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hip in sf

i know it's really sad that as a 20 something i can't think of a place to meet my needs, but...

i have a friend coming into town in a few weeks and i was trying to think of a lively place with great cocktails and food for us to feel all fun and festive at. anywhere in sf works, really, and i don't know that type of cuisine is much of a factor.

last year went to top of the mark since i love that place but have no reason to go there unless i'm with tourists, and then to house for dinner. loved it, but looking for something a little more sceney this time around.

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  1. I don't know if it's hip but Mecca on Market might have the energy you're looking for since you reference Top of the Mark. I personally like Slo Club (Potrero flats), smaller, more of a low key, cool, post-modern scene and very good food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      i went to a girls night out at mecca about 2 years ago and we all LOVED it. we thought it was very hip & sexy. food was very tasty too. service was top-notch.

    2. How about Lime in the Castro?

      1. You might consider Farmer Brown. Yeah, the name doesn't sound hip at all, but with the DJ, young crowd, and bar scene, plus inexpensive food, it feels very club like and might do the trick. Here's one thread -

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Second the rec for FB. I saw many fellow twenty somethings lounging and drinking when I went there. The music is great and the prices are very reasonable. I think that many hip restaurants in SF would offend most twenty somethings with their prices. Don't forget the happy hour from 5-7.


          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Definitely Farmer Brown. Great drinks, totally hip atmosphere, and the food is good.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              i fourth the farmer brown rec! hip bar with some interesting drinks like watermelon margerita with spicy salt and another with ginger in it.

              the food overall is good, although a couple dishes like the trout and jambalaya were are hit or miss. the sides are amazing - don't miss those.

              i went there the first or second month it opened and it seemed they were still working out some kinks with food and service. but i think by now you should be safe. it really is a fun new restaurant. only thing is table space is a little tight.

            2. I was at Poleng Lounge last night, which is a very chill scene. Good set up for hanging out with friends - couches and small cocktail tables as well as regular tables, hip Asian fusion decor. Good straight soju and sake menu, aside from soju (and other) cocktails. Good small plates, but the DJ was really loud so watch where you sit.


              1 Reply
              1. re: coolbean98

                I second the Poleng Lounge rec - its in a real neighborhood so it has actual local patrons, its more "underground" (as much as anyplace in SF can be) and generally better music than Farmer Brown. And I find PL's food much more interesting than FB's Cal-South food, but that's just me.

              2. Foreign Cinema. Full bar, good eats, hip crowd, and a neighborhood undergoing--but not yet transformed by--gentrification.

                1. Range. I brought long time SF residents who had moved to Orange County and they thought I must really know the happenning places. Food, and cocktails were great, too.

                  1. All good suggestions above. I might add Oola, Cortez, Levende, Limon and Bocadillos. I haven't eaten at Levende since the opening chef left (Jamie?), but the food was excellent then, and it's certainly a scene. The dining room is converted to a dance floor/lounge when dinner is over.

                    Supperclub is also supposedly a scene, but I don't have any first hand experience there.

                    1. Defintely Coco500.

                      Very SF - innovative creative California and fusion food by Loretta Keller longtime SF chef - asian and latin styles - in great surroundings. Crowd from 20's on up. Friendly atmospere. Brannan and 5th .

                      here's a link


                      1. Cortez, or Medjool in the Mission with the roofdeck?

                        1. how bout the front porch, new spot in the outer mission. cool young vibe, hole in wall-y

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: potatoe

                            my friend went last weekend and thought the front porch was fabulous. she had the much discussed crab and corn porridge and her friend had the fried chicken i think. both were amazed at how inexpensive it was for the quality of the food and service. they even had wine served in little juice boxes...

                            i need to hit up this place soon...

                            1. re: lawrence

                              Wine and beer only, no cocktails at the Front Porch.

                          2. i woud second previous recs for coco500, oola, slow club and levende
                            last time i went to mecca it was lousey and over priced, but the chef has changed since then so it may be ok again now

                            1. A lot of good suggestions above. In the Mission, where you have a lot of options for going out after dinner, I'd go for Range (very good food but maybe a bit on the expensive side), Limon, Medjool or maybe Foreign Cinema (food is only OK for the price, you're better off just going to the bar afterwards). Mecca and Lime in the Castro are quite hip, but the food is at best so-so (and rather expensive in the case of Mecca). You're better off checking those places out for drinks only.

                              Haven't been to Farmer Brown yet, but it sounds like it would fit the bill based on the reports we've gotten on it so far. I'm not as big a fan of coco500 as a lot of people here, but it's pretty hip. Bocadillos in North Beach is both good and happening, but I think they only serve wine, no cocktails. Come to think of it, Limon also doesn't have a full liquor license.

                              A couple of other places to consider would be RNM in the Haight, and NOPA on Divisadero. I'd say NOPA might actually be your best bet for a combination of atmosphere, food, prices and a nice bar area.

                                1. For a whole different version of "hip," try South Park Café. It's the closest thing in ambience to a neighborhood place in Paris, on a pretty little park lined with attractive old buildings; the food's good though not especially imaginative, the staff are nice, the whole feel is something I've never encountered anywhere in the US. If not dinner, go there for lunch, have the mussels and fries, pretend you're in the 20th Arrondissement.

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Nope, full bar, though a limited selection. They used to have Eau de Vie de Framboise which is pretty much my idea of the world's finest after-dinner drink, but no more. But they have one or two Armagnacs, a Calvados, a couple of Cognacs, MacAllan malt whisky, Campari--enough to be going on with.

                                  1. I’m not sure what kind of scene you are looking for – but if you are OK with the Marina scene, think about Mamacita for Mexican. I think the food is great and so are the margaritas. You can eat for a reasonable price, too. But it is very crowded and very, very noisy. If you make reservations you are more likely to be seated further from the noisiest part of the restaurant, the bar.

                                    1. Im a twentysomething and all my twenty something friends now have drinks at Mejool. The crowd is varies from mid 20s to mid 30s and the restaurant serves small dishes and after 10 (I think its 10) it turns into a loungey thing. Oh yeah, and they have a rooftop bar. Have fun!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sushilover

                                        Medjool really gets under my skin. A rooftop bar has so much potential, but they serve in plastic and have such surly (in a bad way) bartenders.

                                      2. Sceney?

                                        Try Town Hall, Bong Su, Oola, or Frisson.

                                        1. I'll add Blue Plate to the list -- for an SF hipster vibe. Or Emmy's. Good bars nearby too, namely El Rio and the Argus. Depends what sort of 'sceney' you're looking for.