresh ingredients etc., that they'd be more in tune with the cocktail NEEDS of SF locals. :) But maybe they just don't care to go that way. They certainly don't need a business boost.

        2. Paul K has some excellent, creative cocktails. And good chow.

          1. Frisson has some interesting cocktails and food.