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The Hottest New Cocktail Bars in San Francisco

A Dogpatch brewery and a Chinatown lounge are among San Francisco’s most exciting new places to grab a drink

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Welcome to the cocktail heatmap, where drinkers can expect inventive takes on classic cocktails, unique spirits, and all the latest in beverage trends. Because if there’s one thing San Franciscans require, it’s a damn good drink. Some of these spots are also restaurants, but if they have a roomy bar and cocktails of high caliber, they can make the cut. If you’re looking for something a little more established, check out this list of the city’s essential cocktail bars, to which these places might someday graduate.

Want to know the city’s hottest restaurants? Head to the aptly named restaurant heatmap.

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Causwells

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Even if you've been going to Causwells since forever, get ready to reacquaint yourself with the Marina neighborhood favorite. The restaurant got a big makeover and a new menu (don’t worry, the burger isn’t going anywhere), plus a cocktail list from star bar talent Elmer Mejicanos. There’s a crystal clear clarified ube cocktail topped with purple cream, a large format frozen martini that’s poured tableside, and a sesame-decorated riff on a jalapeno margarita.

Stephanie Amberg

Maybeck's

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Maybeck’s returned to the Marina in June, now boosted by the talents of wife-and-husband duo Lori Baker and Jeffrey Banker (Baker & Banker). Of course, that means the food and desserts are worth your while, but the bar remains a great place to order a classic cocktail and a solid burger. The cocktail list includes options like the Summer Sour, a mezcal-based concoction that spins through summer strawberry flavors with a touch of cinnamon.

A martini glass filled with a brown cocktail.

Blind Pig Speakeasy Lounge

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Experienced barman Derrick Li brings boldly flavored baiju cocktails to Bling Pig, the bar found on the second floor of the historic Cathay House in Chinatown. Many of the drinks showcase Asian ingredients, like the Pink Leaf drink, which incorporates bitter melon with Patron reposado tequila. Open since October, the lounge sports “a lot of 1930s Shanghai-style decorations,” Li describes, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a grand view of California Street.

Blind Pig

Harlan Records

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Bar Fluxus is out and Harlan Records is in, and the new bar is bringing tons of vintage vinyl and a list of music-inspired cocktails to downtown San Francisco. The bar comes from a team of experienced industry folks and takes inspiration from Japanese-style listening bars. So pick a record from the collection of more than 2,000 options and sit back to enjoy a dirty martini or classic Negroni.

Will Herrera

Pie Punks

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Come to Pie Punks for the crispy-edged Detroit-style pies, but stay for the menu of tiki cocktails including a frosty Hennessy-based pina colada served with a giant slice of fresh pineapple and the Zombie Punk Drink, blending light and dark rums with 151 and absinthe. If you’re aiming to stay away from the hard stuff during a working lunch, there’s also a list of natural wines available by the bottle or glass.

Lauren Saria

Chika & Sake

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Anyone looking to explore the wide world of sake should head over to the new Chika and Sake, a tiny new bar and restaurant pouring an ever-changing selection of sake along with a menu of Japanese small plates. Chika Ohata worked for a number of years at Hayes Valley shop True Sake and now hopes to help educate drinkers with a selection of about 15 to 20 sakes poured by the glass or carafe, plus sake flights.

Hazie's

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With a prime location just off Patricia’s Green in the heart of Hayes Valley, it’s little surprise that new restaurant and bar Hazie’s seems to have found a niche as a solid spot for an after-work drink and light bite in the neighborhood. The cocktails keep things relatively simple with few enough ingredients to count on one hand, plus a trio of large format options to share among a group of friends.

Hardy Wilson

Bar Agricole

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After more than two and a half years away, owner Thad Vogler’s James Beard Award-winning Bar Agricole resumed shaking and stirring single-origin spirits into refined cocktails on August 3. The bar returns in a new SoMa space wrapped in warm woods and painted cool blue-and-grey tones. In addition to a menu of cocktails starring thoughtfully sourced spirits, chefs Will Napoli and Nick Balla offer seasonal and ingredient-driven plates like tomatoes with yellow wax beans and grilled chicken in green olive salsa.

Patricia Chang

The Hideout

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Dalva reopened with a sleek aesthetic and new menu way back in January, but it wasn’t until August that owners Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud and Eric Ochoa began inviting guests back into the not-so-secret back bar the Hideout. For longtime fans, it’s a bit of a flip-flop from the previous iteration; now the dark and moody Hideout is your destination for classic cocktails and high-end spirits, while the front bar, Dalva itself, caters to the craft cocktail crowd.

Olfactory Brewing & Blending

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The Dogpatch is home to a new brewery with the opening of Olfactory Brewing on Third Street. The brewery comes from a team of beer industry veterans and focuses on pales, lagers, funk, and barrel-aged beers. It’s a dog-friendly scene with about a half-dozen fresh brews on tap including a light lager called Easy Plateau made exclusively with local malt from Admiral Maltings.  

