San Francisco is not a city made for big groups. It’s entirely unclear how the Tanner family plus Kimmy Gibler managed to do anything en masse. Restaurants are small and crowded, parking an SUV or minivan anywhere except maybe the Outer Sunset is impossible, and bleacher seats and beers at AT&T Park will still end up costing $200. But for those times when your group is Full House-level large and doesn’t want to mess around, there’s Southern Pacific.
The hangar-like bar/brewery/gastropub in the Mission is enormous and best for some of our favorite daytime activities: drinking, eating, maybe catching a game. While it's definitely a warehouse (complete with concrete floors and a tin roof), there are also trees growing inside and lots of twinkly lights, so the whole place has a kind of swanky backyard feel.
Unsurprisingly, there are lots of beers on tap, but less obviously, some good cocktails as well. In terms of food, the menu is mostly standard, but better than average bar snacks, plus pizza and a few quasi-healthy options to keep almost everyone happy. Things are mostly shareable and that’s how you should tackle the menu, since the food is a little heavy to handle on your own.
Are there some downsides? Sure. It can get super crowded at night, they don’t allow kids (this can be a pro or a con depending on your life stage/parenting philosophy), and the service can be surly. But then you realize you’re sitting in a warehouse drinking beer, and maybe there shouldn’t be kids around, and you also might be grumpy if you had to wait on a large group of people all shouting about churros at you.
If you want to day drink with a group, and you haven’t planned way ahead, Southern Pacific should be your move. The high ceilings and big windows make it so much more pleasant to spend an afternoon in than other bar options in the area, they’ll be able to seat you right away, and the bar food is better than most. Just leave the minivan at home. You are still in San Francisco.
Best thing on the menu. They’re sweet and salty and deep fried and excellent. Half an order per person is an acceptable amount. To start with.
This is a shockingly good salad for a beer warehouse. Get it on the table.
Addictive and slightly fancy because they have an herb sprinkle, we’re very into these.
You’re at a bar, so you should probably be eating wings. These have an Asian twist and the spicy-sweet sauce is fantastic.
There are a few pizzas at Southern Pacific, and they’re fine. We usually stick with the sausage or pesto. A few steps up from Domino’s and a few steps down from Delfina.
Strong drunk people food. This is basic mac and cheese with chunks of bacon that will taste fantastic if you’re several beers deep. If you order this for yourself, godspeed. Get some for the table so everyone can have a bite.
We want this to be good, but it’s just so average. The pita is bland and the meat doesn’t take much like lamb, or anything. Hard pass.
A solid sandwich and one of the most dependable things at Southern Pacific. They don’t skimp on the meat or toppings and we’re very into the special garlic sauce on this guy.
Sort of like cinnamon buns, with any hint of bacon drowned out by the maple sauce. Pretty tasty and very sweet.