Perhaps the best combination of beverage and dessert, the humble milkshake is classic Americana, appropriate for (almost) any time of day. In SF, there are spots serving up everything from the traditional 1950s whipped-cream-with-a-cherry-on-top shake to more adventurous alcohol-infused indulgences. Here, Eater presents a map of the 10 best places to grab a shake around town. As always, if you don't see your favorite shake shop, listed below, let us know in the comments.Read More
The 10 Best Milkshakes in San Francisco
From classic diner shakes to new, boozy concoctions
1. Pearl's Deluxe Burgers
While the jury is still out on whether they make the city’s best burgers, the ballots are in on this duo of local joints having the best combination shakes in town: combine flavors like Nutella, banana, and cheesecake, or go tropical and get a pineapple-coconut shake.
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2. Bill's Place
While this over-50-year-old, no-frills Outer Richmond diner calls itself “The Home of the Hamburger,” it certainly whips up a great old-fashioned shake, and they don’t skimp on the half-full overflow tin. The peanut-butter shake is the crowd favorite.
3. It's Tops Coffee Shop
Opened in 1935, It's Tops is tucked just off Market Street, identifiable by a classic neon sign that burns late into the night — the restaurant and ice cream fountain stay open until 3 a.m. from Wednesday through Saturday. Their diner style shakes are mixed right behind the counter and served in retro sundae glasses with whipped cream on top and the extra — there's always extra — on the side. Classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, are available malted.
4. Next Level Burger San Francisco
There’s no milk in these popular vegan shakes at Next Level Burger, a growing “plant-based” fast-food chain that’s parked in a corner of the Potrero Hill Whole Foods. Instead, they use soy or coconut soft serve as their base for “classic” shake flavors like vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter, with “next level” options like cookie’s n’ cream and mint chocolate chip for a bit more.
5. Super Duper Burger
Another Straus Dairy disciple, Super Duper boasts “super” shakes in addition to their burgers, with flavors cookies & cream or fresh strawberry. Those feeling frisky should ask to get it “spiked," and the staff will add a little soju to make your shake truly super duper.
6. The Castro Fountain / The Ice Cream Bar
San Francisco, CA 94114
The Ice Cream Bar started in Cole Valley with soda jerks in old-timey diner hats blending up pistachio and butterscotch shakes to swing music. It's since expanded to the Castro with a sequel, the Castro Fountain. Both combine the organic ice cream of today and the wholesome, all-American vibes of yesteryear. The secret to their shakes, in flavors like O Canada (with maple syrup) and Summer in Siam (Vietnamese coffee)? Eggs, for that custardy texture.
7. Polly Ann Ice Cream
With 50 flavors (including many with an Asian influences), Polly Ann offers a panoply of milkshake options. If you can’t make the tough choice between a green tea or a durian shake at this Outer Sunset ice cream parlor, take a risk and give the Big Wheel of flavors a whirl.
8. St. Francis Fountain
Customize your classic shake from several Mitchell’s ice cream options to complete your old-school experience at this 101-year old Mission establishment. They stock soy ice cream from La Copa Loca, too, if you want a vegan shake. It doesn’t get any more classic than St. Francis.
9. Mitchell's Ice Cream
A San Francisco ice cream staple, Mitchell’s has been making both classic and unusual shakes for over 60 years. Try the grasshopper shake made with peppermint ice cream, chocolate chips, Oreos and fudge swirls, or the Ube shake with purple yam from the Philippines.
10. Beep's Burgers
Rich $5 shakes complement this classic Ocean Avenue restaurant’s killer $7 burger. Flavors are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and Nutella — and for a splurge, order Twinkie or Oreo, with the cookies crushed a la minute. Enjoy the experience seated on a row of vintage diner barstools perched at the edge of the business.