El Chato

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A little piece of Spain has installed itself in the Mission with the opening of El Chato, a self-described “Spanish-style taberna” with a menu of small plates and an intriguing list of European (mostly Spanish) wines. Choose between a full glass or a smaller “chato” pour so you can explore less-common varietals like merseguera and listán negro while you snack on jamon Iberico or gazpacho.

Causwells

Even if you've been going to Causwells since forever, get ready to reacquaint yourself with the Marina neighborhood favorite. The restaurant got a big makeover and a new menu (don’t worry, the burger isn’t going anywhere), plus a cocktail list from star bar talent Elmer Mejicanos. There’s a crystal clear clarified ube cocktail topped with purple cream, a large format frozen martini that’s poured tableside, and a sesame-decorated riff on a jalapeno margarita.

Stephanie Amberg

Maybeck's

Maybeck’s returned to the Marina in June, now boosted by the talents of wife-and-husband duo Lori Baker and Jeffrey Banker (Baker & Banker). Of course, that means the food and desserts are worth your while, but the bar remains a great place to order a classic cocktail and a solid burger. The cocktail list includes options like the Summer Sour, a mezcal-based concoction that spins through summer strawberry flavors with a touch of cinnamon.

A martini glass filled with a brown cocktail.

Blind Pig Speakeasy Lounge

Experienced barman Derrick Li brings boldly flavored baiju cocktails to Bling Pig, the bar found on the second floor of the historic Cathay House in Chinatown. Many of the drinks showcase Asian ingredients, like the Pink Leaf drink, which incorporates bitter melon with Patron reposado tequila. Open since October, the lounge sports “a lot of 1930s Shanghai-style decorations,” Li describes, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a grand view of California Street.

Blind Pig

Harlan Records

Bar Fluxus is out and Harlan Records is in, and the new bar is bringing tons of vintage vinyl and a list of music-inspired cocktails to downtown San Francisco. The bar comes from a team of experienced industry folks and takes inspiration from Japanese-style listening bars. So pick a record from the collection of more than 2,000 options and sit back to enjoy a dirty martini or classic Negroni.

Will Herrera

Pie Punks

Come to Pie Punks for the crispy-edged Detroit-style pies, but stay for the menu of tiki cocktails including a frosty Hennessy-based pina colada served with a giant slice of fresh pineapple and the Zombie Punk Drink, blending light and dark rums with 151 and absinthe. If you’re aiming to stay away from the hard stuff during a working lunch, there’s also a list of natural wines available by the bottle or glass.

Lauren Saria

Chika & Sake

Anyone looking to explore the wide world of sake should head over to the new Chika and Sake, a tiny new bar and restaurant pouring an ever-changing selection of sake along with a menu of Japanese small plates. Chika Ohata worked for a number of years at Hayes Valley shop True Sake and now hopes to help educate drinkers with a selection of about 15 to 20 sakes poured by the glass or carafe, plus sake flights.

Hazie's

With a prime location just off Patricia’s Green in the heart of Hayes Valley, it’s little surprise that new restaurant and bar Hazie’s seems to have found a niche as a solid spot for an after-work drink and light bite in the neighborhood. The cocktails keep things relatively simple with few enough ingredients to count on one hand, plus a trio of large format options to share among a group of friends.

Hardy Wilson

Bar Agricole

After more than two and a half years away, owner Thad Vogler’s James Beard Award-winning Bar Agricole resumed shaking and stirring single-origin spirits into refined cocktails on August 3. The bar returns in a new SoMa space wrapped in warm woods and painted cool blue-and-grey tones. In addition to a menu of cocktails starring thoughtfully sourced spirits, chefs Will Napoli and Nick Balla offer seasonal and ingredient-driven plates like tomatoes with yellow wax beans and grilled chicken in green olive salsa.

Patricia Chang

The Hideout

Dalva reopened with a sleek aesthetic and new menu way back in January, but it wasn’t until August that owners Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud and Eric Ochoa began inviting guests back into the not-so-secret back bar the Hideout. For longtime fans, it’s a bit of a flip-flop from the previous iteration; now the dark and moody Hideout is your destination for classic cocktails and high-end spirits, while the front bar, Dalva itself, caters to the craft cocktail crowd.

Olfactory Brewing & Blending

The Dogpatch is home to a new brewery with the opening of Olfactory Brewing on Third Street. The brewery comes from a team of beer industry veterans and focuses on pales, lagers, funk, and barrel-aged beers. It’s a dog-friendly scene with about a half-dozen fresh brews on tap including a light lager called Easy Plateau made exclusively with local malt from Admiral Maltings.  

El Chato

A little piece of Spain has installed itself in the Mission with the opening of El Chato, a self-described “Spanish-style taberna” with a menu of small plates and an intriguing list of European (mostly Spanish) wines. Choose between a full glass or a smaller “chato” pour so you can explore less-common varietals like merseguera and listán negro while you snack on jamon Iberico or gazpacho.

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