Each month we can’t wait to tell you about our favorite new SF bars, taprooms, and restaurants, where you can eat, drink, and celebrate the fact that you live in the best city on earth. And this month is a really good one. If you like things like stunning views, free bowling, beer gardens, and all around good food, good cocktails, and general happiness, then we guarantee you’re going to love every single spot on this list. But don’t take our word for it… Go and find out for yourself!
Mezcalito, a mezcal bar with an Oaxcan-influnced menu, just opened up in the old Reverb Kitchen & Bar space and even though we’ll miss those warm, flaky donuts (RIP), we definitely dig what this new watering hole is bringing to the neighborhood. The highlight is—not surprisingly—the hand-crafted cocktails, which are thoughtful, flavorful, and also super pretty. Not a mezcal fan? No worries. There are plenty of other options, though you might be surprised to find you like it more than you thought, especially if you order the Xoconostle Bramble (mezcal, St. Germain, Xoconostle shrub, and lime juice) or the Colibri (union mezcal, aperol, ginger liqueur, lime juice, bitters).
You’re going to need some food with those cocktails, and Mezcalito’s chef delivers super tasty dishes that pair perfectly with the drinks. Choose from a mix of small plates, like an octopus tostada and mashed avocado with queso fresco and yellow corn chips, or heartier options like pork belly tacos, a lobster roll on brioche, and a gouda burger that’s getting a lot of positive reviews from customers. If you’re a taco fan (which, um, who isn’t?) go to Mezcalito on Taco Tuesday when the entire menu switches to tacos, tacos, and more tacos. We normally go for tacos with meat and fish, but the mushroom taco is legit and not to be missed. And you were definitely going to get chips and guacamole no matter what, but we’re huge fans of this version that is somehow both light and filling all at the same time… and of course, super delicious.
The vibe inside the casual restaurant is warm with lots of wood accents; there are high tops along the wall, a couple of communal tables, and ample seating at the bar, which is the place to sit, especially if you want to catch the game. Oh, and though it appears there is just one restroom downstairs, if you head up those stairs at the back of the room, there are a couple more. You’re welcome.
On the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square is your new favorite spot to take out-of-town visitors and maybe even first dates… as long as those visitors and dates aren’t afraid of heights, that is. The newly re-opened Cityscape Lounge has undoubtedly the best views of any bar in San Francisco. Like, they’re so breathtaking that you may have vertigo for a minute when you walk inside. Depending on where you’re standing, you can look out of the 14-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and see the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the TransAmerica building, AT&T Park, a container ship working its way across the Bay, the Marin Headlands… basically complete 360 degree views of our gorgeous city and beyond.
Of course, spectacular views are great and all, but this spot would be a one-and-done kind of visit if not for the awesome cocktails, all of which are named after San Francisco neighborhoods, and the thoughtful small plates. We don’t want to tell you what to do, but you should definitely order the Nob Hill Manhattan, the Kennebec potato crisps with black garlic-charred scallion aioli, and the chilled prawns with a “cioppino” cocktail sauce. The cocktails definitely have hotel prices ($16-$19), but there are plenty of $12-14 wines by the glass and the beers are mostly $8-10, all of which feel like quite a bargain when you realize you’re on top of the very best place in the whole wide world.
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO
It takes a lot to get us to leave the comfy confines of the 7×7, so you know there must be something pretty cool about Foundry & Lux if it made this list. It’s actually not just one thing though. It’s the fact that this restaurant complex has two bowling lanes, a pool table, bocce ball, ping pong, horseshoes, a basketball court, a volleyball court, AND outdoor fireplace seating. Oh, and also local wines, craft beers, and lots of tasty food, like wood-fired pizzas, sushi, and a build-your-own pho bar. And while you’ll have to pay for all of that tasty food and drink, the amenities (yes, even including the bowling) are all FREE. Which suddenly makes the $15 Uber ride from SF seem like kind of a bargain.
The space is huge—it’s divided into a café, a main dining area, a bar and lounge, as well as an outdoor patio—which makes it the perfect place to go with a group or just a good old-fashioned date, if that’s a thing that happens in your life.
Foundry & Lux officially opens September 30, starting with lunch; the bar should follow within a couple of days. Also, right now it’s only open Monday through Friday, but that will also change soon. Check the website for official hours and all of that good stuff.
If you take your beer seriously, then you need to get your butt to Old Devil Moon immediately. The occult-themed bar (yes, you read that right) has three Certified Cicerones behind the bar, a custom-built draft system with 19 flow-controlled Perlick beer faucets, and a beer engine for cask ale. That means you can choose from 20 rotating craft beers (right now there are options from Almanac, Craftsman, Drake’s, and a ton of others), but you aren’t “stuck” with just beer because Old Devil Moon also has a full bar with a cocktail list that focuses on whiskey and rum.
The vibe of the restaurant is very black magic-meets-New Orleans. Think: candles, tarot cards, and a Ouija board mural in the bathroom, as well as a menu of seven different po boy sandwiches (fried gulf shrimp, roast beef, fried gulf oyster, seafood combo, fried green tomatoes, fried oyster Rockefeller, and homemade bologna). And if the mysterious unknown isn’t your thing, you can escape to the back patio where the sun is almost always shining thanks to Old Devil Moon’s Bernal-Mission location.
Two spots on the list that are outside of the City? Yeah, we hear you. Leaving the city is The Worst, but it gets a lot better if you’re leaving it to go to Calicraft’s new taproom that opened up about a month ago. The 2,000 square foot taproom features 12 rotating Calicraft beers, including a few that are exclusive to the taproom. And there’s also an outdoor beer garden since sunshine is a thing you’ll often find in the suburbs.
The thing we love so much about Calicraft is that the beer is incorporates unexpected California-grown ingredients, like starthistle honey, Cluster hops, and anise hyssop. As they say, “We like to think of our beers as the best of California, in a bottle.” Which is a concept we can definitely get behind. Plus, they just taste damn good.
The taproom is open Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 PM. Kids are welcome and you can also fill your growler or buy bottles to take home with you.