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Best gin selection in SF?

  • w

I'm looking for a place to take a Sapphire-loving friend gin tasting, preferably financial district, since that's in the middle for us. We'd also like a nice atmosphere, but it doesn't really matter if it's more swank lounge, classic old-school bar, or the bar in a decent restaurant.

I've promised her that there's alot more to gin than the blue bottle and now I have to prove it. Definitely hoping for Junipero, Old Raj, and Plymouth...the more the merrier!

Food is secondary, but there ought to be some so that these two ladies don't fall off our bar stools.

Thanks for any leads!

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  1. The Red Room at the Clift has a very nice selection...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      [just an FYI: Red Room is bar on sutter around jones. Redwood Room at the Clift]

      1. re: psb

        Thank you! I've been looking for an excuse to go there and this just might be it.

    2. Bourbon and Branch has far and away the best selection. However, The Oak Tree has a decent one as well. B&B will keep you happy for years to come though.

      5 Replies
      1. re: atomicspin

        I'm sort of put off by the ordeal of Bourbon and Branch. Reservations and getting kicked out. Exclusivity does not intrigue me and I tend to prefer my drinking uncomplicated. Hell, I think if someone wants a cosmo, they should get one and shouldn't be judged. Well, maybe they should be judged, but they should be able to have one. That said, your promise of years worth of gin might change my mind.

        Where is The Oak Tree? I couldn't find it with a quick google.

        1. re: wgibs

          Actually some work friends went last week and were allowed to stay well past their allotted time, a surprise since it was a large-ish group. I didn't go because the whole thing seems too gimmicky for me; and most who went said they wouldn't return.

          1. re: wgibs

            I was put off by the "ordeal" and "exclusivity" of B&B until I went. It was awesome.

            1) The bartenders make excellent drinks using the best ingredients. Even if you order a basic drink - it's going to be a Best In Class. DH's Manhattan was the best he'd had according to him.
            2) You're guaranteed a seat (hey, I'm old - standing around fighting room to stand and enough bar space to set my drink down at Alambic put me off that place permanently)
            3) Its not noisy. We were actually able to hold a conversation without shouting. It was so f%&king chill & civilized I almost cried with happiness.
            4) Once you've gone once, the "ordeal" seems trivial and easy enough.

            Maybe there are other bars where a person can get a seat, good service, an excellent drink (no matter what they order) and hold a conversation - but I don't know where.

            I would highly recommend B&B to someone who is seeking excellence and doesn't mind paying for it.

            1. re: wgibs

              Sorry, I confused myself. The Royal Oak. It's on Polk.

              Bring cash though, they don't take credit cards.

          2. Absinthe has a great selection of some hard to find Gin, as well as bartenders who generally have some interesting cocktails in their repetoire.
            Nice looking bar. Avoid pre-Symphony/Opera nights.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sfbrit

              I second Absinthe as well. They have a great gin selection as well as some excellent mixologists coming up with new drinks all the time.

            2. Alfred's Steak House is a quiet and classy FiDi place to grab a drink.

              I'm not sure about their gin selection, but if its even a third as extensive as their catalog of whiskies, I'm sure it will suffice.

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              Alfred's Steak House
              659 Merchant St., San Francisco, CA 94111

              1. Try the bar at One Market at the end of Market St. It's in a good location in the Financial District. Close to the Embarcadero BART for a quick getaway. Happy Hour is 4:30. They have all the Gins listed above and a few more.