Brooklyn hound fears the worst.....
Please fellow hounds, help a brother out. I've done a lot of digging on this site and others, but am unable to find the info I so desperately need. Here's the skinny.....
My lady and I are coming to SF for our first visit in a long time. Unfortunately, we will be there only Sunday and Monday night (which I'm guessing are probably the two lamest nights to got out in your fair city).
The only nighttime commitment we have so far is Lucha VaVoom (Mexican wrestling + burlesque, who knew?) at The Fillmore on Sunday night. Here's where you come in....
We need recc's for cool spots for both dinner and drinks, that won't be totally lame (or closed) on Sunday or Monday night. Ideally, we would love to have dinner in a lively environment with great food and then hit a nearby bar for drinks and music, possibly dancing.
Sunday night we'll be in Japantown, Monday we'd like to be in the Mission.
Ideally, all places would be comfortable, outstanding places that we would not ordinarily have access to in NYC. FYI, we're both in our low-30's, love dive bars (and fancy cocktail joints too), indie rock, backpacker & 90's hip-hop, and organic grinds. Some of our fave resto's in NYC and BK include Dumont, Applewood, Zum Schneider, Frank, Yakitori Totto, Little Giant and Azul. Fave bars include Motor City, Studio B, 119, No Malice, and Hi Fi.
Right now we have A60, Zuni, Range, and Town Hall on our list. No ideas for bars. We need serious help (in general, but specifically with this).
I would highly recommend Range for Sunday night. It's one of the few restaurants that I go to at least one Sunday a month and it's always on track - my boyfriend and I think it's one of a couple places in the city that can actually rock your world on a Sunday (the other places being Cortez and Boulevard). I'm a wine drinker, but everyone I know loves the cocktails at Range (there's a famous SF chef that I see drinking there too on occasion and he says the cocktails are some of the best in the city). Range is also in a great neighborhood for bar hopping afterwards. Valencia Street is loaded with fun places to drink, explore, and occasionally get your groove on. I would recommend walking between the blocks of 20th - 14th after dinner and just popping into whatever place catches your eye.
A16 is near kind of interesting bars (note: kind of...). You'll mainly see the typical jock, preppy types that roam the Marina part of San Francisco.
Town Hall is not in a fun location for a Sunday night, but I would recommend going there on a Monday and then hitting up some of the downtown bars that are open for all post-work drinks.
If you go to Range, here are some of the dishes that I've recently tried that are beyond tasty:
1. Roasted chicken with beets, goat cheese, and walnuts
2. Any pasta dish, or fish entree (changes nightly but is some of the best, consistent food they have)
3. Desserts!!! Meyer lemon pudding cake, any tart, strawberry cream puffs...
I just noticed that you noted being in the Mission on Monday night and not Sunday ... I still think Range would be a good spot for you to try. The bars are still accessible and lively on Mondays in the Mission.
Another option for Sunday, in Japantown, would be Bushi Tei. The food is French-Californian-Japanese fusion. They have an amazing Sake selection and it's not far from the Fillmore. Also, on Sunday's they are doing a Spring Menu (check out the website for more information).
On the dive bar tip, I recommend Zeitgeist. It has fanTAStic bloody marys, plus a lot of great beers on tap. Its beergarden in the back is totally SF. The burgers are supposed to be good, but I've never had. Just letting you know they have a small menu too.
It's open every day from 9am-2am.
199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
What's so great about the beer at Zeitgeist? If I recall correctly, they had around 16 taps, of which a handful were various common flavors of cider (pear, peach, etc.). The remaining beer options were fine but not particularly unusual for the bay area, and I have to say that our pitcher was a touch on the skunky side. Everyone else seemed to be ordering bloodies, which did look good but we purposefully ordered beer to see what the fuss was about.
re: Robert Lauriston
Agreed - no one does beer better than Toronado. But for dive atmosphere and beers that the OP might not find in Brooklyn, I think it's still a good suggestion.
If OP really wants a range of killer beers on tap, Toronado should definitely be added to the list! Hours: 11:30am to 2:00am daily
547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA
For cocktails I would definitely recommend Alembic (in the Haight) and Beretta (in the mission). Both of these places also have interesting menus, the appetizers and pizzas at Beretta I can personally vouch for, but at Alembic I have unfortunately eaten only with my eyes.
I third the rec for Range. Their chocolate souffle was perfection.
If you want to be in Japantown on Sunday you might check out O Izakaya, there's lots of feedback on this board, but I haven't been yet.
Enjoy SF, as a recent NYC resident myself I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
I'd scratch A16 (what I think you meant by A60). I used to enjoy it quite a bit, but a recent meal there was utterly lackluster. The restaurant is lively, but not fun in the way that Range can be.
