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suggestions for group dinner or drinks/appy near Moscone Center

Hi there! First off, I have to thanks this board for the fantastic eating I did based on suggestions here for a trip I did a couple years ago. Favourites included Incanto, Delfina, Swan's for oysters, Bar Tartine (and bakery), Myth, and (especially) Chez Panisse.

I will be back soon for a conference and am looking for places to have a couple group (~15ppl) events - either dinner or drinks with appies. Ideally the location would be walking distance from the Moscone Center, and be moderately priced (entrees within $20). The group ranges from about mid-20s to mid-30s, so probably somewhere more casual and fun. I had been thinking about Myth, but have found out they're closed. Aziza sounded interesting but is a bit far.

I'd love your suggestions. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Annabelle's, across the street from Moscone, is a comfortable place, well suited to groups and has good, it not great food in your price range.

    Annabelle's Bar & Bistro
    68 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

    1. Thirsty Bear is a brew pub with good tapas -- you can just have them for snacks, or you can make a meal out of them. The atmosphere is definitely fun and casual, and it's just a couple of blocks from Moscone.

      Thirsty Bear Brewing Co
      661 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105

      1. Anyone been to Orson these days? That would be a great choice.

        Orson Restaurant
        508 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

        1. I like Ducca - the apps are great for sharing and if the weather is nice they have a great outdoor area. Large wine and spirits list.

          50 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

          1. I second both the Annabelle and Thirsty Bear recs, with the caveat that TB is very noisy/has a higher "hip" factor. Annabelles is more of a white-tablecloth restaurant than TB. If you want fun, then choose TB over Annabelles.

            1. Restaurant Lulu on Folsom. Great food, and the manager was helpful when I was considering doing same thing.


              They have some tables that would work in the main part of restaurant, and also smaller areas for semi private and private functions.


              1. Thanks for the suggestions so far! Thirsty Bear looks like a possibility if we're leaning more towards drinks. I like the look of Orson's atmosphere.

                Have been doing some more reading on your boards... would you recommend these places for what I'm looking for?
                Bocadillos (My favourite so far... but no reservations. How hard is it to get into on a weeknight?)
                CoCo 500
                Osha Thai
                Salt House

                Also, I'm curious... is Supperclub any good for food? It looks a bit gimmicky at first glance.

                5 Replies
                1. re: twinkienic

                  Supper club for a group of 15? There's be an odd man (or woman out)....

                  1. re: twinkienic

                    Coco500 is the reworking of my favorite restaurant, Bizou. The only thing is that for 15 that would probably involve tables pushed together along one wall.

                    1. re: twinkienic

                      I think Kokkari is more expensive than you're looking for. The food a Thirsty Bear is really pretty good and it's not just apps.

                      1. re: twinkienic

                        I've never noticed many people at all in Bocadillos. But it's a pretty fair hike from Moscone and in a dismal little nowhere zone.

                        Osha Thai in the Embarcadero Center is an interesting possibility. It's your pretty standard selection of easy-to-understand, sweetish Thai food and elaborate mixed drinks with goofy names. I've been dragged there two or three times and wanted to hate it. But here's the thing -- it's actually pretty good. Maybe it's just the tequila/cointreau/beer drink talking (a "golden triangle" I think they call it) but the food's tasty, the scene is pretty lively, and the goofy-named drinks are nice and big. On weekends I've seen some pretty big groups in there. And you're right there for a walk along the waterfront.

                        You might also look into the Slanted Door which has been discussed to death here. Especially if you're all from out of town. It's in an awfully great location.

                        Plouf would definitely work though I have no idea what to eat there except mussels. If it's a warm evening and you sit outside. I like it because it's like eating dinner in Belgium. I don't know if feeling like eating in Belgium is something a visitor to SF is going to want?

                        I had one of the most expensive meals of my life at Kokkari and I wasn't even trying.

                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                          Slanted Door is an interesting idea... I ate there 2 years ago. Food was good, though a bit pricey... but the space is really nice and the view is great. Definitely would be good as we're all from Canada and I don't think many have eaten there.

                      2. You might be able to get 15 into Oola, along the back wall. That is a cool restaurant, especially for out of towners. The waiters are fantastic and the food is pretty good. Great mac and cheese BTW.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: LPCagain

                          Oola looks promising. What makes it particularly good for out of towners, LPCagain?

                          1. re: twinkienic

                            It is the restaurant where the food workers go late at night. It has a laid back we are really hip but want to give you good service vibe. The waiter we like is named Tom. He is French, shaves his head, and has a lot of tattoos. So it's clearly an SF kind of place. The food is Californian, i.e. simple ingredients and comfort food done modern and light. Except for the mac and cheese of course:). Vegetarians can eat. The drinks are good. So is the wine list. You would feel like you are eating some place that the locals go vs. tourists.

                            What it isn't is raucous. Music is kind of Eurosynth in the background. It's not hushed, just the kind of place where people do actually talk to eachother. If you wanted then to go somewhere bigger I would head up to the St. Regis bar. That is one of the nicest bar spaces I have ever seen, tends to get quite crowded on the weekends, and the crowd is richer, more socialites, etc. Kind of fun to go with out of towners and take a gander at the SF socialites such as they are. We are of course amateurs in that dept. compared to Chicago, LA, New York, etc.