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Apr 30, 2008 09:31 PM

Wine Bars in SF

I did a search but come up with a lot of "bars" so I apologize if this has been covered. Looking for the best wine bars, wine is our primary focus, food second. Want reasonable prices, surprising/unusual selections, best wines more than anything else. Decent snacks a bonus but we plan on dinners at other restaurants. Anyplace to get great wine appreciated. Thank you.

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  1. Check out Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in The Ferry Building. Excellent selection in the sit down bar including interesting selection of flights. Catch them on the right night and you might meet the wine makers. You can also choose any of the hundreds of bottles (at many, many price points) to enjoy in the bar for a $6 corkage fee. Staff is very knowledgeable, courteous and professional. They have a diverse selection of local cheese and meat plates, as well as marinated olives and mushrooms. You're also free to roam the Ferry Building before settling in and pick up any of a number of delicious eddibles to enjoy at the wine bar.

    1. There is a wine bar in literally every neighborhood of San Francisco now, and unusual, well-chosen wine by the glass offered at 40 or 50 restaurants.

      California wine? Italian wine? particular ambiance? Or a neighborhood you want to be in.

      For example: We enjoyed the wine selection and snacks at Local but found it a cold scene worthy of London. Incanto has unusual Italian wines by the glass. 1550 Hyde has a carefully chosen list of glasses and bottles, designed to complement their food. Candybar has a wide selection of dessert wines at different price points.

      1. To me, the most interesting are Terroir (strictly a wine bar, they have a few cheeses and cold cuts) and Cav (also a restaurant). Hotel Biron (not a hotel or connected with one) and Hidden Vine for atmosphere (both strictly wine bars).

        Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant closes early.

        Topics on wine bars:

        Places search:

        Cav Wine Bar
        1666 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Hidden Vine
        620 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Hotel Biron
        45 Rose St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Terroir Natural Wine Merchant & Bar
        1116 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I 2nd terroir... The wines are always interesting (and for sale at the storefront there) and the atmosphere is my favorite of all of them.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Hidden Vine has reportedly been sold, so I'm not sure if my recommendation stands.


          2. I highly recommend Cav - I was there a couple weeks ago and was incredibly impressed. The list is large and varied, the staff knows their stuff and are very professional. I'd never heard of a Banyuls Blanc before, but they had one on the list (Dom. Pietri-Geraud) at a very reasonable price so we couldn't say no. It felt great to go to a wine bar and truly experience something new, not just a different take on the same old varietals (not that there's anything wrong with that). Plus, the food is WONDERFUL.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Absonot

              Can you elaborate on the food? We loved the food a couple years ago, then thought it was less good on a few successive visits and it's dropped out of our rotation. Would love to go back, because they do have one of the most serious wine programs around.

              1. re: Absonot

                I also recommend Cav- it's very possibly my favorite wine bar in the city. In fact, Cav continues to wow me. Great service, fresh atmosphere, highly-touted wine list, and delicious desserts (in addition to the other "kitchen" treats). Don't miss the coconut pot de creme or the marscapone panna cotta, when on the dessert menu. Both will knock your socks off.

                Hotel Biron is smaller, with little to no food, but very knowledgeable staff. Expect artsy crowds later at night.

                1. re: rahir

                  Hotel Biron has no kitchen so no hot food, but they have a decent selection of cheese, cold cuts, and nuts.

              2. Cav is great. Also try Nectar Wine Lounge on Steiner St.