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Jan 24, 2008 02:13 PM

Pubs/restaurants in Marina/Cow Hollow

Hi, we are coming in from out of town and are looking for some pubs (or casual restaurants where we can have cocktails and linger) that have good food and atmosphere. We are staying around Fillmore & Lombard, from some things I've read that is the Marina district and others classify it as Cow Hollow, so not sure...We are just looking to go out for some drinks and casual food, maybe do a "pub crawl" if the places are close enough. Looking through other threads I found Balboa Cafe and Liverpool Lil's (which may be too far for us)... Are those the best around or do you have other suggestions?

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  1. You might try the Brazen Head on Greenwich Street@Buchanan. It is a locals place. I don't think they even have a sign outside the door, identifying the place.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      ditto Brazen Head

      Also, not far maybe 6 blocks is Liverpool Lil's great spot and they have good food. I like the fish n chips, onion soup.

      1. re: Lori SF

        I second Liverpool Lil's. The food is surprisingly good there.

      2. re: DavidT

        I should also mention that Perry's on Union Street is an SF pub "institution" that has been in business for decades. If you do a pub crawl of some sort, it is certainly worth a stop. They serve lunch/dinner there. Not sure about breakfast/brunch.

        1. re: DavidT

          Thank you David for the prompt answer.

      3. Your best bet in that location is to head to Chestnut street where there are all sorts of good restaurants and bars. You could just stroll along there and find lots of nice places. In the other direction, Union Street has a number of restaurants and bars, but I don't find them, for the most part, as good. Still not a bad street to stroll. Do you need any breakfast recs?

        3 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Yes, breakfast recs would be great, thanks!

          1. re: jcoz23

            Judy's Homestyle cafe on Chestnut makes a nice breakfast and has good pumpkin bread.

            Bechelli's Restaurant - I just like this place and there willl be people who disagree. They haven't kept up with the times, but I feel they keep doing what they've done since the 1970's.. It was when it opened the hot spot. My favoirte is the South of the Border. I also like the blueberry pancakes a lot

            On Union Street, Rose's Cafe gets lots of positive reports. I have yet to make it there, but it is high on my list to try.

            Places I would not recommend in that area
            Mel's - I've never liked the breakfast or anything at this location
            Home Plate - some people love this place. I'm not a fan

            1. re: rworange

              Rose's is exceptional (though the service drives me crazy sometimes) and I really like Home Plate.

          1. re: wolfe

            Perry's is indeed still there. (I myself don't ever go there because, when it opened, it was the fashion for young college grads to spend a few months waiting tables before moving on to the rest of their lives and folks who were professional waiters ended up picketing these job-stealers. Butler was quoted in the paper as saying he'd close before ever letting the union in. I felt he could have talked all day, as the saying goes ....)

            Also, Liverpool Lil's is 10 blocks from the Brazen Head.

            There are a couple of wine bars in the Marina (Cow Hollow ends and the Marina begins at Lombard; you can tell them apart by the architecture--Victorian, CH, Spanish-flavored, 20th-century built Marina!) and, of course, the noisy but historic Bus Stop bar at Union/Laguna.

            Betelnut (Union bet. Buchanan and Webster) is a possible stop visitors may enjoy--not too exotic for Western palates but still tasty takes on Asian food and a hard-liquor bar complete with not-so-bad umbrella drinks.

            I like Alegrias (Lombard between Webster & Fillmore) for tapas too.

            1. re: Fine

              Alegrias sounds great, we are always up for tapas! I tried to find a website for the place and couldn't... It's not fancy, is it? I saw it mentioned on another CHOW thread for a "nice dinner", so just want to make sure it is a place that we will feel comfortable going to in jeans after we are out & about...

                1. re: rworange

                  My computer says page expired with 3 !!!

                    1. re: wolfe

                      Here's the menuigapges general info page with link to the menu

                      If that doesn't work search for Alegrias. It is there.

                  1. re: jcoz23

                    No, it is not fancy - you will be fine in jeans at all of these places.

              1. There's a number of tasty Italian spots around--Capannina and one other I'm completely blanking right now on Union. Balboa and Brazen Head are primarily more "American" food. Be warned--after about 9:00 Balboa gets packed. If you're into the Frat/Sorority scene 15yrs later it's perfect. You'll have no problem finding bars on either Chestnut or Union--I'd recommend just walking around and seeing what looks worth popping in.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mofo313

                  That pretty much sums up the Balboa..I had to go there once in 1999 and that was my last time.

                  Not a pub but a nice bar to cozy up to if you get there on the early side (completely packed after 7:00) is Laiola on Chestnut, one of the few Spanish places. The house cured meats and some cocktails are the way to go.

                  1. re: Lori SF

                    We enjoyed Laiola--which, I've read, now accepts reservations--but it was expensive. Unless you're pretty controlled, it will make quite a dent in your wallet or else leave you still hungry.

                    I actually saw it as a potential threat to Alegrias, which we feel a neighborhood loyalty to, since its tapas were considerably more sophisticated if not perhaps as traditional-Spanish as those at the former.

                  2. re: mofo313

                    Probably Pane e Vino is the Italian place you were blocking.

                    I don't go to the Balboa, but it is a true historic SF bar and probably interesting for some people-watching and it does have a famous burger. I don't know if it's still fashionable as a society lunch spot, it was a few years ago because of the Newsom-Getty connection (note to non-San Franciscans: Our current mayor used to be one of the owners of the Balboa after it had transmogrified from an old-timers' bar to a Yuppie hangout; because he was a protege of the wealthy and social Getty family ....)

                    The last time I was in the place, several years back, it was at the invitation of one of the mayor's staff members, who, for unfathomable reasons, decided to ask me to lunch, and, when I demurred, took me to dinner instead. (Someone suggested he was "feeling me out" for a potential appointment to a commission, but it will surprise few of you that I was far too outspoken and independent minded for that to happen, if indeed it was the purpose!)