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Stephanie Amberg

The Hottest New Cocktail Bars in San Francisco

Where to sip the freshest cocktails in the bay

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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.

For The Record

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The Marina’s new retro cocktail destination grooved into the neighborhood with wood paneled walls, glittering disco balls, and a menu of drinks inspired by songs from the late 1960s through the mid ‘80s. Former Liholiho Yacht Club and Good Good Culture Club bar director Janice Bailon channeled the free wheeling energy of Marlena Shaw’s California Soul into a layered drink made with vodka, Lillet Blanc, honey, bubbles, and Campari. Food comes from chef Frank Hua (Unco Frank’s) with options like smoked trout roe-topped deviled eggs and fish sliders.  

Four cocktails on a wooden bar rail in front of a retro mural on a wall. Patricia Chang

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

Members Only

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Members Only is the new bi-level bar and restaurant taking over the former Saratoga spot, but with a fun bonus: a sister bar called Finders Keepers located in the basement, with its own distinct drink menu. Finders Keepers found inspiration from Haight’s now-closed Loved to Death, so expect some fun quirk alongside your cocktail.

A red cocktail garnished with a red flower on a marble table. Kelly Puleio

Bottle Club Pub

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The latest venture from the Future Bars team rolled into the former Olympic Cafe space on Geary in mid-March. Bottle Club Pub is a throwback to the heyday of American whiskey, with a world-class collection of vintage ceramic decanters and a one-of-a-kind backbar made so rotating shelves showcase an impressive selection of brown spirits. Enjoy one of general manager Jayson Wilde’s cocktails — categorized as either “reviving and refreshing” or “bold will hold” — along with a plate of fish and chips, smashburger, or wedge salad. 

The back bar at Bottle Club Pub with a middle shelf in blurry motion. Patricia Chang

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

Dahlia SF

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The Mission has a new cocktail bar to explore and Dahlia Lounge comes courtesy of a motley crew of industry veterans including Paul Volfovski (Copyright, Trademark) and Kingston Wu (Westwood, Thriller Social Club). Volfovski hopes to make the dark and moody bar, decked out with cheeky neon signs and other highly Instagrammable decor, a neighborhood destination for solid cocktails, happy hour, and live music.

A cocktail in a blue tiki glass on a table next to a menu. Paul Volfovski

Bar Nonnina

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Bar Nonnina is a new addition to the Fiorella Sunset location, a small bar off the rooftop patio of the restaurant, hidden behind a sliding pocket door. Expect a fun drink menu featuring items such as the Slushie di Modena, a lambrusco slushy, or Galileo’s Gaze, the bar’s take on a white negroni with strawberry-infused gin, as well as an abbreviated food menu if you need a bite. The space is tiny — it hits capacity at 14 guests — so reservations are suggested.

A small marble bar in a dark room with a black ceiling. Kelly Puleio

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.

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.

For The Record

The Marina’s new retro cocktail destination grooved into the neighborhood with wood paneled walls, glittering disco balls, and a menu of drinks inspired by songs from the late 1960s through the mid ‘80s. Former Liholiho Yacht Club and Good Good Culture Club bar director Janice Bailon channeled the free wheeling energy of Marlena Shaw’s California Soul into a layered drink made with vodka, Lillet Blanc, honey, bubbles, and Campari. Food comes from chef Frank Hua (Unco Frank’s) with options like smoked trout roe-topped deviled eggs and fish sliders.  

Four cocktails on a wooden bar rail in front of a retro mural on a wall. Patricia Chang

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

Members Only

Members Only is the new bi-level bar and restaurant taking over the former Saratoga spot, but with a fun bonus: a sister bar called Finders Keepers located in the basement, with its own distinct drink menu. Finders Keepers found inspiration from Haight’s now-closed Loved to Death, so expect some fun quirk alongside your cocktail.

A red cocktail garnished with a red flower on a marble table. Kelly Puleio

Bottle Club Pub

The latest venture from the Future Bars team rolled into the former Olympic Cafe space on Geary in mid-March. Bottle Club Pub is a throwback to the heyday of American whiskey, with a world-class collection of vintage ceramic decanters and a one-of-a-kind backbar made so rotating shelves showcase an impressive selection of brown spirits. Enjoy one of general manager Jayson Wilde’s cocktails — categorized as either “reviving and refreshing” or “bold will hold” — along with a plate of fish and chips, smashburger, or wedge salad. 

The back bar at Bottle Club Pub with a middle shelf in blurry motion. Patricia Chang

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

Dahlia SF

The Mission has a new cocktail bar to explore and Dahlia Lounge comes courtesy of a motley crew of industry veterans including Paul Volfovski (Copyright, Trademark) and Kingston Wu (Westwood, Thriller Social Club). Volfovski hopes to make the dark and moody bar, decked out with cheeky neon signs and other highly Instagrammable decor, a neighborhood destination for solid cocktails, happy hour, and live music.

A cocktail in a blue tiki glass on a table next to a menu. Paul Volfovski

Bar Nonnina

Bar Nonnina is a new addition to the Fiorella Sunset location, a small bar off the rooftop patio of the restaurant, hidden behind a sliding pocket door. Expect a fun drink menu featuring items such as the Slushie di Modena, a lambrusco slushy, or Galileo’s Gaze, the bar’s take on a white negroni with strawberry-infused gin, as well as an abbreviated food menu if you need a bite. The space is tiny — it hits capacity at 14 guests — so reservations are suggested.

A small marble bar in a dark room with a black ceiling. Kelly Puleio

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.

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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