I'm in San Francisco next week for a long weekend. This board has been very helpful in choosing restaurants, now I'm hoping I can get equally good advice on drinking establishments. We're staying in the downtown area, but willing to move around and looking for everything from a notable neighborhood dive something more sophisticated. Just no jackets or ties required. Thanks.
You absolutely need to go to www.bourbonandbranch.com, it's a speakeasy style bar, gorgeous inside, amazing drinks that they are largely the brains behind. Just very fun. you must get a reservation, but it is so much fun and worth it. you can go to the library behind, but to cozy up in one of their "reservation only" booths, you'll love it.
on the wine side: District is across from the ballpark, and great. there is also Ottomista Enoteca, in Cow Hollow, largely Italian, but also Spanish and more.
If you like wine, then I would recommend Bar Bambino, perhaps even for dinner. It's not downtown, but since it's a half-block from the 16th & Mission BART station, I would consider it convenient. It also puts you in the area around the intersection of 16th Street and Valencia, with all its funky character, not to mention plenty of cool and dive bars for you to continue your evening.
And I know I will be flamed for this ("It's an overpriced tourist trap" or something), but I have to recommend you at least pop your head into the Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel. That place always makes me smile.
2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
950 Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Beer, wine, or cocktails? Few places do more than one of those well. Some relevant recent topics:
tunnel bar. very small, very loud, very crowded. frantic. cash only. the woman behind the bar knows her stuff. the bar at epic roasthouse is interesting for the views and good nibbles. again, a good mixologist. lastly, the pied piper bar at the palace hotel. a very decent bar in the financial district. a bit of history. nice mural.