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great sf spots for great drinks

traveling to san fran in july and am looking for recos of bars/restaurants to get late afternoon/early dinner drinks. open to cocktails and beer/breweries. already have tonga room on my list--any other recos welcome and greatly appreciated!

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  1. Here is a past thread that should be helpful:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343107/

    Here is a past thread on brew pubs:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/874510

    Don't forget there is a Search feature you can use in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

    1 Reply
    1. Love the drinks at Aziza. Rickshaw stop actually has really good drinks, too.

      1 Reply
      1. Tonga is overrated, IMO, but worth it for the atmosphere. Tradition in the Tenderloin is excellent - make a reservation.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Josh

          thanks for the reco! heard that about tonga before, we just happen to have free drink tickets

          1. re: Jpaige5

            Free drink tickets would eliminate the one problem with the Tonga Room, which is that to enjoy the goofy show you have to spend money on so-so drinks.

            Afterward you might walk down the hill to Comstock Saloon and/or 15 Romolo.

          2. re: Josh

            I had a horrible experience at Tradition service wise for what it's worth. I rarely rant but I think our experience there deserves it. It was our first time there for a birthday party reservation but we were early. The following occurred:

            1. We arrived and I tried to catch the eye of a bartender at one corner of the bar for about 10 to 15 minutes with a group of people. During this time, people who came after me to my same little corner were served before me. I have actually never had this happen before. I've never had someone deliberately pass me over, twice.

            2. After giving up getting a drink that way, we sat at the otherside of the bar hoping to catch a different bartender's eye. Another 10 minutes go by, no one acknowledges us. The manager finally stops by and mentions that that side of the bar is reserved (note there is no sign or anything indicating this) and that's why the bartender is ignoring us (NOTE NOT explaining the system just ignoring us). We told the manager politely that we were lost and confused by their system and were here for a birthday reservation. He told us we needed to go wait somewhere else.

            3. Once the rest arrived, we sat down at a corner booth. The drinks were fine, but service was uber slow. When we went at least, they didn't have enough bartenders to handle lots of table orders + bar orders at the same time. Part of this problem is they store all the alcohol high up, and the bartenders have to keep climbing up and down these ladders to grab the alcohol for each drink.

            4. Will never go back. Infinitely prefer Rickhouse etc. Also note they only serve American liquors here.

            1. re: goldangl95

              I found Tradition lacking in professionalism as well, but mainly in the case of the proportions of their liquor to juice ratios. Drinks seemed to be missing ingredients, and there wasn't the kind of care you need for a menu like that.

              When you enter, they ask if you have a reservation, and should have directed you appropriately. When I went for happy hour the bar was empty, aside from some handy man types (work clothes covered in paint) drinking beers, and random guys in Giants hoodies kind of loitering. Then as the bar filled up, there was general confusion, and like you described, a lot more ladder climbing. Happy Hour pricing was a dollar off, and appeared up to the bartenders discretion.

              Friends I trust have loved their drinks at Tradition, but I have no urgency to go back. The best thing here are the private rooms, which is something SF can use more of.

          3. We recently discovered inventive & elegant cocktails at Range. Very convenient if you are going to have dinner afterwards in the Mission.
            http://www.rangesf.com/cocktails.html

            Other restaurants with great cocktails: Gitane, Beretta, Cotogna & Zero Zero with latter two open in the afternoon as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ceekskat

              Another good Mission spot for cocktails is Dosa.

              Alembic in the Haight is good, too.

            2. Blackbird in the Castro: http://www.blackbirdbar.com/blackbird...

              Royal Cuckoo in Mission/Bernal/Noe: http://royalcuckoo.com/

              I also second the recommendations for Comstock Saloon and Zero Zero.

              Are there any types of cocktails you are particularly interested in? Fruity? Original? Classics?