561 Geary St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.786783 -122.412519
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Tenderloin
good place to grab a drink before heading out – my girlfriend and i arrived around 7 on a friday night and there was enough room to sit at the bar. the bartender was friendly and offered great suggestions about what to order. we had a nice time catching up and enjoyed a little people watching. once it started to get crowded we headed out. the dim lighting and exposed brick offer a lowkey relaxed environment to chat it up with the girls.
A downtown hang featuring DJs, live tunes and signature cocktails from a bevy of city bars. – In Short
In front of an exposed-brick wall, an affable bartender mixes a slew of specialty drinks--many are replicas of city favorites, like the herb-flavored Chartreuse Swizzle (a specialty at Harry Denton's Starlight Room). Other offerings are more original, like the peach julep, consisting of fruit puree, fresh mint and bourbon. Many nights feature DJs or live music, but there's rarely a cover charge.
What? A dive bar by any other name would surely look the same – The less-than-friendly staff at this bar serve like they drink more than the customers; which is reflected in every aspect of the venuea renovated dive bar, with watered down drinks and warm, flat beer. Terrible bartenders and terribly overpriced drinks.
Ive been there when the staff just decides to close early, other times they stop the music early, becausetheyve had enough? Im still waiting for a DJ without a FU attitude, who will take a request.
Ed Ivey holds a Blues Jam on Sunday nights that quickly degenerates into a bunch of drunks performing third rate versions of simple blues songs that any amateur band could learn to play better in one session. The Sunday night drunks, and out-of-towners--also too drunk to care--get up and dance anyway, but for the most part, the performances are an embarrassment.
All this place needs is a pool table and a few bikers to raise its charm to 2 stars out of 10.
A bar, so poorly managed, is going to have trouble sooner or later, and who wants to be there when that happens? Patrons deserve better, and there are far better establishments to enjoy your time.
A great hidden spot – My fiance and I were staying at the Hotel Bijou for the evening to celebrate his 28th bday for a night in the city. We had idea where to go and just wandered around and came across this awesome little bar! We saw a bunch of people milling around and could see the live band through the window so we checked it out. I'm SO glad we did! We ended up having a great time! The music was very energetic and jamming, the vibe was really cool, and the bartenders were fantastic! The great little blonde behind the bar even hooked up my fiance's mojito when I told her it was his bday and she topped it off BIG time! We had a nice buzz all the way back to the hotel!! This is now a new place to add to our list whenever we are in the city for an evening! I'm glad we had no place to go!!!
Pretty good night out – I went to Swig on a recommendation. My girlfriend and I arrived around 10ish sat night. The place was slowly filling up; we got two seats right at the bar. The place is small but open plan so it does not feel like you are being crushed. The highlight would be the friendly and eager bartenders. The downfall would be the DJ. The entire time this guy was on he had a face like a sour lemon. He could not have been more miserable. My attempt to request a song was interrupted by a "no". Apparently no requests allowed. Which is too bad as the music was rubbish. The crowd was very lively however and full of good vibes - so that in addition to the great bartenders would cause me to go back and even recommend this place.
A pleasant time out on the town goes sour – My decent experience at Swig went south fast when the owner decided to pick up everyone's drinks without announcing last call. I had half of my drink left when he suddenly started flipping on the lights in the place, and came over to my end of the bar and literally picked my drink up off the bar and poured it out right in front of me (and even laughed about it).
This amateur doesn't even know how to do a last call. So maybe one of his customers who happens upon this review can point him to this site, so he can learn a little bit about bar ownership. First, when you have cute chicks behind the bar serving alcohol and a PA system with a DJ cranking out music, you don't flip lights on to alert people for last call. You let the bartender tell everyone, or you ask the DJ to announce it to everyone. But even the light thing is okay, as long as you give people at least 10 minutes to finish their drinks before picking them up. I had about 30 seconds to finish my drink before he came over and poured it out.
So whatever, he's an idiot, and I won't be going back that's for sure. Despite that incident, I still had a decent time there, even though the place looks like a prison (which probably isn't a good thing if you're a heterosexual in San Fran).
If he could learn how to own and operate a bar, I would consider going back.
Standing room only – If you like to lounge with your drink, this isn't the place to go. It's a big space that gets packed full of people on weekends, too packed. And there's very minimal seating. It's hard to push your way to the bar or to the bathrooms. If you like to make like a sardine, then this is the place for you. If you want a chill evening to drink and chat with friends, find a place with more space and seating.
Small private party – I attended a friends' private party at Swig Bar in May 2006. She had the private room upstairs and downstairs. The staff was helpful in setting up appetizers and pre-bought beer and wine. The appetizers were display nicely in both rooms. I highly recommend having a private party here. Music was OK.
Rainy Day Mojito Anyone? – We stopped by on our way to see a show and sat in the window with a Mojito, watching all the umbrellas walk by. This was the best Mojito I ever had...not overwhelmingly sugar like most. The fireplace is inviting. The space is modern. My only complaint is that the women's bathroom is sparce. They should have a table, chair or hook in there to put your purse. And, a touch of style would be nice to go along with the bar itself. I know, I know...it is more of a female thing! Overall - enjoyed the friendly service, nice atmosphere, music. It was early, about 4pm when we were there, the crowd was a mix of all ages.
A pleasent suprise. I hadn't met anyone after moving here from British Columbia. The bartenders here are really friendly and so was most of the crowd. A lot of energy yet not overbearing or clausterphobic. Not to many sleezebag guys, maybe a couple meatheads. Looked like some were college guys from out of town. Kind of sultry on sunday or monday. nice to be single because I have to admit- that one bartender was really sexy, you know the one... or you will know if you go* Make sure you try at least one signature cocktail- yummmmmmm like that bartender
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