SFGuide

The Best Wine Bars In San Francisco

21 wine bars that are actually worth going to.

The Best Wine Bars In San Francisco guide image

photo credit: Jasmin Van T Photography

The two most ideal places to drink wine are on your own couch while wearing fuzzy socks, and at an actual vineyard with the winemaker’s border collie named Riesling sitting faithfully by your side. But when you’re running low on laundry and realize the dog is actually a figment of your buzzed imagination, you do have other options. That’s why we have this guide. It’s got our 21 favorite places in SF to drink wine. Some of these spots play great music, others have food worth going out of your way for, and the rest you’ll probably want to be your new clubhouse.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Albert Law/Buddy

Buddy review image

Buddy

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Casual bars specializing in natural wine are popping up all over town these days. One to pay attention to is Buddy in the Mission. Cozy, chill, and beautifully designed, it’s an ideal place to drop in for a refreshing wine cocktail. Buddy also has a full food menu that’s both fancy and funky. We’re talking whole baby turnips with a flavorful smoked oyster ranch, tuna confit with a soft egg and a side of saltine crackers, and a hearty mortadella sandwich that will probably inspire you to sink into the comfy banquette and linger until closing time.

This place in Lower Pacific Heights has red walls and deep-cushioned chairs that make it feel more like a cigar bar or a hidden room in House of Prime Rib. Aside from the comfortable seats, what makes Scopo Divino so great is the live band that they somehow fit in here six nights a week. And even though the band takes up roughly 10% of the available space, somehow the music is never so loud that you can’t hear the people around you. It’s a great last stop of the night when you’d rather drink a glass of cab franc then go somewhere that requires taking tequila shots to catch up with the rest of the bar.

This Mission spot is a plant store by day and a natural wine bar at night, complete with live music a few times a week. So if you’re someone with a monstera leaf tattooed on your left rib, this is the place for you. Leafy greens cover every square inch of the high-ceilinged space, and line the equally-busy parklet. Come with a date you want to impress or before dinner at one of the neighborhood's great restaurants, and get buzzed off some orange wine while sitting under a towering ponytail palm. 

Pasta and wine are a match so compatible they would undoubtedly make it to the altar on Love Is Blind. One of our favorite places to get some is Corks, a tiny spot in the Richmond with a bar and just a few tables. You’ll watch as housemade pasta is cooked to al dente perfection, and sip on something from their mostly Italian wine selection. Whether you’re here on a date or a Wednesday night catch-up with friends, get the amatriciana—it’s packed with a generous helping of guanciale, red onions, and bell peppers for a touch of sweetness. 

Decant SF feels more like a friendly book shop than a wine bar, with its bright lights, colorful walls, and staff that will ask you if there’s anything they can help you with before you even get close to the register. It’s mostly a bottle shop, but you can also drink whatever you buy here or try a glass of something. Plus, they have an extensive cheese and charcuterie menu for you to enjoy with your glass of nebbiolo if you want.

If you want to learn about natural wines, Ruby Wine is one great place to go. This Potrero Hill wine shop feels like you’re in a friend’s small living room, and the people behind the counter will talk to you about wine the same way you would discuss fan theories from your favorite Netflix show with your deskmate. Grab a bottle or glass and take it out to the parklet while you watch neighborhood dogs strut past.

At Bodega, you’ll see couples on dates, burrata on every table, and a big neon sign that says “wet your lips." This trendy wine bar in North Beach doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is why we love it. Wines are organized by the glass under fun categories like “Rich & Thicc,” “Flirtatious,” and “We Get It Susan, You Like Dry Rosé…” And if you get hungry while sipping on your glass of thicc Bordeaux, they have a menu of pretty good shareable things like brussels sprouts, shatteringly crispy potatoes with aioli, and salmon tacos. 

We don’t often encounter wine bars serving french toast topped with buttery duck liver mousse for dinner. But that’s how it goes at Key Klub. The Lower Nob Hill spot from the Bodega folks reminds us of a ‘90s nightclub without the dance floor. Adding to the party feel is a big list of natural wines and beers, and drink menu sections titled “Thicc Boys” (sensing a theme here?) and “Here To Party.” Loosen up with something fizzy, and possibly a smash burger, patty melt, or cast iron mussels. The two-story spot has plenty of elbow room and nooks to turn up with friends. You can always make your own dance floor.

Whenever we have visitors staying around Nob Hill, we skip meeting them for drinks at their hotel bars and tell them to come to Altovino instead. This place is a full restaurant, but the front room has a bar that’s the perfect place to catch up with someone over drinks. The wine list is all Italian, and we usually end up ordering some pasta here when we get hungry.

