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26 Excellent Wine Bars in San Francisco

From hip drinking enclaves to the back of a wine store

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For some, the words “wine bar” still conjure cliché lounges from the ’90s, when buttery Chardonnays were the drink of the day. A new generation of winemakers (and drinkers) have paved the way for a diverse selection of varietals, styles, and environments in which to enjoy them. Now, San Francisco wine therapy comes in lots of shapes and sizes, with more options joining the wine bar scene all the time. Here are 24 excellent choices for a bite, a few glasses of something good, or, better yet, the whole bottle.

Note: Map points are listed West to East, not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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California Wine Merchant

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An impressive California-centric wine list and a friendly welcome ensure this rather small wine bar punches well above its weight. The combination wine store and wine bar has been a Marina fixture since 1974, where handmade redwood shelves display wine bottles from floor to ceiling. They’re pouring in elegant Reidel glassware seven nights a week until late.

Connie S./Yelp

Nectar Wine Lounge

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Like bees to nectar, wine geeks seek out this establishment for its international 800-bottle wine list. If you’re less than an oenophile, why not try a flight? The kitchen produces savory snacks, sweets and a mix-and-match cheese and salumi selection. Just off Chestnut Street, the Marina’s first-ever wine bar uses muted movies as moving wall art and candle light to set the atmosphere.

From the team behind The Barrel Room (both in SF and Oakland), this Marina wine bar and restaurant has flipped the script on wine tasting. Dishes here were developed to pair with two different wines, each one chosen to contrast or complement. The pairings are recommended, but it’s also a great place to stop by for a glass at the bar, or in the pleasant, firepit-studded garden patio.

The Hidden Vine

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Add the X-factor to an after-work date when you book the outdoor bocce ball court in advance. Down a little FiDi lane, there’s nothing discreet about the Old World/New World wine list of nearly 200 bottles including 40 by the glass. Romantic nooks for real conversations and low lighting, background music enhance the date night quality while small bites and sliders ensure nobody leaves hungry.

The Hidden Vine

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant

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A magnet for visitors and local wine lovers alike, a superior selection and unbeatable people-watching makes this a destination wine bar. With neighbors like Cowgirl Creamery and Hog Island Oyster Co., there’s always something worthwhile to eat when settling in to explore one of the Bay Area’s biggest and best inventories of boutique producers. Talk to the staff to tap into a wealth of knowledge.    

The Barrel Room

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Carefully curated, regionally rotating, small production. Singled out for a 2016 award of excellence from Wine Spectator, only the best wines even make it to the cellar here, no less to your glass. The restaurant menu is paired with regional wines to focus on a different corner of the world each quarter. A speakeasy space is tucked away downstairs.

The Barrel Room
The Barrel Room

Amelie is where cheese, wine, and charcuterie meet by candlelight. It’s lauded for its outstanding wines, authentic vibes, red lacquer interiors, and occasional live jazz. Weekday happy hour blows it away with $10 customized flights, and weekends get quite crowded in this small space.   

Amelie

Scopo Divino

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This friendly, grown up lounge in Lower Pac Heights provides a welcome neighborhood addition. Half-price Tuesdays pertain to single glasses and curated bottle selections from the “library wall.” Highlights include: Italian dishes from the kitchen, weeknight happy hours with dollar oysters, and Sunday night live jazz.

Scopo Divino Scopo Divino

Resolute

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Gracing Geary in the TenderNob since 2015, Resolute is a handsome space with large picture windows and long wraparound banquettes. Go with white, sparkling, or a rosé flight, or pair a properly aged domestic red with pizza, a panini, or cheese and charcuterie. A three-hour-long happy hour (!) every day lasts until 7 p.m.   

Resolute

Press Club

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Located in a sleek underground space, the Press Club is sophisticated enough for a “going out” outfit, but casual enough for post-work drinks, too. An early adopter of the Coravin system, which pours wine from the bottle without removing the cork to ensure freshness, The Press Club sports a five-page list of wines by the glass. There’s also a short food menu, and on happy hour, half-price on wine bottles $70 and more. On weekend nights, a DJ picks up the pace until midnight.

Press Club

Wine Down SF

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When location meets price, you’ve got a winning combination for after work gatherings in SoMa. Opened in summer 2016, Wine Down wears its simple decor lightly. Drinkers will find some stools at high tops and at the generous sized bar, but many elect to just stand and mingle as they imbibe. A younger crowd falls in with the tagline decorating the wall: Drink Up!

