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May 7, 2009 01:51 PM

Top Craft Cocktails/Mixology in San Francisco?

I have gotten recommendations from some very trusted sources at home in Boston, but am looking for your recent, local experiences, feedback and recommendations regarding the following list of reportedly top spots for terrific cocktails in San Francisco - the mixology is the focus (my favorites include Josie/Misty/John at Drink in Boston, Death & Co. in NYC, and Murray at Zig Zag in Seattle for a reference level on the type of place I seek):

1. Heaven's Dog
2. The Alembic
3. Cantina
4. Praesidio Social Club
5. Bar R
6. Baretta

What are the not to miss and don't bother spots on this list? What's missing from the list? When are the best times to experience them? What are your favorite libations or individual mixologists at them?

We will have a car and are willing to drive for something unique and special but are really focused in the city.


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  1. Def hit The Alembic.

    Check out Bourbon and Branch, youll go apeshit.

    I like Rye, but its slightly trendy for some.

    NOPA has great drinks with some great small plates as well.

    1. Classic cocktails
      1. Bourbon and Branch
      2. Alembic

      For some interesting drinks along with good food, check out Aziza.

      1. Slanted Door and its off-shoot Heaven's Dog

        1. Another vote for Alembic. I also like Absinthe, better than Beretta.

          1. My most recent recommendations from Tamir at Slanted Door (formerly Fonda): Beretta, Heaven's Dog, & I believe he might have said Camino but it doesn't really matter because they're in Oakland. I haven't been to these places yet, but I trust the source 100%.

            Bourbon & Branch -- Cucumber Gimlet (sounds girly, but incredibly bright & balanced & clean - just beautiful), Claremont Affair, Classic Martini, and something or other that has apple and whiskey in it. Don't even think about asking for anything with vodka.

            NOPA -- I haven't been here in a year, but used to go fairly often. Pisco Sour, Elderflower Gimlet, friends often ordered the Old Cuban but I'm not a rum drinker so couldn't help you there.