Our Summer Hit List is a lot like our regular Hit List. It’s all the new restaurants and bars that have opened recently that we think you need to go to this summer. That could mean restaurants and bars with great patios, but in SF it could also mean places that feel like you’re outside for whenever the fog decides to take over the city and laugh at your poor decision to wear shorts.
Spacemen were the first to figure out that the higher up you are, the less you have to worry about anything on the ground. But instead of making space travel the newest relaxing and fun weekend activity, people started building rooftop bars, and Everdene on top of the Virgin Hotel is the newest one in San Francisco. The majority of the space is covered by a roof that, combined with the glass-panel railings, does a good job of stopping the wind from whipping 12 stories above ground, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to enjoy a cocktail and a charcuterie board. When it’s sunny, you can step out from under the cover and sit or stand at one of the spots running along the edge of the rooftop and take in the views from high above Yerba Buena Park.
If we were doomsday preppers, we’d probably design our bunker to look something like Noosh - it’s all white inside and would feel super airy even if it were completely closed in. Fortunately, it’s not, and they open up their big windows on Fillmore Street when the weather is nice so you can enjoy your muhammara and Turkish flatbreads with a breeze coming through.
The patio at Spirits In The Sky can hold maybe 25 people comfortably. The bar is a tiny rollaway operation that you could rent for a house party from a catering company, it’s only open from 4-8pm Tuesday-Saturday, and it can get pretty cold up here. But this bar is 40 stories up and has an incredible view of North Beach from the Financial District. Even if you only come up for one drink, this scenery is absolutely worth the elevator ride and the $16 cocktails because this spot manages to cram more of a view into this tiny bar than every other rooftop in San Francisco combined - at least until the fog rolls in.
Kaiyo is one of our favorite newer spots for a third date since the cocktails are fantastic and you could spend a long time working through the Japanese-Peruvian small plates. Plus, if it’s a nice night out, they have a great small patio in the front that’s covered and heated if you want to sit outside and watch people with too many bags go back and forth on Union Street.
Peacekeeper, the new bar from the people behind Harper & Rye, is built like a football stadium with a retractable roof so they can make it open-air whenever it’s a clear night. If the roof is open and it’s a little cold out, they have a fireplace to hang out next to and a pool table for when standing around the fireplace brings out a primal sense of competition in you and your friends. They serve beer and wine and a full list of specialty cocktails, like the namesake Peacekeeper with tequila, ginger, pineapple, and lime that’s sweet and a little bit spicy at the end.
The ceilings at Radhaus are so high that you actually have to think about them and look up to notice that they’re there. Combine that with this bar’s incredible views of the bay, and it’s the perfect spot to hang out and drink when it starts to get cold after a long day in Fort Mason. Come here with a group and get half liters of Belgian beer while you split meat and cheese boards and schnitzel.
If you work around Civic Center and really need a break from staring at the same email for the fourth read-over, take a half hour and go to Bi-Rite Cafe right in front of City Hall. This small outpost has a bunch of outdoor seating for when the weather is nice and a menu of things like sandwiches and salads to get you through the rest of the day. We like the barbecue chicken sandwich on a dutch crunch roll, and if it’s been an especially long day, they have soft serve that you can eat while you wait for your lunch.