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SF

Guide

The Bay Area Bar Hit List: The Best New Drinking Spots To Check Out

Looking for somewhere new to drink? Use this guide.

14 Spots
Launch Map
14 Spots
Launch Map
Updated December 10th, 2021

If your favorite bartender has seen you in the same striped turtleneck for the past four weekends, maybe it’s time to switch up the routine. May we suggest checking out one of these new bars? This guide has new cocktail spots, breweries, and bars that debuted over the last year, all of which you should definitely start adding into your rotation.

The Spots

Bar Part Time

$$$$ 496 14th St

Right now in SF, natural wine bars are as common as black puffer jackets. But natural wine bars where you can also dance? We head to this new spot in the Mission for that. Bar Part Time just feels like a party thanks to its fun checkered floors, a DJ spinning records in the corner, and a disco ball overhead. Sure, the shelves filled with vinyls and the high ratio of beanies per capita make this spot feel trendier than a fancy soap store, but it’s not hard to have a good time here. The cushy booths are exactly where we want to be on a Thursday night with friends or on a third date. Grab a bottle from their fridge, and get dancing.

Linden & Laguna

Linden & Laguna

$$$$
$$$$ 528 Laguna Street

There’s no shortage of spots to get wine in Hayes Valley, but one new one we love is Linden & Laguna. Taking the place of The Riddler, the champagne bar that closed last year, the corner Parisian-style bar is relaxed, intimate, and hidden away on a quiet stretch just off Hayes Street. You have 13 wines to choose from here, including, yes, champagne. Come here with a small group (the tables are tiny, but there’s more elbow room out on the parklet) or to unwind alone at the marble bar with a glass and some stuffed Medjool dates or a salami flatbread pizzetta.

Snail Bar

Snail Bar

$$$$ 4935 Shattuck Ave

Looking to snack on something good while you sip on a funky glass of pét nat? The natural wine bar in Oakland’s Temescal has excellent small plates, like arepas, grilled cheese sandwiches, crudités, and seafood plates with oysters, clams, and scallops. The titular snails, however, are what keep us coming back. While you’re here, you’ll have plenty of glasses of wine to choose from, which you should sip on out on the patio or inside a breezy space that feels like a friend’s kitchen that’s a bit cooler than yours. Simply put, Snail Bar is one of the buzziest spots to drink in Oakland right now - so don’t be surprised by the wait.

Kona's Street Market

Kona's Street Market

$$$$ 32 3rd St

Kona’s Street Market is from the people behind Pacific Cocktail Haven. It opened in February and has been a staple in our SoMa bar rotation ever since. When you’re here, slide into a cozy booth or sit at the bar under the neon signs, which flash the cocktail specials of the day. The cocktail menu is split into different regions from around the world and highlights ingredients and spirits from each, like ube coconut cream, pandan, and shochu in the “Asia + Pacific” section, and horchata or mezcal under “Americas.” The drinks are strong and refreshing, and the inviting space always makes us want to stay awhile. If you do hang out for a bit, you might catch a glimpse of the bar’s eponymous dog.

Propagation

Propagation

$$$$ 895 Post St

If your most recent “Plant Parent” experiment resulted in a beautiful monstera transforming into a fuzzy grey twig, but you still dig relaxing in a room full of greenery, head to Propagation. The Nob Hill cocktail bar features a ton of potted leafy things spread throughout a bright, airy space. Chill on the brown leather couch next to a giant palm, or post up barside alongside a massive euphorbia. At Propagation, plants don’t just exist to look pretty. Many of their excellent cocktails are also plant-focused, like the “Plantasia” with mezcal, matcha, wheatgrass, pineapple, and lime.

Marc Fiorito

Red Window

$$$$
$$$$ 500 Columbus Ave

Red Window, the Spanish restaurant and cocktail bar in North Beach, opened in March. And ever since, they’ve been delivering refreshing, low-ABV spritzes, high balls, sangria, and other drinks that pair well with a menu of pintxos and tapas. Other reasons that make Red Window an ideal drinking place: The corner spot has two large parklets with plenty of elbow room, a bar cart they’ll roll out to your table (to make certain cocktails), and a takeout window stocked with empanadas, canned cocktails, wine, and beer to-go.

