So, you live and work on opposite ends of a BART trip. Before heading home after a long day of jumping on calls, circling back, and pondering next steps, you want to grab a drink with a colleague or a date - but you need someplace that’s still convenient to your stop. (Or maybe you just want to wait out the rush hour nonsense alone, so your commute home will be slightly less unpleasant.) Here’s a list of places that are all within a few minutes’ walk of the FiDi/SoMa BART stops.
Louie’s has a good 4-6pm Happy Hour with extremely affordable beer, wine, and cocktail options (all in the $3-$5 range), so it’s a particularly good option if you’re trying to save some money. They also have a kitchen serving smaller bar bites and even full meals, in case your catch-up with colleagues lasts longer than you anticipated.
Local Edition has a spirit list longer than the fifth Harry Potter book (roughly), so it’s a good stop after work if you like to order your drinks neat or on the rocks. They have great cocktails, too, all for around $13. This place is underground (but has good phone service), and is also really dark, so budget an extra 10 minutes or so to let your eyes adjust. Once your night vision kicks in, you’ll notice that there’s lots of room here for large groups and couples alike. It gets noisy, but it’s more of a sociable buzz, so it won’t ruin any conversation you’re trying to have about maximizing synergization of horizontally integrated ventures to avoid inverse collapse of backup overflow. Or something.
If you want to wait out the rush hour traffic in a place that will make you forget you spent roughly three hours today buried in a single spreadsheet, this place is a good stop. The tiki drinks mainly taste like juice (in a good way), but remember that they’re a lot stronger than that.
Despite the name, this is more a sports bar than an Irish pub. There are TVs inside and outside, so if it’s a nice day, you can split a pitcher at a sidewalk table while watching an afternoon baseball game. And they have standard bar food (like wings) to spoil your dinner.
For a margarita and a quick bite after work, head to Uno Dos Tacos. The food line is separate from the drink line, but neither one takes long. The outdoor patio is great when it’s warm out, but snagging a good table can be a bit of an endeavor, so have a friend look for a spot while you go inside and order. Just like your manager keeps saying (ironically, we hope), teamwork makes the dream work.
This book-themed bar serves slightly expensive drinks with literary names (like the Atticus Finch and the Jay Gatsby), but it’s not totally a gimmick. The cocktails are legitimately good, and you can also get punch on tap (or order it to-go 48 hours in advance if you’d rather host drinks at your house). Novela usually gets pretty crowded after work, especially since people can reserve tables, but there’s nothing wrong with standing at the bar or forming a middle-school-dance-style circle with your coworkers.
This place is right next to some really big office buildings, and it gets shoulder-to-shoulder-level-busy (and loud) quickly. But the bartenders know what they’re doing, so you can be in and out with a drink pretty fast. There’s a small upstairs area with a few seats as well, if you want to escape the crowd and maybe do a little people-watching. Try it if you have a small group of two to four people max, and you all know each other well enough that you can guess what’s being said instead of actually hearing it.
Given that cocktails here are in the $15-$20 range, we would reserve this bar for a fancy-ish date, or any type of outing you can charge to the company. High ceilings, big windows, and expensive-looking lighting add to the upscale feel, and the menu has an interesting mix of cocktail names, ranging from the Illegal Trust (which has cold brew, for those of you who still have work to do later) to the gin-based Selfie.
This is the place that Tom Cruise was dreaming about in Cocktail. The space is huge, with a ton of bar seats, small tables up front, and larger, more private booths in the back. There’s a large selection of draft beers, cocktails, and wine, and a full menu if you decide you’ve got time for more than just a drink. The crowd is mostly made up of the suits-at-work contingency. It can get crowded quickly - so much so that finding a single spot at the bar gets tough - so make a reservation if you want to be sure you’ll get a seat. This place is so inviting that you may even work up the courage to do something that hasn’t been done since 1997, and actually talk to the stranger sitting next to you at the bar.
Eddie’s is a good place for a meeting when you actually want to have a conversation. It doesn’t get too loud, the bartenders turn out good drinks, and it feels businessy without trying too hard to impress. Grab a few seats at the bar (or a small table, if you don’t want people eavesdropping on your brilliant business advice).
Harrington’s has been around since 1933, and it (understandably) feels older than a lot of the surrounding bars. It’s dark inside, with old-timey cash registers and a back wall with a marlin hanging above the kitchen window (we would love to know the story behind that one). Come here with a few friends and split a pitcher outside on a nice day, or drink a pint in silence at the bar and watch a game while you wait for rush hour to pass.
Rickhouse is a tiny spot on Kearny with an impressive number of liquor options (in addition to their house cocktail list). You’ll want to show up with a group of no more than two or three people, as you could end up standing against the back wall while you enjoy your drink and theorize about why Ryan’s desk area always smells like onions (despite the fact that there are never actual onions anywhere to be seen).
If you skipped lunch and need to get some food in your body ASAP, Marengo on the Alley has good drinks, plus a menu of under-$5 sliders that could mean the difference between having a good time with your friends and going on a hangry rant that scares them all away. Not scaring your friends is good. Get some sliders.