12 San Francisco Spots For A Laid Back Date
Produced by The Infatuation with
Figuring out the logistics of a date can be hard enough - don’t up the pressure with a restaurant so stuffy you feel on edge. Together with Monkey Shoulder, we’re helping you Stick It To Stuck Up on your next date, with these easygoing San Francisco spots for a non-stuffy date. These places have the right combo of a fun atmosphere, a laid back vibe, and enough things to talk about that you won’t end up spending 10 minutes on the weather. Order something to eat, some Monkey Shoulder whisky to go with it, and get to know your date.
Dive bars are great spots for laid back dates: the moody lighting, pool tables, and overall under-the-radar mood make for a perfect place to get to know your date. This spot in the Dogpatch has all of that, plus plenty of space, interesting cocktails, and an outdoor parklet for when the sun’s out.
Alchemist Bar & Lounge
If you were to judge Alchemist by its location — just steps from Oracle Park and Chase Center — you may think it’s just a run-of-the-mill sports bar. Yet, this relaxed cocktail destination is just the spot for you and your date to fully enjoy one another’s company. Get here ahead of the dinner rush to score a seat on one of the leather couches or conversation-friendly cozy nooks. Grab a couple of cocktails and some bar bites before a few rounds of shuffleboard.
Some bars just have their quirks, and Third Rail is no different - come here for homemade jerky of all types, from red rye with coffee to candied with brown sugar. Any place where you can get a shot, beer, and jerky combo for $10 seems like an ideal spot for a casual date.
Rye was one of the first big deal craft cocktail spots in the city, and it’s stayed one of the best for the last 15 years. It’s also great for a date, with low lighting, excellent cocktails, and knowledgeable bartenders who will probably help with banter if you need it.
If you’re looking for a great first date spot, look no further than this corner location in Nob Hill. The space is small, yes, but the second floor is great for both people watching conversations where you can actually hear each other and the outdoor seating is ideal if you want to get a little cozier.
If you tried to have a date in a library, you’d spend a lot of time dealing with angry glares and getting shushed. Instead, head to Novela, where you can be surrounded by books and talk in something other than whispers. The drinks all have literary names and are legitimately good too.
This dark SoMa bar is a great spot to just fade out distractions and focus on the person you’re with — all the better to really have an intimate laid back date. All of the cocktails are strong and delicious, with a Monkey Shoulder Old Fashioned being the best way to kick off the night. The food here is above average for a place that’s primarily a bar, so order a fried chicken sandwich if that first drink goes well.
This Mission spot will transport you back to the 1960s, all while focusing on the future with your date. They lean into the theme here, with everything from mid-century seating, to a playlist filled with hits by Stevie Wonder and Rolling Stones, to pigs in a blanket on the food menu.
Open since 1999, this Mission fine-dining staple is one of the best spots in town to impress a date without going overboard. Between the beautiful patio, tall white walls, and twinkling lights, you’ll feel like you left the city behind and stumbled on a secret party. It’s also a great spot for a brunch date, where you can try dishes like an enormous croque madame or baguette French toast.
This spot may look like just another neighborhood restaurant, but once you step in the door, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and all the more relaxed for a night out. Order a Monkey Shoulder whisky sour to pair with the sardine chip — a single potato chip with sardine fillet weaved in — for a truly delightful start to a great date night.
One visit to Nopa is a surefire way to get a second date on the books. It’s a great place to just drop in for a seat at the bar, order a drink and a few things from the menu, which should probably also include their excellent burger.
This little spot is typically packed, so it’s best to aim for the semi-outdoor space with huge skylights for your chill date. They make great drinks, and serve both snacks and full plates for whenever your (hopefully) not awkward conversation makes you work up an appetite. Plus they open by 2pm most days if you’re looking for an afternoon date option.