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SF Restaurants with great cocktails

Maya Jun 22, 2006 12:12 PM

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?

  1. s
    sfbrit Jun 24, 2006 06:49 PM

    Second Absinthe...

    Good bar scene & attractive setting - zinc bar, brasserie feel. Excellent full bar (14 gins as an example) & usually some interesting cocktail specials on the chalkboard.

    Excellent bartenders - they mix great cocktails, know when to chat & when not to....

    1. c
      Celeste Jun 23, 2006 05:40 PM

      I second Coco500. GREAT cocktails and fantastic food to boot.

      1. c
        Chris Rising Jun 22, 2006 08:51 PM

        Town Hall. Great bar with good bar vibe. Great apps to share, and really good full dinner menu. Some spotty reports of late, but I've had good experiences.

        1. m
          Maya Jun 22, 2006 02:28 PM

          I might add, though it is not in SF, that the cocktails at Cyrus in Healdsburg absolutely blew my mind, particularly the Rhubarbarella and Thai Boxer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Maya
            TheDive Jun 22, 2006 03:54 PM

            I completely agree. And the cocktail list there is one of the most informative documents I've read at a restaurant.

            Link: http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/cockta...

          2. t
            TheDive Jun 22, 2006 02:07 PM

            Frisson has some interesting cocktails and food.

            1. l
              Leaseachef Jun 22, 2006 01:21 PM

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

              1. f
                fig newton Jun 22, 2006 01:06 PM

                Zuni Cafe
                Slanted Door

                2 Replies
                1. re: fig newton
                  KathyR Jun 22, 2006 01:44 PM

                  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
                    Maya Jun 22, 2006 02:26 PM

                    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. s
                  SarahS Jun 22, 2006 12:51 PM

                  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
                    Jim Jun 23, 2006 11:47 AM

                    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. s
                    susancinsf Jun 22, 2006 12:18 PM

                    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
                      Maya Jun 22, 2006 12:25 PM

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

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