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Recs for bar to hang out (sit for a while) on Friday night?

For the night before our wedding reception, my husband and I would like to plant ourselves at a bar (possibly bar hop) and let our guests know that they can come by to hang out if they want. It'll be a friday night and we expect approx 8-12 people to show at any given time. We're in our 30's and looking for a place with good beer and cocktail selections. Suggestions? Please no Marina-type bars.

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  1. I'd say 15 Romolo except Friday night I'd avoid North Beach. How busy is Alembic on a Friday night?

    Another topic looking for beer and cocktails in the same place, though most of the recommendations are for places that have only one or the other:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/858073

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I love the vibe of 15 Romolo, but I also worry about the crowds in North Beach on a Friday night. We live near Alembic and I love the drinks. Do you think they'd be able to accommodate the size of our group? Thanks for the link to the post. There are some great recommendations that I'll have to look up.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        The Friday part is tough when you're meeting a group. I would go to 15 Romolo on a Friday if you're going early (as in before 6)--it gets crowded with art school students, but not until later (8 or 9). Same thing with Burritt Room--relaxing early, super crowded and hard to meet up with 12 people by 8. Alembic is quite crowded on Friday nights and very small--I'd nix it.

        If you're meeting up with people on the later side, the Financial District can actually be great--people tend to pour in and out early, so many bars that are packed with frat boy broker types at 4 are dead by 8, when everyone is moving on to their neighborhoods. I'd include Rickhouse on that list.

        I'd say potentially: Residence (near Market/Church), Hi-Lo (if you're meeting up early), Bloodhound.

        1. re: pane

          Does Taverna Aventine quiet down later in the evening?

      2. Assuming you're interested in San Francisco, take a look at the suggestions and commentary in this current thread for a start.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/858073

        1. I'd choose something off the beaten path, like the Uptown or the Rite Spot or the Attic even Doc's Clock. More upscale - Thirsty Bear, which gets loud. Any place with the best cocktails in town will be crowded and you won't be able to talk and hang out, or hear each other. Will your friends be driving (and parking)? From out of town? You'll want someplace easy to park, or do you want easy to public transit?

          Absinthe actually fits the bill pretty well. And if you're going to be there for a while you can keep noshing. They have those cafe tables in the front. I'd think about restaurants with nice lounges, because they'll be less boisterous, like Prospect, which has that nice loungy area in front.

          You've been living in SF for a few years - what are your favorite bars? Or his favorite bars? It should be some place that's personal to you. If it was me, I'd choose the rite spot because I know the owners a little and I've camped with them, it's kind of near bart, and that side of the mission has decent parking (for the mission). I'd have Anne mix endless pitchers of her Anne-hattans. It would be fun.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            I usually drink when I'm going out to eat, so I don't know many places in SF that are bar hang outs. We were thinking of doing something swank, like the Tonga Room - but we were also looking at parking ourselves at Biergarten (except they close at 9pm).

            1. re: gidget1234

              Schroeder's is a good place for a casual drop-in unless there's an event going on. They have a great selection of German beers, but I don't know how their cocktails are.

          2. I'd recommend Burritt Room. It's in a conveniently overlooked spot right across from Sutter/Stockton garage. Great cocktails (right up there w Alembic, Absinthe, etc.) plus it's one of the only places I know where you can get classic punches in an old-fashioned bowl, ideal for a group (it ignited my current obsession). I don't know if it's in the budget, but you can reserve a small section of the lounge so that your guests can't miss you. Another possibility is Bar Agricole because they have an outdoor seating area that allows for overflow (I hope with heat lamps!). My last thought is Mission Bowling Club. I'm not sure if the tables are reserved for dining only but they seemed to be first come, first served when I dropped by. My thinking is that 12 people won't want to hover in a SRO bar for long, so the possibility of seating is key.

            2 Replies
              1. re: rubadubgdub

                Rickhouse also has classic punches in an old fashioned bowl. Wouldn't suggest, however, Rickhouse for the OP, as it is rather crowded with the TGIF crowd pretty early in the night since it's in the Financial district.

              2. Sens (FiDi) might work for. Drinks are pretty good, nibbles are available and they have outdoor seating.