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progressive dinner, SF civic center, where to have cocktails?

deelish Jul 29, 2006 12:50 AM

I am putting together a 60th birthday party for a group of women, ranging in age from 30 to 60. I have dinner reservations at Hayes Street Grill, dessert reservations at Citizen Cake. Please help me decide where to take this group of 9 for cocktails... considering Absinthe, Jardinere, Zuni or your favorite watering hole within walking distance?

We want atmosphere that is loungy with seating, and the noise level is not so deafening as to allow conversation. Good drinks are important. Also important, the ability to walk in on a Friday evening (6-ish) and get decent service. Is there anywhere you know of that one can make a reservation for the bar/lounge? Appetizers are a minor consideration.

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  1. anna RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 01:54 AM

    Personally, I love the atmopshpere at Jardiniere. My suggestion is to call and ask if any of the restaurant will be able to hold seats aside for 9 at the bar. Paul K also has a bar and within walking distance of Hayes Street Grill. The cocktails are pretty good.

    If you get a chance, you may want to go to several of the places during the time you plan to have cocktail and see what the scenes are like.

    1 Reply
    1. re: anna
      deelish RE: anna Jul 29, 2006 03:24 AM

      Great suggestion for the prelim visit. I have only been to Paul K once for dinner and loved the food, but don't remember what the bar was like.

    2. c
      chowchowchow RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 02:28 AM


      1 Reply
      1. re: chowchowchow
        deelish RE: chowchowchow Jul 29, 2006 03:22 AM

        Interesting, what makes Soluna a candidate? I have only driven by there and do not know it.

      2. Paul H RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 03:52 AM

        Just out of curiosity, what does "progressive dinner" in the title mean??

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paul H
          deelish RE: Paul H Jul 29, 2006 05:47 AM

          A progressive dinner is one that is eaten in stages or courses at varoius locations, hence traveling to different restaurants is one strategy. This used to be a common party theme, where groups of neighbors would host a course and the guests would travel from one house to another.

          1. re: deelish
            Paul H RE: deelish Jul 30, 2006 12:43 AM

            Thanks for the information. In San Francisco, you never know. :-)

        2. Windy RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 07:37 AM

          Another vote for Jardiniere because of the shape of the bar. Absinthe could work if they would give you a table. The odds are best if it's now before opera and symphony season start in mid September.

          Otherwise consider a bottle of champagne in the garden behind Arlequin.

          If they're a hip crowd and don't mind stairs, drop in at Jade. But it gets both loud and crowded on a Friday.

          No to Zuni because of the panhandlers and neighborhood. Soluna doesn't feel right for 60 somethings.

          You might add a stop at Modern Tea.

          1. d
            deelish RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 03:42 PM

            Yes, it will be in mid-August, so no pre-performance problems. I am intrigued by the champagne idea in garden of Arlequin, can you tell me more?

            1 Reply
            1. re: deelish
              Windy RE: deelish Jul 29, 2006 06:53 PM

              It's a wine store affiliated with and next door to Absinthe. I believe you can take their wines and snacks from their takeout to the garden to enjoy there.

            2. Robert Lauriston RE: deelish Jul 30, 2006 04:07 PM

              The bar at Zuni tends to be packed, not a good place for a large group.

              1. m
                Maya RE: deelish Aug 1, 2006 05:27 PM

                You might consider Sugar Lounge, more of a bar than the others (Jardiniere, etc) but lots of loungey seating. They might even have happy hour (with free appetizers) going when you're there. Not sure if you can reserve a spot, give them a call.

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