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BF moving to SF! Need ideas for welcome party--help!

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Hi CH friends,

My boyfriend is making the big move from SD to SF in a couple weeks. I want to welcome him with a fabulous and fun night out in SF! BUT I'm torn between doing something classy and traditional (like drinks at the Top of the Mark, then a nice dinner at HOPR) or going modern, trendy and a bit more casual. We're in our early 30s and will be about 6 people or so. I'm looking for drinks, then dinner combos that evoke a real SF feel. I'd love a little inspiration so if you have any ideas, I'd really appreciate it! TIA!

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

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  1. i would say Foreign Cinema might fit your bill - not a classic but not uber-trendy - somewhere in the middle, with a definite SF vibe, nice but casual. make sure you sit outside - great, festive atmosphere if the weather holds.

    sorry, but what is HOPR?

    also, tho i am apparently the ONLY person in SF who did not love their food, Commonwealth - it sounds like the right vibe for you and your friends - modern, trendy, but not obnoxiously so - just hugely popular and brought to you by the guys who did the hugely popular, hip, pop-up Mission Street Food.

    Foreign Cinema
    2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

    1 Reply
    1. re: mariacarmen

      House of prime rib hopr
      How about drinks at beretta
      Dinner at 25 lusk and more hanging out there
      Sf vibe is quite variable -- which neighborhood are you going for?

    2. Nihon Whiskey Lounge has a modern loungy feel, sakes and a good bar and small plate japanese. I've had a brithday party and spent two New Years Eve's there.

      1. Have you been to the Top of the Mark? If it has some sentimental value, that's one thing. And the view can't be beat. But my experience is that the drinks are overpriced and not very good.

        Roll down the hill to Bourbon and Branch (reservation required), or head out to Alembic in the Haight for cocktails that are absolutely outstanding. Beretta's another good choice. If you want something more upscale, there's always The Clock Bar in the St. Francis.

        As far as dinner goes, the options are nearly limitless. HOPR has its proponents, and it is truly old-school SF, but there are plenty of other choices. I'd narrow it down by selecting the neighborhood for cocktails and go from there (or come back here).

        House of Prime Rib
        1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

        1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

        Bourbon & Branch
        501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

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

        1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Clock Bar
        335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA

        1. Do modern and trendy 100%. Unless you're both in your 60's or something.
          Have drinks somewhere in the mission, like Cassanova or Doc's Clock or if they like beer Pi Bar or
          Then a great dinner, like La Ciccia, or Frances, or Maverick, or Commonwealth, or canteen, there's a million great choices
          Shift to somewhere for desert and closing drinks. Just about all those places have good deserts. Foreign cinema would be on that list too. I'd even consider Luna Park, they have chocolate martinis and tabletop s'mores
          Modify list based on price - but you should hit three places and really make a night of it.
          I would save bourbon and branch for another night, since you have to make reservations, unless that's the certain way to get them out of the house

          La Ciccia
          291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

          Luna Park
          694 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110

          Doc's Clock
          2575 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. I love Bar Crudo on Divisadero at Grove (I think). Parking can be difficult but, IMO, well worth it. Great vibe, great food, plenty of choices for wine and beer. We had a party of six (our 30ish y.o. "kids" with spouses and us old coots) and had a great time sharing food. Here's the link:


            Bar Crudo
            655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

            4 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              House of Shields, the bar, just reopened. It's a bit of a scene, crowded (cheek-to-jowl crowded) and noisy. Lots of history. I like it. Maybe the opposite of Top of the Mark. I'd head to Bar Crudo before HOPR but that's just me. Maybe consider A16 out in the Marina or a killer meal at Quince.

              So many options.

              2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

              Bar Crudo
              655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

              1. re: steve h.

                Bob kinda-sorta remembers House of Shields. It rings NO bells with me. But I looked at their site and love the sign :) Neon in SF seems to indicate a 'dive bar' which is our first dance :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  It's a goofy place with a ton of history. Shields was the name of the Impresario. Rumor has it there's a secret tunnel running under the street to the Palace Hotel but I've never seen it. The tunnel was a Prohibition-Era thing according to legend. Deb and I just happened to be there the night they reopened under new management. I ordered a martini. It was good.

                  Palace Hotel
                  2 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

              2. re: c oliver

                +1 for Bar Crudo

                Bar Crudo
                655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117