More specifically, the things I didn't like about A16 this time were:
1) way over-salted salads. I like salt, but I couldn't taste much that wasn't salt in the two salads we had
2) confused pizza style. It used to be Neapolitan, cooked fast with blistered edges and a soft middle that you had to eat with fork and knife. It also used to taste good. Now the crust is thicker, somehow less flavorful, and I ate my slices by picking them up and folding them--which shouldn't have been possible if they were Neapolitan. The edges were charred, not just blistered, to the extent that all I could taste was char and I didn't eat my pizza crusts for the first time ever at A16. Toppings were also hit or miss; the funghi pizza was fine, but the pizza bianca had nothing going on except 2 or 3 large olives. If you managed to get an olive in a bite, it completely overwhelmed all over flavor with an intense burst briny-bitter olive flavor that reminded me of cheap cocktail olives. Better olives cut into a dice to sprinkle over the pizza would have worked better. Strangely, the cheese on the pizza bianca managed to stay totally white (i.e. no caramelized bits) while the edges of the crust burned. Perhaps the air temperature in the oven was too low but the deck was still hot?
3) awful pasta sauce. It should have been a simple tasty tomato-based sauce, but instead it was strangely flavorless and sour. No love went into this sauce.
I knew I would get the straight dope from this crew. A16 (not A60) is out. Town Hall is out. Preppies/jocks from the marina also out.
Lots of love for Range. I'm sold. Range is in. We now have reservations for 8:30 on Monday night. Lexcre8: Thanks for the suggestions!!
And we love beer gardens. Should we hit Zeigeist before or after Range? Is it in walking distance? Any cool bars spinning music on Monday night in the nabe?
So that leaves Sunday night. We have tix for a show at the Fillmore (Japantown right?). O Izakaya has been suggested. How does this compare to Kiss? Anything else in the area? Drinks with a view?
Thanks again! You guys kick ass.
I saw at O Izakaya again last night (I'm going there about once a week now). For a pre-show nosh with drinks, O Izakaya is the place. Kiss is a more formal, sit-down omakase sushi restaurant that will easily set you back $100 per person. Don't get me wrong, it is fabulous and all that, but you might be hard-pressed to get in early enough to get out for a show. O Izakaya opens at 5:00 and they have kick-ass drinks and a great selection of bar food.
Last night, three of us shared a burger with French fries, the duck breast, the chicken wings, three skewers of meatballs, and tempura mushrooms. I was the only one who drank and the tab was $70 with left-overs. You couldn't do that at Kiss AND have a more-laid back, easy-going atmosphere.
ETA - there is no view to speak of here... We are sort of in a hole as far as the city is concerned.
Zeitgeist is pretty good whenever you go as long as it's not freezing outside. The best part of the bar is the patio area so if it's a nice night, or still sunny, it's definitely worth visiting (there's no place like it in SF...).
Here are a couple of other places in the Mission, both not too far from Range.
Amnesia was voted one of the best Monday night spots in the mission, and Double Dutch also received high Monday night reviews. Check out their websites for a list of DJ's/music style.
Zeitgeist is around 10 blocks from Range and Amnesia is just a couple block away. Easy walk (no hills).
Have a great trip!
853 Valencia St
(between 20th St & Cunningham Pl)
San Francisco, CA 94110
3192 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
I would definitely make it to Zeitgeist before dinner; San Francisco doesn't have the kind of summer hot nights that you may be more accustomed to back east. When the sun goes down here it gets cold. If you'd rather not walk, you can catch the 14 or 49 bus on Mission to make it to within a block of Range, or take the 26 down Valencia (though it doesn't run nearly as often).
Afterwards you may want to check out the Make-Out Room.
3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA
More awesome info!
Monday is shaping up nicely. Zeitgeist > Range > Amnesia/Double Dutch/Make Out Room
Anyone else have a good suggestion for something Asian (Vietnamese/Thai/Izakaya/Sushi) for Sunday night near the Fillmore?
Also anyone know how far Bourbon & Branch is from the The Fillmore? Worth going to for drinks after the show?
Thanks again for all the responses!
I think I already suggested O Izakaya on Sunday before going to The Fillmore. Maybe it got lost in the Zeitgeist discussion, but it is definitely there...
And Bourbon & Brance is a cab ride into the Tenderloin. You could walk there (20 minutes to half-hour), but it is not recommended.
If it's a nice night in the Mission, you should walk along 22nd and have a drink at Latin American Club (divey and a fun hangout), Lone Palm (really cool, lovely, and old fashioned), Radio Habana Social Club (wine and beer/totally avoid the food/soak up some weird atmosphere), and the Makeout Room. I like the food at Lolo pretty well and the interior design is fantastic. Just even a snack here would be fun for you, I think. I'd have a cocktail at Range, but I'm not convinced you should spend a lot of time there, given your tastes. The Liberties is on 22nd & Guerrero (near Lone Palm)--it's not really my kind of place, but my friend lives close and adores it. I did have a spectacular burger there recently.
Farther south on Mission is the Knockout (a divey bar, decent cocktails, DJs and other various entertainment later in the evening--this is a fun place to hang out. Across the street is a really decent restaurant called Blue Plate.