Wine Down Wine Down

High Treason

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Tucked between the Clement Street lineup of pan-Asian eateries and old-time Irish pubs, veteran sommeliers Michael Ireland (The French Laundry, Quince) and John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko) delivered just what the Inner Richmond needed upon their 2016 arrival. Customers are offered a taste before selecting from a well-curated selection of wines by the glass. The list rotates while they spin the vinyl, and occasionally, High Treason hosts live DJs.

Tofino Wines

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It’s easy to appreciate the great bones in this big, open space that houses a Laurel Heights retail wine shop and bar. More than 800 wines impart a sense of France, Italy, Spain, Austria and America, with over 900 bottles for purchase, and 30 available by the glass. There’s a small food menu and a happy hour, too.

Tofino

More proof positive that Hayes Valley is the place for cozy wine bars. This one, with 16 seats, has a slightly pastoral vibe with its interiors of plain white and wood. The kitchen produces appealing snacks, lunch, and dinner to accompany primarily European wines. The owner is always on hand to pour tastes, make recommendations, or offer a bite. In Italian, Birba means "little troublemaker,” but at this namesake spot, the only trouble is making sure you’ll get in. And at long last, they’ve just opened their charming back patio.

Birba

Fig & Thistle

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Slightly off the beaten path on a Hayes Valley side street, Fig & Thistle draws crowds for a wide selection of natural wines and laid back vibes from proprietors Angel Davis and Nguey Lay. Thanks to a bunk bed and string lights, the place feels like a very cool sommelier’s dorm room. If you find something you like, you can typically head over to Fig & Thistle’s retail market offshoot in the Castro to pick it up by the bottle.

Terroir

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When it opened a decade ago, Terroir pioneered the organic wine frontier, pouring European wines free of pesticides, herbicides, or sulfur. A recent Friday night featured dollar oysters to pair with a flight of Catalonian wine grown on limestone. A large vinyl collection provides the soundtrack, and occasionally, bluegrass or jazz bands will play. $10 carafes are a draw during Wednesday happy hours.

The Riddler

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Combining Champagne and caviar with a popcorn machine? Brilliant. The interior décor at the Riddler décor strikes gold — on the ceiling, gleaming brass trim, marble table tops, greenery, poster art — but the French bistro chairs and stools can only accommodate 40, so you might have to squeeze or wait your turn. Non-vintage sparkling starts at $12 and vintage Champagne starts at $22 a glass.

Hotel Biron

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A little, narrow wine bar on a little, narrow alley, Hotel Biron is not a hotel at all, but a sultry bar fit for a discrete rendezvous. (The name is inspired by Paris’ Rodin Museum, so monthly art installations add character to exposed brick walls). Conversation at comfy sofas and tables for two is muffled by cork ceilings. About half the 60 wines are offered by the glass or the bottle, and plates of cheese, charcuterie, and pâté are served with fresh baguettes.

Indian Paradox

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This heartfelt, personal wine bar on Divisadero from owner and certified sommelier Kavitha Raghavan seeks to unravel the supposed paradox of pairing wine with Indian food. Whether it’s difficult or not, Raghavan makes it look easy, matching unique bubbles, whites, and reds to Indian small plates, or chaats, like behl puri, a perfect light snack of crispy puffed rice, chutneys, potatoes, and mangoes.

InnerFog

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Fog be damned, drinkers at this Inner Sunset bar will find an unpretentious approach to small-production California wines on a robust glass list. It’s only a short walk from Golden Gate Park, so loyal Sunset residents mix with park-goers from other ‘hoods. On weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., happy hour is a draw, with $6 glasses of wine and comfy sofas that stimulate ease of conversation for small groups.

Innerfog

Swirl on Castro

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Because the sidewalk frontage looks like a spirits retailer, it sometimes throws people off — the tiny wine bar’s in the back. At the end of 2016, the longtime owners passed on their keys to Swirl’s wine and spirits buyer, winemaker Casey Bowers. The nightly lineup features family-owned, sustainable wines from California, Spain, Argentina, France and Italy.

Swirl on Castro
Swirl

20 Spot

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Ever so San Francisco, 20 Spot is a former record store on the the ground floor of a 19th century Victorian house converted into a wine bar and restaurant. Oh, and with no stove, everything is cooked sous-vide. The vibe is that of an ultra-cool friend’s living room, with a choice vinyl collection and the daily playlist printed on the menu. The wine list is heavy on the owner’s favorites: Pinots, French burgundy, German riesling. Recommended snack accompaniment: Deviled eggs with trout roe.