Santeria

Santería

$$$$ 2251 Market St

If there’s one thing we love, it’s smoky mezcal cocktails and anything with tequila. Which is why Santeria gets high marks. One of the Castro’s newest drinking spots, this place has plenty of agave-based drinks and a food menu ranging from flautas and queso fundido to carne asada and carnitas plates. Oh, and did we mention weekday Happy Hour from 3-6pm? Santeria also has a full brunch menu, and indoor and outdoor seating.

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing

$$$$
$$$$ 1000 3rd St Unit A

In April, the brewers with the red bike launched their first company-owned and operated taproom/restaurant in Mission Bay (in the former Little Creatures space). And we’re happy they did. The spot is spacious, and ideal for groups - there is plenty of barside seating, tables, and a patio for up to 60 people. The food menu, created by former Noosh chefs Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz, has everything from tacos on paratha bread to truffled chicken sandwiches. And on top of all that, New Belgium Brewing is ideally located near Oracle Park and the Chase Center, so don’t be surprised if you catch us here often before a Giants game.

Lost Resort

Lost Resort

$$$$ 2736 20th St

The laid-back nautical-themed restaurant and bar in the Mission has been around since last year. And what keeps us coming back is this ultimate trifecta - great drinks, excellent small plates, and a casual outdoor seating area. We recommend grabbing your favorite cocktail, and ordering the fish and chips, hamachi poke, or mochiko chicken bites, which come with an incredible chicken fat hot sauce. They have plenty of sidewalk seating and a large patio out back too.

Isabelle Duffy

Low Bar

$$$$ 2300 Webster St

The Oakland bar delayed opening for a year due to the pandemic and finally had its grand opening in March (the two co-owners launched a tamale pop up called Chancho’s in the interim). Now you can stop by their airy space for excellent cocktails, crispy flautas, churros, and our favorite dish: a scotch egg with chorizo, corn tortilla panko crust, and pickled habanero gribiche.

Macondray

Macondray

$$$$
$$$$ 2209 Polk St

This Russian Hill bar had only been open for three months before the pandemic hit, so you may not have had time to check it out. But now you can (and should). Inside it’s filled with plants and makes us feel like we’re hanging out in a botanical garden. And after sitting on one of their plush chairs or booths, you’ll want to chill here with one of their colorful cocktails all day. They also have parklet seating and a lot of great food options, like a Maine-style lobster roll and fantastic deviled eggs you definitely need to get into.

Jeremy Chiu

Viridian

$$$$ 2216 Broadway

Viridian in Oakland was one of our favorite new bars to hang out at before the pandemic hit (they opened in February 2020). And coming here meant enjoying a tomato beef cocktail with some desserts and dim sum, and hunkering down on a bar stool (if you were lucky enough - this place got packed) to admire the stunning neon lights. Now that indoor dining is back, so is getting to appreciate Viridian’s gorgeous space and taste their entirely new menu of things like tempura calamari okonomiyaki, walnut prawn skewers, turnip cake and XO sauce, and crispy rice tuna tartare.

Sobre Mesa

Sobre Mesa

$$$$ 1618 Franklin St

The cocktail lounge in Downtown Oakland opened a year ago, shut down when the pandemic hit, and returned in March, which means... time to finally enjoy their lush, lounge-y vibes and experience one of the most memorable evenings you’ll have in awhile. A night here will include choosing one - or several - of their impressive, well-made cocktails: passion fruit palomas, mojitos, Mai Tais, or aguardiente with apricot, honey, and lime. It will also feature plenty of small plates reflecting the flavors of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora - incredible plantains stuffed with Impossible meat ragu and olives on top of a creamy avocado purée; gulf shrimp with a rich garlic and nit’ir qibe-spiced butter sauce; and crispy beef empanadas. Inside it’s a tropical escape with plants and plush booths. And out on the sidewalk patio, live music keeps the good time going into the night - or, at least, until your table’s time limit is up.

Palmetto

Palmetto

$$$$ 1900 Telegraph Ave.

Another great bar impacted by the pandemic, the Oakland cocktail spot opened for takeout briefly last summer, closed in June, and is back with indoor dining in their brightly-colored space for the first time ever. Make a reservation and sit down for mussels with chorizo and a creamy garlic sauce, kale salad with pickled veggies and avocado puree, or chocolate banana cream pie, and something from their extensive list of cocktails, wine, and beer.

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