Fool’s Errand is the perfect launchpad for a night out on Divisadero. This NoPa wine bar that looks like a small cabin only has a short menu of things to snack on like cheese boards and sardines, which will hold you over if you're waiting for a table at nearby Che Fico or Nopa. If you’re posting up, they have a good-sized bottle list, and a small by-the-glass selection.

High Treason is a moody, skylight-lit wine bar in the Richmond where we go to impress someone who still makes weekly trips to Amoeba Music, and grab an easy dinner without feeling any pressure to change out of sweats. Records are always playing, music-themed trivia nights happen monthly, and there’s a long menu of wine, sake, cocktails, and cider. And when you inevitably get hungry after dissecting one potentially flirty DM from your crush for an hour straight, there’s a Hawaiian menu by Unco Frank’s pop-up. Their crispy mochiko chicken, mini fried cod sandwiches, and fried rice with Portuguese sausage are just what you want to be snacking on while admiring High Treason’s vinyl collection with a glass of riesling in hand. 

This Dogpatch spot is located in a warehouse-like space that’s light-filled and massive. And coming here means you can order a glass of your favorite wine (they have cider and beer, too), and also take a bottle to go (they double as a wine shop). But really, come here to try something from their impressive selection, and consider getting the za’atar bread with labne, everything-spiced fries, or other small plates to share.

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book in a garden somewhere while drinking wine, you were probably imagining Arlequin Wine Merchant. Arlequin is mostly a bottle shop (with one of the best garden patios in the city), and they have stuff that even your friend who brags about having two wine fridges won’t recognize. If you’re mostly just looking for some great scenery, though, grab a bottle of prosecco from the cooler, have it opened for you by the incredibly knowledgeable staff, and find a table out back.

If you get a seat by the window at Union Larder, it almost feels like you’re watching Hyde Street go by in front of you, like it was an aquarium, but with cable cars instead of schools of fish. You might get hungry while you watch the tourists pass by, and Union Larder has a great menu of things like charcuterie boards, salads, and burrata to enjoy with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or rose. They also have a cheesemonger to help you make the best cheese-related decisions possible.

In SF, natural wine bars are about as common as black puffer jackets. But natural wine bars where you can also dance? We head to this 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 vinyl 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.

photo credit: Jasmin Van T Photography

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Linden & Laguna

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Perfect For:Drinking Good Wine

There’s no shortage of spots to get wine in Hayes Valley, but one new-ish one we love is Linden & Laguna. Taking the place of The Riddler, the champagne bar that closed in 2020, the corner Parisian-style bar is relaxed, intimate, and hidden away on a quiet stretch just off Hayes Street. And yes, they also have 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.

This is probably the quietest bar on Union Street, which isn’t saying a ton considering the other options, but West Coast Wine and Cheese is a great spot for a one-on-one catch up or pretending you bought out the entire bar with a few friends. All of the wine here is from California, Oregon, and Washington, and they have a great menu of things like cheese boards, shishito peppers, and grilled cheese if you’re a little bit hungrier.

Press Club is an underground wine bar in SoMa that’s so large it feels like it takes up a whole city block. With its lack of windows and multiple bright lounge areas to sit in, this place looks a bit like the set of a Tom Ford photoshoot. But even if you’re not wearing a tailored suit, you can still hang out here while you make your way through a wine flight after work.

The setup at Etcetera Wine Bar is warm and inviting, and the staff is exceptionally nice, making this a place we return to at least monthly. It's the ideal place to grab wine before or after dinner in the Mission. Or if you want to just stay put, the cheese boards and French-style pizzas (basically, flatbreads) will do you right.

Amelie is the place you go to when you say that you want to finally start learning more about wine, but really you just want to drink well and not pay a lot of money. They have one of our favorite Happy Hours in the city with discounted flatbreads and cheese boards, but our favorite part of it is that you can get three heavy pours to “taste from” for $12. Plus, they have live music every Saturday.

Fig & Thistle feels a little hidden from the rest of Hayes Valley because it’s located down an alley away from the center of the neighborhood, and even though it’s not a secret, that adds to the fun of walking in here. They have a nice by-the-glass list of wines, and a good beer menu too if you want to change it up. This place is pretty tiny, so it’s great for a casual date when you actually want to hear about whatever work drama is happening to whoever you’re going out with for the fifth time—plus, they have fantastic pizza by pop-up Outta Sight if you decide to stay awhile.

20 Spot is a super laid-back place in the Mission that you could hang out at forever if the staff wouldn’t kick you out every day so they could retreat to their actual homes. It’s the perfect size to come with one person and have it feel intimate, but it’s still large enough to bring a group without an issue. Split a few bottles from their small list of wines from places like Germany and Croatia, and if you get hungry, they have things like cheese boards, pizzas, and duck breast with hibiscus salsa macha.

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