Kathryn Rummel

Yield Wine Bar

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Happily, 10 years after this wine bar opened in a test ground Dogpatch microhood, skeptics of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines have disappeared. Indeed, the trend supports a sister wine bar location, Pause in Hayes Valley. Pair eco-friendly wines with vegetarian-friendly small bites, like vegan flatbread and a super artichoke dip.  

Yield Wine Bar

Gratta Wines

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The Bayview’s legit garage winery Gratta Wines, a project of the passionate winemaker Barbara Gratta, pours delectable blends at a tasting room in the back of the Butchertown Gourmet Marketplace. Enjoy a glass with small plates and treats from its neighbors like Fox and Lion Bread Company, and bring home a bottle of what you like.

Ungrafted

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A roomy wine bar, restaurant, and retail shop from a married couple of veteran sommeliers, Rebecca Fineman and Chris Gaither, Ungrafted is a wine drinke’rs paradise in Dogpatch. Lots of champagne, half bottles, and wines by the glass make up the very serious wine list — which, stored in classic middle school binders, doesn’t take itself way too seriously. A full kitchen is turning out snacks and larger plates, including a must-order za’atar pull apart bread with labne. Want to learn something? Take a class with Fineman, Gaither, or others on their all-sommelier staff. They’re some of the smartest around.

The Quince/Cotogna team’s answer to a Parisian cave a vin or a San Sebastien-style pintxos bar, Verjus is a game-changer for the local wine (and dining) scene. An impressive roster of natural wines are best paired with plates of boudin blanc sausage, pate en croute, and tinned fish from Portugal. A deep vinyl collection spins all night long in the charming, seductive space.

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California Wine Merchant

Connie S./Yelp

An impressive California-centric wine list and a friendly welcome ensure this rather small wine bar punches well above its weight. The combination wine store and wine bar has been a Marina fixture since 1974, where handmade redwood shelves display wine bottles from floor to ceiling. They’re pouring in elegant Reidel glassware seven nights a week until late.

Connie S./Yelp

Nectar Wine Lounge

Like bees to nectar, wine geeks seek out this establishment for its international 800-bottle wine list. If you’re less than an oenophile, why not try a flight? The kitchen produces savory snacks, sweets and a mix-and-match cheese and salumi selection. Just off Chestnut Street, the Marina’s first-ever wine bar uses muted movies as moving wall art and candle light to set the atmosphere.

Parigo

From the team behind The Barrel Room (both in SF and Oakland), this Marina wine bar and restaurant has flipped the script on wine tasting. Dishes here were developed to pair with two different wines, each one chosen to contrast or complement. The pairings are recommended, but it’s also a great place to stop by for a glass at the bar, or in the pleasant, firepit-studded garden patio.

The Hidden Vine

The Hidden Vine

Add the X-factor to an after-work date when you book the outdoor bocce ball court in advance. Down a little FiDi lane, there’s nothing discreet about the Old World/New World wine list of nearly 200 bottles including 40 by the glass. Romantic nooks for real conversations and low lighting, background music enhance the date night quality while small bites and sliders ensure nobody leaves hungry.

The Hidden Vine

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant

A magnet for visitors and local wine lovers alike, a superior selection and unbeatable people-watching makes this a destination wine bar. With neighbors like Cowgirl Creamery and Hog Island Oyster Co., there’s always something worthwhile to eat when settling in to explore one of the Bay Area’s biggest and best inventories of boutique producers. Talk to the staff to tap into a wealth of knowledge.    

The Barrel Room

The Barrel Room
The Barrel Room

Carefully curated, regionally rotating, small production. Singled out for a 2016 award of excellence from Wine Spectator, only the best wines even make it to the cellar here, no less to your glass. The restaurant menu is paired with regional wines to focus on a different corner of the world each quarter. A speakeasy space is tucked away downstairs.

The Barrel Room
The Barrel Room

Amelie

Amelie

Amelie is where cheese, wine, and charcuterie meet by candlelight. It’s lauded for its outstanding wines, authentic vibes, red lacquer interiors, and occasional live jazz. Weekday happy hour blows it away with $10 customized flights, and weekends get quite crowded in this small space.