Drinks before Benu? [San Francisco]
We ended parking twice so that we could go to the newly expanded City Beer. The space is great -- nice division between the bar and the bottle section so that you don't have to ask people to move to scan the shelves and make selections. More taps and a nice long bar. They still had some of their anniversary beers available.
Other bars within 2-3 blocks:
Pied Piper (Palace Hotel, Market @ New Montgomery). This is an historic bar in SF, features
a mural by Maxfield Parrish. You may be joining a lot of tourists here, but it makes for positive energy. We had a drink here before our Benu dinner, and I can tell you the walk to the restaurant takes about 5 minutes (in heels).
House of Shields (across the street from the Palace on New Montgomery). Also historic (opened in 1908), was recently restored and has a breathtaking interior featuring wood carvings, paneling and an intricate chandelier. Likely to be a bit more loud than these other options, but the drinks are good.
Bar at the St. Regis Hotel (3rd @ Minna). Probably obviously the most posh/quiet option, and the most consistent the vibe you'll get at Benu (although not identical). If you're more likely to want wine than a cocktail, this may offer the best selection.
Enjoy your evening!
Pied Piper Bar
Market New Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94102
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103