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Jan 20, 2014 07:58 AM

Monday Night Dinner for One - Bar Seating or Raw Bar

I'm alone in SF before my flight after a weekend in Napa. I'm looking for a nice bar with good food & people-watching. Any suggestions?

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  1. Incanto, Perbacco, Barbacco, A16, Wayfare

    11 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Good list
      Zero Zero
      Central Kitchen (if on that side of town)
      Boulevard (the actual bar, not the bar seats at the kitchen)

      don't do RN74, Waterbar, Quiver Bar (food issues)

      1. re: bbulkow


        The oysters at the stunning, half-moon pewter bar at Waterbar are shucked in front of you. The quality is quite good. The rest of the raw bar is pretty good, too. The drinks are strong, the people watching good and the views out to the Bay are decent.

        Quiver Bar, upstairs at Epic Roasthouse, has great views of the Bay, strong drinks and access to the full meat-centric menu.

        RN74, at the bar, is all about the wine and small plates. Maybe the best escargot in town.

        I like Boulevard. It's comfortable shoes for me.

        1. re: steve h.

          Different strokes for sure.

          I tried the small plates and wine at RN74. I thought the people watching was blah marketing people, wine selection was ho hum.

          Boulevard was my favorite in the 90's. I revisit every few years, it's never good enough to re-recommend. Like Prospect, only went their once (same owners, right).

          I left out Commonweath. A bit out of the way, but nice bar, exceptional food.

          1. re: bbulkow

            Re: Boulevard. Same owners to the best of my knowledge. I like the food, the service and the vibe. I don't think of it as a destination place. Rather, I think of it as a neighborhood joint. It's been around for awhile but its chops are still strong. It would be sorely missed if it were gone.

            RN74, at the bar, is full of suits early evening and that's a simple fact. However, the French wines appeal to me as do the small plates. I've had fun there playing with the arrivals/departures clicker. Give it a few more shots later in the evening and report back.

            1. re: steve h.

              I suspect we just have different tastes in places. All of your suggestions are "of a piece" to me - typical of the well designed FiDi places. You like 'em, I'm not that excited (but spend some meals grazing). Nuff said.

              I did suggest Boulevard for the OP - it's enough of a classic and the people watching has always been good.

              1. re: steve h.

                Boulevard as a neighborhood joint as opposed to a destination restaurant? You've got to be freaking kidding me. I used to live across the street from Boulevard for like 15 years and did a fairly significant amount of hanging out with my neighbors from what used to be the only residential complex nearby. Where would we hang out? Mainly Cosmo (now closed), maybe Ozumo, Perry's once it opened, or possibly Chaya or Shanghai 1930 (closed). I would go to Boulevard occasionally, but I would never expect to encounter any of my neighbors there. The place is operated with a degree of precision that you typically don't find in a neighborhood restaurant. Nothing wrong with that, but it takes away a little bit of charm. Over the years, I've gotten to know a whole lot of employees there, and they are all no-nonsense serious professionals that will make for a perfect dining experience but also make the place lack quirks.

                Note that a place can both attract a neighborhood crowd and be a destination restaurant, which is the case with Prospect. If you go there, you will see a mixture of regulars from the 650-unit condo complex above it who might likely know each other, the after-work crowd, and the destination-restaurant crowd.

            2. re: steve h.

              Can you see the Bay Lights from the bar at Waterbar or Epic?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                By Bay Lights are you referring to the lights on the bridge?

                You can see the bridge and the lights from Quiver Bar if you step out on the terrace. You can see the lights from Water Bar, at the bar, if you sit at the same side where you can see the hallmark. The lights are an easy shot if you are on the patios at either joint.

                1. re: steve h.

                  The Bay Lights are a computer-controlled art installation on the north side of the west span of the Bay Bridge.


        2. RN74
          Cotogna (at the bar)
          Quiver Bar at Epic Roasthouse
          Zuni Cafe

          2 Replies
          1. I'm at Maven on a friend's recommendation. Good start so far.