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Watching the sunset over the water in the SF Bay Area

I just moved back to the Bay Area after 8 years away. I'm desperate to find a nice bar or restaurant where I can sit outside and watch the sun set over the water. All 3 characteristics must be met. I don't want to sit inside, I'm not excited about facing east over the bay, and I'm not excited about watching the sun set over land. There must be a place in the bay area where I can do this. Like this picture.

I love a place in LA like this (Moonshadows), I love a place in Seattle like this (Ray's), I love a place in New York like this (Boat Basin).

I refuse to accept that such a place doesn't exist in the Bay Area. I don't care if I have to drive 30 minutes or more to it. Stinson? Half Moon Bay? Alameda? Point Richmond? Berkeley?


Thank you.

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  1. howdy,

    I like the Moss Beach Distillery.

    Moss Beach Distillery Restaurant
    140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, CA 94038

    1 Reply
    1. re: poutyhoney

      I'm not a fan. Sitting on broken plastic chairs drinking beer out of plastic cups is not my idea of a good time, although the view is good.

      For equally overpriced beverages, I'd go to the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. It's a great setting looking directly out over the ocean, and a much more civilized experienced.

    2. The Claremont Hotel in Berkeley has beautiful views. The Golden Gate Bridge might be in the picture of your sunset, but things could be worse. The fog could be an issue, but this time of year (normal years anyways) is usually less foggy. They have a couple of dining options, and I believe there is outdoor seating available.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pcdarnell

        Sitting on the deck at the Paragon at sunset is really beautiful.

        1. re: pcdarnell

          The Claremont's a good suggestion: even if the coast is fogged in, you'll have a good view. But it still might be 65 degrees with a stiff breeze.

        2. La Costanera.

          La Costanera
          8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

          7 Replies
          1. re: SteveG

            Cliff House if its not foggy...but a view of foggy seal rock has a certain SF charm.

            1. re: OldTimer

              Do they have an outdoor patio now?
              Does Dillon Beach Cafe have any land between it and Asia?

              1. re: wolfe

                Dillon Beach has a spectacular view of Point Reyes, which sometimes provides protection from fog and wind:


            2. re: SteveG

              I suppose I should flesh this out. La Costanera is a peruvian restaurant that sits right behind a seawall right in the middle of a big long beach, facing out at the wide open ocean. They have seating on an outdoor patio with heat lamps and a gas fireplace, a downstairs bar seating area, and a large upstairs dining room where the ocean-facing wall is entirely glass. It seems like exactly what the original poster was looking for--a real restaurant, with outdoor seating, directly on the ocean, with unobstructed views. It's about 30 or 45 minutes from the city, but the drive is a very pretty coastal drive for most of it.

              Best of all, in my book, is I would go to this restaurant for the food even if it didn't have a pretty spectacular location. The prices are slightly higher than they might be if it didn't have the view, but I don't mind the slight premium.

              Here's the web site, with photos and the menu:

              La Costanera
              8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

              1. re: SteveG

                I absolutely agree with this recommendation. Much better food than the Paragon, and right on the beach, whereas at Paragon you are looking at the sunset from a great distance, and with the City (and Oakland!) in between you and the sunset. I don't think the Paragon is what the OP is looking for!

                IMO, both food and service (and great drinks) are better at La Costanera then at Sam's, though it is more expensive. Check out their happy hour food and drink specials though (which probably time well with sunset as the days get shorter).

                La Costanera
                8150 Cabrillo Highway, Montara, CA 94037

                1. re: susancinsf

                  "you are looking at the sunset from a great distance,"
                  93,000,000 miles plus or minus a million or so.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    You are looking at the sunset, not the sun. Depending on your elevation, the sunset is much, much closer.

            3. This is an interesting request. I was going to say Skate's in berkeley but there's no outdoor seating. There are a couple of places in Tiburon that have nice outdoor seats but the headlands blocks the sunset most of the year. Beach Chalet - no outdoor seating. Marshal Store near Pt Reyes has seating in the right direction, but the Pt Reyes mountains provide a limited sunset. Jack london square - just looking out on a canal.

              The recs I think meet the specs - I think you're down to Claremont, Ritz @ HMB, Moss Beach. I really can't think of another. Much is down to the peculiarity of the bay area - most civilization is around the bay, not the ocean, and the areas with real ocean views have a lot of protected waterfront & cliffs & lousy, foggy weather at the coast.

              BYO tallboys & chairs to the parking lot on the great highway; surprisingly good.

              (I notice your seattle place is actually inland and just happens to have enough open water).

              2 Replies
              1. re: bbulkow

                I agree, with BYO to ocean beach on the great highway.
                Warning, bring at least a sweatshirt. Ocean Beach is a uniquely SF beach. Everyone is bundled up on the sand.
                I don't know the rules, but people have bonfires and bbqs on the sand there. I think there are even some big metal firepits set up.

                So I'd get some charcoal and pick up grillables at the embarcadero (golden gate meats) and have me a BBQ.

                Another cool spot for just BYO drinks might be the top of Grand View Park. (or is it Golden Gates Heigh Park, or both that have those spectacular views?)

                1. re: pauliface

                  "there are a limited number of fire rings on Ocean Beach. Fires are ONLY allowed inside these approved fire rings, and are on a first-come, first-served basis." from http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/...

              2. Sam's has the outdoor view of the sunset thing down. I have limited experience with the food there, but they have the sunset views you're looking for.

                Sam's Chowder House
                4210 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                1 Reply
                1. re: BernalKC

                  Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay for sure!
                  The only bummer is that they do not take reservations for the outside area, and it's often very crowded.
                  Good food - delicious lobster rolls, fantastic grilled mahi sandwich.

                  Sam's Chowder House
                  4210 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

                2. River's End in Jenner on a clear day. Further than a half hour but great sunsets.

                  River's End
                  11048 Highway 1, Jenner, CA 95450

                  1. Sam's and Guaymas in Tiburon look south to a distant view of SF. They both have decks.

                    Guaymas Restaurant
                    5 Main Street, Tiburon, CA 94920

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sharuf

                      Yes, but you can't watch the sun set over water from Tiburon.

                    2. "I love a place in New York like this (Boat Basin). I'm not excited about watching the sun set over land"
                      Just one question, isn't there a significant landmass between the Boat Basin and the setting sun like the rest of the United States?
                      Give me a break, the sun is setting over North Bergen/ Union City New Jersey.