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Mar 18, 2013 04:16 PM

Pi Bar, Pizza in the Mission [San Francisco]

Checked out this place last week for a coworker's farewell shindig. We got there right as they opened, all 13 or so of us. We got the nice long communal table in the window. Pizzas seemed to take a while to cook, but our initial round of sausage, pepperoni, and Death by Mushroom was well received. I had the mushroom pie, which has a mushroom sauce instead of tomato, and that sauce has Death and Taxes beer in it. Thumbs up all around the table on the flavor. We ordered another veg pie after that, with roasted peppers and balsamic onions. The onions sounded like a great idea but in reality were too sweet; if they'd added salt that would've fixed it for me. The biggest problem was how wet the pepper-onion pizza was. Pi's slices are all NY style: enormous, thin crust, and wet enough that the tips tend to droop and drip so the slices are best folded to be eaten. But that second veggie pie was way (way) too oily, forming puddles on our plates. I didn't try the sausage or pepperoni pizzas, but I heard they were pretty good.

This older thread specifically talks about the pizza not being wet at Pi, so maybe they had an off day:

I liked the interior, all dark wood but with lots of light from the front window, and an open kitchen along one wall as you head back to the restrooms. I particularly liked the small motorcycle tank mounted on a post out front being used as an ashtray.

This would not be a destination pizza spot for me, but for those in the neighborhood I bet it's a popular spot. Perhaps everything you need to know is right in the name: It's really a bar with good pizza, not a pizza place with a good bar. (Though I can't speak for the bar one way or the other--I don't drink.) I do appreciate the fact that their prices are still $3.14 per slice four years after opening. Guess when you name your bar after a mathematical ratio, you're kinda stuck.
Pi Bar
1432 Valencia, 415.970.9670

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  1. You had a big group, did you order 21" instead of 15"? The bigger the pie, the less chance of the center not being soggy.

    1. I was there as well. I didn't try the mushroom pie sadly, but I did have the pepper and onion. Agree that it was too soggy. All of the pizzas we had were the large 21"

      I personally love sweet onions on pizza (they were advertised as such, too), so I didn't think that was a problem at all. But it was too moist.

      Pepperoni pizza and sausage pizza were both good, and didn't have the sogginess problem.

      The crust here is only OK, which is the main reason it won't be a destination place for me either. But I liked the overall vibe and it was a great place for a happy hour celebration!

      1. Pretty sad pizza overall. I had a slice of the mushroom (nice duxelles, and I liked the idea of the beer in the sauce, though I couldn't say I was able to taste it). Also had a slice of pepperoni which was only a bit better than institutional. It's the crust that made the pizzas bad: sort of dead, leaden, virtually no chewiness (maybe the dough rose too much, and didn't have much lift in the oven?). There was so much anticipation about this place in 2009, before it opened. And while the beer program is probably up to the original hopes for this place (I'm not qualified to weigh in about that), the pizza, based on the two slices I ate last week, is no reason to go. Still, Pi Bar is a bit of Mission realness, a whiff of the neighborhood's blue-collar past, now vanished from the heart of Valencia Street. If the price of that is some cruddy pizza, hey, maybe that's okay.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jbirdsall

          $3-5 to add Nueske's bacon to your pizza, $4 root beer, and 30 beers that cost over $10 a bottle is blue-collar realness?

        2. Yes, it's a bar with pizza. And the way to go is slices, which are always crisp.

          It's definitely not Pizzeria Delfina, where I'd go if I wanted a great pie; on the other hand, it's open late and always low key.

          For a neighborhood bar that specializes in beer, they have better than average wines by the glass.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Windy

            Nothing special, but conveniently located for me and easy to grab a slice or two to take home.
            The meat ball was actually better than I expected and not soggy at all.

            1. re: Windy

              Another "bar with pizza" is the Jay n' Bee Club. We keep meaning to try their pizza, but haven't. We saw some on a recent visit and it looked delicious. Anyone tried it?

              1. re: srr

                I like Jay N Bee's pizza quite a bit. i think it's whole pies only. Thanks for the reminder. The wine is old school jug Chianti. And it's cash only. But not expensive, and I love those front windows.

                The guy next to us at Pi last week was eating a pretty good looking lasagna.

            2. i'm in the neighborhood, and after a couple tries we never went back. we find their sauce flavorless.