The go-to bar for a certain type of spirit must have more than just enough shelf space for every brand on the market of whisky, rum or whatever its specialty spirit. The bartenders must know enough about the given liquor to make recommendations, if not teach you a little something, and, of course, be able to shake up a mean cocktail with it, as well. The following bars carry absurdly wide selections of their liquor of choice (one stocks more than 200 types of sipping rums), making them great places to learn about the subtleties of your spiritual obsession--or just to get mashed on some top-notch cocktails.
Nightlife can get a little stale in San Francisco, but this year's unusually awesome crop of new bars should keep it interesting for years to come. The team behind Bourbon & Branch built another temple to top-notch cocktails in the FiDi, a hunting-lodge-themed watering hole reinvigorated SoMa and a new dance club brought the late-night bandits to Mid-Market--and those are just three of best new nightlife options to open in this city in years. Here, in no particular order, are the best new bars of 2009.
If only we could all live life as Don Draper does: a glass of scotch (neat) at 10am, a three-martini lunch at noon, a thick steak (and more whiskey) at dinner, enjoyed in a luxurious dining room dripping with dark woods and leather banquettes. Those were the days! Fortunately for those of us missing "Mad Men," these spots offer the same strong drinks, forgotten foods (crab Louie, anyone?) and manly, nostalgic atmosphere.
The Outer Sunset gets a bad rap. True, it's far from the city's bright lights, plagued with dreary, monotonous architecture and often so blanketed in fog that the daily occurrence from which it gets its name is ironically not visible from it. But, all that only makes the hidden gems in this neighborhood--as we're defining it, west of 40th Avenue and south of Lincoln--all the more precious. Here's your guide to the Sunset's unexpected treasures.
Ever since the Beanbag Cafe's buck-fifty beers changed the game, booze prices on Divisadero have plummeted to the point where more than ten bars, restaurants and cafes in a six-block stretch are selling the cold gold for less than the price of a Coca-Cola. From $3 cans of Modelo with salt and lime at Nopalito to $2 microbrews at an underground bike shop/cafe, here's your guide to the single best cheap-drinking destination in the city right now. And, please, don't call it "Nopa"--do like a native and call it "Divis."
Since there's not a lot of room for creativity or error with the classic martini, what makes the drink special is the right setting. You obviously don't want to order a martini at some sketchy dive--both for practical reasons and your own safety--but even a respectable bar won't cut it. No, a proper martini is served in a place with style, a place where you could picture the great martini drinkers like Don Draper, Dean Martin or Mae West draped along the bar. Or, at least a place where the super-sized martinis get you really, really smashed.
Smoking may be illegal in bars these days, but smoke-flavored drinks are on fire in San Francisco and across the country--easily the hottest trend in the spirits world. Many of the top local cocktail spots now have smoky cocktails on their menus, whether that smoke taste be derived from peaty Islay scotch whisky, fiery and rustic mezcal or actually lighting things on fire. Inhale this trend in any of the following cocktails.
Sourced from an exclusive Central Valley purveyor, rubbed down with kosher salt 24 hours beforehand, and roasted to perfection, the exquisite whole chicken at Zuni Cafe is one of San Francisco's most famous dishes--and rightfully so. Still, Zuni isn't the only place to get a mind-blowing bird in this city. In fact, not only could the biddies on this list beat Zuni's in a blind taste test, but most can be had for less than half the price, and without making a reservation.
We all know a hovel where you can get happy-hour Pabst for $2 and sticky stuff from the bar all over your sleeves for free. Every once in a while, however--to impress someone, or un-depress yourself--it's nice to have a few rounds in more elegant environs; enter this list of high-end happy hours, where the un-loaded can get loaded on fancy drinks for dive-bar prices.
It takes a village to primp and preen the masses, and San Francisco's beauty industry rises up to the challenge. Who styles hair with the deftest finesse? Who massages the stress from your shoulders? Who tattoos with the greatest artistry and waxes with the least amount of pain? From Oct. 22 to Nov. 10, it's your job to nominate your favorite businesses for SF's Best of Citysearch in all things beauty. To get you started, check out our list of preferred professionals.