Christmas Day: Cozy Bar, Bites, a Fireplace Maybe?
We planned to go hiking Christmas morning (probably somewhere north of San Francisco, around Marin), and then lounge around somewhere pre-dinner, maybe around 2 p.m..
The idea situtation would be a bar where we could have a cocktail and some bites--cozy atmosphere is necessary, and a fireplace is ideal (but not absolutely necessary).
The location should be in San Francisco or within a 20 minute drive north over the Golden Gate. Price is not important.
Any ideas? The only thing that came to mind was the Big 4 in the Huntington.
1075 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
We ended up at Farley Bar at Cavallo Point; for future reference, both Pelican Inn and Buckeye appeared to be closed on Christmas (not sure if Buckeye opened later at night, but Pelican didn't have inn guests, so I don't suppose they opened for food).
Farley was exactly what we wanted--we snagged a seat near one of two fireplaces and were able to relax and watch the bustle of families dropping in for a cocktail before they ate at the attached restaurant.
The bar had an abbreviated menu of maybe 8 items. We ordered fries, crab cakes and steamed artichokes. The artichoke was steamed with lemon and served with mayonnaise and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs. I can't remember the price of just the artichoke (total was a bit over $50 for three apps plus a beer and a cocktail), but I was left with the impression that it was a bit dear for the simple preparation.
My friend liked her crab cakes very much, and it appeared they were much more crab than filler, fried a dark brown and mounted on halved cherry tomatoes. The fries were nice, very crisp, though I wish they tasted a bit more potatoey. Selection of alcohol was good, though the drinks were mixed too sweet for my taste.
Overall, I'd give the food a B, but it was worth it for the beautiful surroundings, and exactly fitting the bill for what we wanted: cozy bar, bites, and a fireplace definitely.
The Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley would probably meet all of your criteria, though it can get a bit crowded and noisy. It's right next to the freeway exit to Stinson Beach (on the West side of the freeway). Bar snacks are decent - main restaurant food is homey comfort food with a bit of a steakhouse feeling.
15 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Farley Bar in Sausalito?
Murray Circle is serving Christmas dinner from noon to 9pm so the bar will be open.
Lark Creek has a nice bar and a festive atmosphere for the holidays, but the food is only eh and on my last visit (a few years ago) the service was kind of cold.