15 Bars That Serve Good Food

When getting a drink is priority one, but you also want the option to eat something good, use this guide.
15 Bars That Serve Good Food image

photo credit: Mary Lagier

There are many scenarios that call for a bar that serves great food. Maybe you’re going on a promising second date that’ll likely transition from "grabbing drinks" into staying for a full-on meal. Or maybe your social battery is dwindling and a single bar is your sole destination for the night. Whatever the case, there’s nothing worse than starting to drink on an empty stomach and then realizing that the only option for sustenance is a miniscule dish of olives. That’s where these spots come in. They’re all bars first, but also serve damn good food. 


photo credit: Key Klub


Lower Nob Hill

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsDrinking Good WineBirthdaysDrinking Good BeerDrinks & A Light Bite
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This Lower Nob Hill bar from the Bodega people is a dinner destination in disguise. Yes, come to relax in a glowy pink two-story space and sip on natural wines, categorized under sections like “Thicc Boys” and “Here For The Funk." But also get here for their lengthy menu of American dishes that are well-executed and exciting—there’s no place in town where you can get french toast topped with silky duck liver mousse. We also love their double-patty burger, which comes on a squishy challah bun, simply dressed with American cheese and pickles. 

Cozy, chill, and beautifully designed, the casual wine bar in the Mission is the place for refreshing wine cocktails, which include things like Thai basil and hibiscus tea. Buddy also serves food that is both fancy and funky. We’re talking seasonally changing dishes that lean into nostalgia, like 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'll inspire you to sink into the comfy banquette and linger until the kitchen closes. 

The American-ish dishes at this NoPa bar pair nicely with the cocktails, which are made up of interesting ingredients like turmeric honey gin and cinnamon toast crunch. Go for the pulled pork tacos topped with housemade salsa verde—and know that ordering a side of crispy duck fat fries is always a top priority. Another perk to coming here is getting to sit in their semi-outdoor atrium, a plant-filled space ideal for snacking anytime the mid-afternoon hanger sets in (this bar opens at 2pm most days). 

Foghorn Taproom is chicken wing central. These wings are some of the best in SF. They’re hefty, crispy, and well-coated in peppery-sugary dry spice, perfectly tangy buffalo, bourbon maple bacon, lemon pepper, and more. Order as many as will fit on your table (five wings per order) and go to town while catching whatever sports are playing on the huge TVs behind the bar. This snug, no-fuss sports bar in the Richmond also has several dozen beers on tap, and a second location in the Sunset.

photo credit: Mary Lagier



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At this colorful mid-century-inspired bar in the Mission, the cocktail menu changes more often than we water our plants (a.k.a. a lot), and drinks are infused with ingredients like snap peas and redwood tips. Whatever you end up with will be delicious. As for the food menu, it covers snack plates like cacio e pepe chicharrones along with heavier dishes like buttery patty melts. One must-order is the fried hen of the woods mushrooms, which have a light and crispy exterior and come with a decadent sour cream and alliums dip. 

At Stoa, you can order a cocktail from categories like “Stern, But Firm” or “Lean & Mean,” slice into chewy grilled mochi, and slurp back spoonfuls of warming chicken porridge. The Lower Haight cocktail bar and restaurant is the neighborhood’s best place for a drink that easily turns into dinner—there’s plenty of booth and bar stool seating, and the “anything goes” food menu is more interesting (and successful) than most people’s entire dating app profiles. Don’t skip the chicken wings, coated in a sticky fish sauce, honey, lime, and chili glaze you’ll want to slather on everything. 

ABV always manages to suck us in for more than a few hours—it’s spacious enough to move around, and never gets too loud. Which works out, because this Mission bar serves fantastic small plates that could be plucked off the menu from some fancy California cuisine restaurant, like squash blossom tacos and beet-cured salmon toast. They also have a burger that’s one of the best in the city, plus well-curated charcuterie boards that are well worth your time. 

This Russian Hill bar can function either as an appetizer-pit stop before heading out to dinner in the area, or a full-blown meal—they have everything from deviled eggs and soft pretzels to excellent lobster rolls and burgers. Enjoying it all in the breezy space, decked out with hanging plants and cushioned chairs and booths, always adds up to a nice time. Come here on a first date or with a group of friends to review your week over oysters and frozen palomas. 

Casual and welcoming, this Mexican bar and restaurant is where to grab a drink in the Outer Sunset and discuss what you’re watching on Netflix over frozen margaritas or micheladas—or Jell-O shots, if it’s that kind of night. The menu covers hearty dishes we love to inhale whether we’re three tequila shots deep or just passing by on the way home from a day at the beach. There are carnitas flautas, street dogs wrapped in bacon, a torta ahogada drenched in housemade salsa, and more. 

This cocktail bar in Russian Hill looks like a fancy hotel mixed with a mid-century living room, and here you can sip high balls, rare whiskeys, and Japanese-inspired cocktails on a wingback chair. It’s the sister bar to the Japanese fine dining restaurant Nisei (located right next door), which is basically your cue to order everything on the seasonal izakaya-style menu, like perfect chicken karaage with black curry and Japanese milk bread with creamy miso honey butter. Come here for a drink before going all in on the tasting menu at Nisei, a special occasion toast, or big-deal date nights. 

photo credit: Sarah Felker

​​Nothing says “I’m cool and interesting” like knowing about some of the least-boring wine bar food in town. This relaxed Richmond spot serves exclusively Mexican wines alongside a menu of Yucatecan dishes that stand on their own. Think panuchos loaded with saucy cochinita, seafood skewers atop a spicy papaya and pineapple sauce, and mole-covered chicken so good it’ll take up at least five minutes of conversation.  

If you’re searching for one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city, don’t miss the one at Hi Tops. This sports bar in the Castro does theirs right. It stars extra crispy chicken, sweet coleslaw, and a brioche bun. Our favorite part of this sandwich is the tangy and slightly spicy aioli that gives it a nice kick. Hi Tops also delivers on food that makes you feel like you’re at the world’s best sporting event, like housemade corn dogs, buffalo wings, and nachos.

The patio at this casual, nautical-themed bar is one of our favorite places to drink in the city. It’s heated nicely, and there’s plenty of space to spread out with a group of friends at one of their tables or swinging benches—set up camp on one and dig into crispy fish and chips and burgers with roasted pepper jam and nori mayo. You'll want to also complete the trip to this Mission spot with the mochiko chicken bites, which come with an incredible chicken fat hot sauce. 

High Treason is a relaxed wine bar in the Richmond with an impressive vinyl collection and plenty of wine, sake, cocktails, and cider. Another reason we keep coming back: the menu of excellent Hawaiian dishes courtesy of Unco Frank’s. Crisp furikake fries are loaded with spam, kimchi, and sriracha aioli, and fried rice with Portuguese sausage is packed with salty-sweet flavor. They’re both exactly what you want to munch on during music-themed trivia nights, which go down once a month, or early-in-the-game dates. 

This beer bar in the Mission has an impressive beer list and an equally impressive burger—it’s onion jam-topped and oozes with gruyere. This cozy spot also serves crowd-pleasers like fried chicken sandwiches, pretzels, and garlic parmesan fries. So if you’re on a date with someone who’s super passionate about homebrewing, or need a place to slide into a booth with a group and discuss the pros and cons of air fryer ownership, get here.

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