Some bars farther north in the Mission are the Uptown (divey, locals, very reasonable prices, pool table), Elixir (divey and well known for good cocktails--I think it depends on who's working), and Casablanca (divey rocker hangout--good jukebox).
My favorite beer garden EVER is at Wild Side West in Bernal Heights (a neigbhorhood bordering the south end of the Mission). Fantastic and varied crowd, yes once again divey, but a large, jungly, meandering outdoor drinking area with many nooks and crannies for groups of varying sizes. A treasure to behold.
Yes, I like bars.
And now for the links:
3394 22nd St. (near Guerrero)
Blue Plate (yes, open Mondays)
3218 Mission (@ Valencia)
3223 Mission (@ Valencia)
3234 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110
3200 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Radio Habana Social Club
1109 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Liberties Irish Bar & Restaurant - closing
998 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Latin American Club
3286 22nd St, San Francisco, CA
3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA
200 Capp St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Casanova Cocktail Lounge
527 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Welcome! as a bi-coastal (brooklyn-SF) hound, I know both cities...you'll definitely like Range and all the stuff on 16th St and Valencia. Just enough scruff to be cool, but lots of hipster bars too. If you're wandering around in the Mission on Monday, good options for cheap eats are the crepes, cider, and seafood salad at Ti Couz (French/Breton creperie) on 16th St, across from the Roxie movie theater; the falafel, kebabs, and shwarma at Truly Med (on 16th, next to Roxie); coffee at uber-hip Ritual Roasters, on Valencia near 22nd St; fantastic ice cream at Bi-Rite Ice Creamery, on 18th St near Dolores (enjoy it in the park nearby, which has a great view of the city from the top); anything from Bi-Rite, our fabulous little local food store, chock full of great wine (cause you can buy in the grocery store here!), cheeses, local chocolates, organic produce, breads, prepared foods, sandwiches, etc; cali-style pizza and excellent apps/sides from Pizzeria Delfina (not sure if they're open on Mondays); tacos and killer agua fresca at La Taqueria, on Mission St & 25th St; awesome pie at Mission Pie, on 25th St at Mission. Other fun bars: Skylark, on 16th St between Valencia/Mission; Casanova, on Valencia near 16th St. My friends call the Latin American Club the Caucasian-American Club, but it's still a mellow and fun place to hang.
Yep, I love my 'hood...Oh, and BRING A JACKET. I know you're sweating in NYC right now, but except for the very rare balmy days, it's CHILLY here in the summer, especially at night. Bring layers, hill-walkin' shoes, and a comfy jacket. You'll need it when the fog comes in and the wind kicks in around 5pm.
Just got back from our trip to the Bay area. Thanks to everyone for all of your amazing suggestions. Thanks to your input we were able to put together an awesome trip. Here are some of the food-related highlights....
Started the trip with a lunch at Fish in Sausalito on the way to Sonoma. Had some great Kumamoto oysters and grilled fish tacos. Washed it down with an Anchor Steam. The meal seemed to say, "welcome back to SF."
Dinner that same night was at the General's Daughter in Sonoma. Place was dead for a Thursday night. Perhaps, the smoke scared people off. Dinner was not particularly memorable: roast pork (kinda tough), potato and veg. Wine from Schug vineyard down the road was outstanding.
Two nights later we had reservations for both Ad Hoc and Redd in Yountville. Since the one meal price fixe was steak (had it the night before) we opted to go to Redd. Dinner was fantastic: sweet corn soup, yellowfin tuna tartare with avo and chile, and glazed pork belly with apple puree. Dynamite. Room was packed and uber-hip. Def go back here again.
Brunch the next morning was at Girl and the Fig in Sonoma. Hit the spot for 4 totally hungover wine snobs.
On to SF...
Dinner the first night was at Bong Su near our hotel. The new-Vietnamese menu was very similar to the Slanted Door (in a good way). We had a great time here. Both the food and the cocktails delivered. Perfect started to the evening's entertainment at the Fillmore that night, Lucha Vavoom.
Following day we had oysters and beer at the Hog Island Oyster Co in the Ferry Building or lunch. As good as I remembered. Bought some cheese and French desserts for later.
Later that night was dinner at Range. Started off with some house cocktails. Good stuff. Might have to replicate one or two of these at home. Starter was poached egg on toast over spinach puree. It was a lot more elegant than it sounds...delicious. Entree = california bass with corn, baby turnips, pancetta and parsley purée. My wife had the roast chicken with bread salad (similar to Zuni?). Both were very good. Dessert was a miss though...rhubarb tart was too tart (pun intended). All in all 8.5/10. Would def go back.
Last meal in SF was a carne asada burrito from El Fajardo (?) in the Mission on the way to the airport, natch.
Thanks again everyone! We had a great time. And if any of you are coming to NYC soon, be sure to ping me.