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Drinks and light appetizers for girls' night out

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My sister and I are planning a girls' night out in the city as part of my belated birthday celebration. We would like to dress up, eat light and drink lots!

We would like to have drinks (wine and/or nice cocktails) and some light appetizers (cheeses, charcouterie, small bites, that sort of thing). Figure since it was just us girls that we don't want to eat anything too filling (and conserve some calories for the drinks!).

We are both in our early thirties and would prefer to go somewhere that's fun and happening, but also classy and chic, where we wouldn't feel overdressed in our little black dresses. Would like to avoid places that are 20-something meat markets (we're both married and not looking), as well as overly formal/stuffy places where the typical customer is over 50.

We are thinking about starting out at the Ritz Bar to sample some of Ron Siegel's signature dishes (without having to get/pay for the full tasting menu), then perhaps go to Top of the Mark to enjoy the view/ambience with some more drinks (and perhaps more snacks). Any other suggestions on where we can enjoy great food, great wine/cocktails, and a fun girls' night overall?

Thanks and really appreciate any help/suggestions you may have.

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Top of the Mark
Number One Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108

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  1. I would also suggest Gitane - not formal/stuffy, great food (some appetizer / small plate sized food), really good cocktails (and very pretty), it's pretty happening (packed). I would definitely want to take my sister there. While I've been there quite a number of times, everytime has been special.

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    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1 Reply
    1. re: chocomel

      Second on Gitane, the only caveat being that it can get fairly crowded even on week nights. They open at 5:30 and if you want to be guaranteed a seat you should be there by 6. Otherwise it becomes a little hit or miss. But the bartenders are really knowledgeable and fun to chat with about all their amazing drinks. I agree with chocomel that every time I've been has been special, whether alone, with guys, or with girls. Also, food here is delish but can get quite $$.

      Cav is a wine bar with more seating and a lot of great salumi and cheese options.

      Top of the Mark is on my list of places to go (I've only been during the day), but seems a little stuffy with definitely an older crowd. Also, if it's a particularly foggy night you won't get the full experience. The view is definitely the reason to go there.

      La Mar has a great happy hour for pisco sours and ceviches, as does Pisco Latin Lounge. Both should fit your criteria, though the food will be more Latin/seafood, not so much cheese/salami.

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      Top of the Mark
      Number One Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108

      Gitane Restaurant & Bar
      6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

      Pisco Latin Lounge
      1817 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    2. Classy - that lets out Asia SF ;) but that is definitely not a meat market for the ladies.

      I hear good things about the Starlight Lounge too.

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      Asia SF
      201 Ninth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

      2 Replies
      1. re: myst

        La Folie Lounge, perhaps?

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        La Folie
        2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

        1. re: tvham

          Jardinere's Bar? The food has had some downhill reports, but I've always liked the bar. Classy.

          If they closed Michael Minna, what's up with the Clock Bar? I can only imagine it's open but not with MM seal of approval.

          CAV is much cooler, but you can hear yourself. Tends to be more hipsters in jeans than LBD, just because the price is good and the food is good. I don't think the atmosphere will work for you.

          What about COI lounge? Haven't been, might suit.

          Salt House is about the right vibe, your part of town, oysters and snacks at the bar, solid drink selection. Since it's a restaurant not a club, I haven't seen a meat market effect.

          Boulevard is a little too loud and a little too staid.

          What about Range? Do they have a decent bar?

          Absinthe is a decent choice. Food not in the same category as above, slightly less classy, but still solid. Near Jardinere, if you end up not liking one or the other.

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          Coi
          373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

      2. If you don't mind places that may have live music, you could consider Bix or Le Colonial. (The latter might be less than ideal on a Friday or Saturday.)

        1. I was just at Bar Agricole and think it might fit the bill. They don't have charcuterie but they do have a cheese plate and the cocktails are outstanding!

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          Bar Agricole
          355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

          2 Replies
          1. re: Missmoo

            Oooh, this definitely looks intriguing!

            We might just pick one of Ritz/TofTM since those cater to older crowds, and maybe check this place out before or after.

            1. re: Missmoo

              Second Bar Agricole, just had a girls night here last night and it was one of the best dining experiences I've had in awhile. I recommend the Tequila Daisy, the chicken liver toast and the corn pudding.

            2. another suggestion is rn74. half the restaurant is a bar lounge area where you can have drinks and order appetizers. it's a good place for groups since there are group seating areas and not just a bar. it's lively and more of a 30 something crowd, at least the time i went.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lucymom

                Ooh, now I'm tempted by that one too! Their cheese menu looks great! Choices, choices...

              2. great suggestions from the group. wayfare tavern is hopping these days but might be a bit packed.

                Seasons at the Four Seasons has a cool bar/lounge for later in the evening - it is mellow but I like the vibe and i also like the piano guy playing covers of Metallica and Van Halen on a classy piano.

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                Four Seasons Restaurant
                1163 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129

                1. Just reporting back to the thread...many thanks to everyone who made suggestions, we wound up ditching our original plan and going with your recommendations and had a great time!

                  We started out at RN74. I gotta say if we were looking for a "hip" atmosphere, this was definitely the place to see and be seen. We had lots of fun people-watching, though it did seem a little to scene-y at times. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed our food and wines. We started out with oysters, which were very fresh and yummy. We then moved on to the cheese plate, which was actually a decent value since they gave us some pretty decent portions. I was expecting to order more appetizers but there was a bunch of cheese that we didn't need to. At least we saved a bunch on the food, which was good since the wines were a bit on the high side ($9 for a taste!). We did kind of expect it for this type of place, but I do still wish they had more wines that were reasonably priced. I did love the Burgundys that I sampled, and the server had good recommendations.

                  We then moved on to Bar Agricole, for more food and some cocktails. This place was definitely a lot more laidback, and a lot cheaper so we were able to order more stuff. Loved their squash fritters, roasted peppers, and corn pudding. They even gave me a free slice of cake with a candle for my birthday! The cocktails were great and very well-made. We would definitely come back to this place (maybe bring the hubbies next time) and highly recommend it to everyone. Thanks so much Chowhounders for this fabulous find!

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                  RN74
                  301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                  Bar Agricole
                  355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103