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Oct 1, 2008 12:26 PM

Best bar food, Mission/Noe/Bernal

I'm looking for a place to go after work--between, say, 8 and 9, without a reservation, to have a couple of glasses of wine or cocktails, and a few appetizers or a burger. The sort of place where a group of four could meet, with two people eating and two just imbibing...

I've recently moved from Cambridge, MA, which was quite rich in this sort of place: to give you an idea, I had Central Kitchen, West Side lounge, Casablanca, and Chez Henri on a fairly constant rotation... I've been to some great restaurants since I arrived here, but they have definitely all been *restauranty*--ie not places for informal or impromptu gatherings of friends. Recently, in no particular order, I've enjoyed the peach and heirloom tomato salad at Emmy's spaghetti shack, the sweetbreads and grilled walnut bread followed by roast chicken at Blue Plate, the smoked fish and watercress salad at Incanto, and ceviche at Mi Lindo Peru. Have also had some great, but foodless, times at the Latin American club and El Rio! Is there somewhere where I could combine the two? I've been thinking of trying Luna Park, The Liberties, and Beretta.

Thanks in advance for recommendations and local wisdom...

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  1. I think you are on the right track. Luna Park, The Liberties, and Beretta (my favorite of this list) would be perfect to sit at the bar and drink/snack. Range might fit the bill for a special occasion with this configuration.

    We don't really have that many bars with food establishments, most are restuaranty. Actually, last night I was at Mars which IS a bar with food, but it was crowded in a hellacious way.

    842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Luna Park
    694 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110

    1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Liberties Irish Bar & Restaurant - closing
    998 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Mars Bar & Restaurant
    798 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    1. Parea is a wine bar with light food.

      Parea' Wine Bar and Cafe
      795 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA

      1. I'm a fan of Bar Bambino and there's also Velvet Cantina if you're in the mood for Mexican.

        1. 4 people along a bar isn't especially comfortable. Liberties does have tables, but it is most definitely a bar with food rather than the other way around.

          El Rio does have barbecues Fridays and Sunday afternoons, but probably earlier than you've been.

          Radio Habana Social Club has cheap wine, beer, and snacks. It's a completely different atmosphere and scene than Beretta (which we found very unaccommodating when we tried to celebrate my birthday there).

          But I'd recommend Slow Club over anything on this list so far. Great drinks, excellent food, open late (for a restaurant), with bar tables and bar stools.

          1. Just received the sad news last night that The Liberties is closing up shop in a couple of days. It's sad because it's a friendly place, you can take kids there if you want, and their burgers are really tasty.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Atomica

              Is that so? Oh no! Thank you to everyone above for their suggestions: I've tried all except for Velvet Cantina, and have really enjoyed Liberties (an excellent crispily fried plate of calamari, and a Guinness on my last visit).
              Adding to my own list, I've also enjoyed wine and a cheese plate at Hotel Biron, solid if not great tapas at Ramblas (but loved the blue cheese stuffed dates with walnuts), and two excellent meals at Lolo (though maybe this is pushing the bar food idea a bit).