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Cocktails with a view somewhere between Civic Center and the Richmond?

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Hello all! Long time reader, first time commenter.

My parents are coming to town this weekend and we're taking them to Aziza (thanks to this board's recommendations) in the Richmond for an anniversary dinner Sunday night. Problem is, our reservation isn't until 7:45pm and we're meeting them in the Civic Center/Tenderloin area at 6pm. Do you all have any recommendations for a great place to get cocktails somewhere reasonably convenient between those two locations. I'm looking for someplace with a great view and quiet ambiance.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. You can try either the Cliff House or the Beach Chalet Brewery in the Outer Richmond (although technically not between Aziza and the Tenderloin).

    2 Replies
    1. re: baron45

      Agreed not between civic center and Aziza but I think time wise it will work out and the view should still be nice at that hour, oh btw speaking of the Cliff House.

      1. re: baron45

        Also agreed on the Cliff House. It has the classic Ocean Beach/Seal Rocks location with incredible views. You will have to backtrack to Aziza (went there for the first time during the recent Dine About Town and it was fantastic!), but that should only take about 15 min.

        Parking can be challenging in that area, but Aziza has valet, so let them take care of it and enjoy your evening.

      2. The view thing you'll be a bit hard pressed for... especially if the rain sticks around. I'll idealize and recommend a pack-your-own-drinks happy hour up at Alamo Square. It also crossed my mind to recommend heading up from Civic Center to Nob Hill & the Tonga Room (inside the Fairmont), which I understand to be a pretty silly-but-good place to get a few drinks. Japantown or Polk Gulch seems like the perfect locale answers, but I don't know the areas much.
        Hope that helps a bit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CuteBanana

          The ocean and the rain=perfect. I dont know unless your parents want to brown bag it in Alamo Square.

        2. Theres hundreds, and bars are so subjective. But as far as interesting and quality drinks, I like Rye in the TL/CC. As far as amazing beers, Toronado in Lower Haight. As far as overall wine/beer/spirits, Alembic Upper Haight.

          In the Richmond, not much.

          1. Aziza has fantastic cocktails. Drive them through the Presidio for the view, but get your drinks at the bar there.

            1. You all are the best! Thank you so much for these great suggestions. I'll be sure to report back!

              The Cliff House sounds perfect. Out of curiosity, what do you think about the Top of the Mark? Is it a terrible tourist trap? Or might it be worth looking into?

              6 Replies
              1. re: 718eater

                It IS a tourist trap, but I still like it for the view/ambiance.

                1. re: 718eater

                  It's a tourist trap but not terrible by any means. The food and drinks are fine but nothing special and really expensive. The view is spectacular

                  1. re: 718eater

                    Top of the Mark is a great place to go for a drink and it's not out of the way from Civic Center to the Richmond like the Cliff House. I've never eaten there, we usually get the warm olives (very nice() and the excellent drinks. The drinks are excellent, although not as "imaginative" as people expect from a "mixologist," and the view is terrific.

                    1. re: 718eater

                      Top of the mark always has less view than I hope for - it's in the nature of the architecture - but early side you might get a view-front table. It is not touristy at all, just a different local flavor than, say, the Toranado - think swells in a dinner jacket. It is *the* Mark Hopkins hotel, an actual historic landmark, and all other "top of the Mark" with rotating bars and what have you are pale imitations. The problem is that the construction technology of the time meant pillars through the room and large windows instead of huge glass expanses we come to expect today. But it's actual historic california, and feels it. They take a certain amount of tourism in stride (one of the definitions of excellent service), but I always feel better there dressed pretty dapper.

                      I would consider the drinks above average but not top-10. Stick to simpler, classic drinks, martinis are good there. Think champagne cocktails too. The only way to even think of parking is valet.

                      Your other real option, for a view, is tracking back up to the embarcadero (or, if you're meeting, switch the meet place to the embarcadero). Slanted Door, Waterbar, Hi Dive. My dad really liked the front deck at Gordon Bierch one day, but that was '96 when the waterfront was a little cooler.

                      You should realize that by asking for "view" you're really limiting yourself - for example, you could get an early drink at Bourbon and Branch, which is on everyone's top-10, and a short hop from civic center. I would also consider Zuni, fun atmosphere, quintessentially SF, drinks, suck down an oyster. Or CAV, if it's a wine kind of thing (very intimate euro-feel, I find it very relaxing).

                      I would dis recommend Toranado with parents because it's loud. I took a parent, she loves belgian beer, but we just couldn't scream loud enough at each other. On a friday.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Agree re: Toronado. It's good for friends, but not ideal for conversation or impressing with style. Has anyone ever been to La Terrasse for drinks at the bar?

                        -----
                        La Terrasse
                        Lincoln Blvd and Graham St, San Francisco, CA 94129

                        1. re: rahir

                          Do the Cliff House for drinks you can sit either at the entry level or below. No better atmosphere than being on the ocean. I just did it yesterday and then drove over to Aziza for dinner at the bar. Its a 10 minute no hassle drive. Cliff has valet parking or you may be able to snag one of the many free spots just depends on the time of day etc.Many of the post suggesting Rye and others the only view is of the bartender who may be cute. Have fun

                    2. Thanks all! We had a truly magical night and you all played a part in it. Everyone was wowed by the spectacular views at the Cliff House. And, though it was busy, we even managed to score a table for all 6 of us without a wait. The cocktails weren't particularly noteworthy, but the view and ambiance were more important to my parents anyway.

                      As predicted, we had a great meal at Aziza. We ordered the tasting menu which was served unlike any other tasting menu I've ever had. Instead of each diner receiving identical dishes, for many of the courses we were each served different dishes. It worked well for our family--we inevitably end up sharing all our dishes wherever we eat--and a lot of plate passing was involved. It was a fun and sweet way to celebrate their anniversary.

                      Thanks again!