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Tosca's Cafe Brulot.
Tosca's Cafe Brulot.
Noelle Chun

10 Flaming Cocktails to Set Your Night on Fire

Where to mix your alcoholism and your pyromania.

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Tosca's Cafe Brulot.
| Noelle Chun

It is a simple fact that people love stuff that's on fire, whether it's as small as a cigarette or as massive as a fire pit. It is also a simple fact that people love booze. But only a small, hardened group of expert bartenders has the stamina to combine the two. For Cocktail Week, here now are 10 San Francisco bars that serve cocktails lit on fire, whether they're to enhance the flavor (as in a classic New Orleans-style Cafe Brulot) or enhance the party (hello, volcano bowls). Light it up.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Smuggler's Cove

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650 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 869-1900
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The grandaddy of flaming cocktail emporiums, this tiki-inspired bar is best known for the Volcano, which blends private reserve rum, pineapple, lime, passion fruit, and maraschino in a bowl anchored by four tiki heads, each of which are set aflame. It serves four drinkers.

2. Bamboo Hut

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479 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 989-8555
A lot less classy than Smuggler's Cove's bowl (though equally fun), the Bamboo Hut volcano bowl is a frozen drink in banana, strawberry, or coconut for $20 (or $12 at happy hour), with a flaming shot of 151 in the middle. It serves 2-3, though the occasional intrepid boozehound tackles it solo.

3. The Nags Head

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5346 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 387-9510
This rowdy dive bar has a sideline in flaming shots like the Lamborghini, which is set on fire and sipped by the drinker while two more shots are added to quench the flame. Flaming Dr. Pepper shots are another house specialty. It's filled with the kind of beginner drinkers who love this stuff, so be warned.

4. HECHO

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2200 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 926-5630
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Hecho's Guns a Blazin', a combo of gin, green Chartreuse, pineapple, lime, and cardamom bitters, arrives with a hollowed-out lime, en fuego, on top. Order with the fajitas for the full effect.

5. Gaspar Brasserie

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185 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 576-8800
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The Cafe Brulot, a New Orleans after-dinner favorite, is prepared tableside at Gaspar, with cognac, orange liqueur, sugar cubes, cinnamon, and cloves. It's set aflame, then extinguished with coffee. For $28, it serves two people.

6. Tosca Cafe

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242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-9651
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Tosca Cafe also offers a cafe brulot, in a slightly less dramatic fashion than Gaspar. Here, the brandy and spices are assembled in a glass, with coffee poured over from a French press; the bartender then sets the orange peel inside alight.

7. Dirty Habit

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12 4th St, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 348-1555
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Brian Means makes his Pink Elephant by setting a glass of absinthe on fire, then pouring over a shaken mix of gin, pineapple syrup, lemon, and vermouth to create an after-dinner powerhouse that's still refreshing.

8. Colibrí Mexican Bistro

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438 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 440-2737
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Not for the faint of heart, Colibri's Macho Margarita is made by setting an entire jalapeño aflame, then muddling it into a margarita. It's hot in more ways than one.

9. Bergerac

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316 11th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 255-9440
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They can't always accommodate it, especially at busy hours, but every once in a while, Bergerac will create a domino effect of their Fireball Inside Her drop shots, balancing them on the rim of a glass of cider. A fire-breathing bartender will set them all aflame, then knock them into the glasses in a row. It's an impressive show, and the resulting drink is a chuggable dose of apple-cinnamon goodness.

10. Topsy's Fun House

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260 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 757-0290
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Befitting a clown-themed bar, the Old Flame at Topsy's is a Basil Hayden's Old Fashioned with a twist: a pour of absinthe on top that the bartender sets on fire.

1. Smuggler's Cove

650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The grandaddy of flaming cocktail emporiums, this tiki-inspired bar is best known for the Volcano, which blends private reserve rum, pineapple, lime, passion fruit, and maraschino in a bowl anchored by four tiki heads, each of which are set aflame. It serves four drinkers.
650 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102

2. Bamboo Hut

479 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
A lot less classy than Smuggler's Cove's bowl (though equally fun), the Bamboo Hut volcano bowl is a frozen drink in banana, strawberry, or coconut for $20 (or $12 at happy hour), with a flaming shot of 151 in the middle. It serves 2-3, though the occasional intrepid boozehound tackles it solo.
479 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133

3. The Nags Head

5346 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
This rowdy dive bar has a sideline in flaming shots like the Lamborghini, which is set on fire and sipped by the drinker while two more shots are added to quench the flame. Flaming Dr. Pepper shots are another house specialty. It's filled with the kind of beginner drinkers who love this stuff, so be warned.
5346 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

4. HECHO

2200 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Hecho's Guns a Blazin', a combo of gin, green Chartreuse, pineapple, lime, and cardamom bitters, arrives with a hollowed-out lime, en fuego, on top. Order with the fajitas for the full effect.
2200 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

5. Gaspar Brasserie

185 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94104
The Cafe Brulot, a New Orleans after-dinner favorite, is prepared tableside at Gaspar, with cognac, orange liqueur, sugar cubes, cinnamon, and cloves. It's set aflame, then extinguished with coffee. For $28, it serves two people.
185 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94104

6. Tosca Cafe

242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Tosca Cafe also offers a cafe brulot, in a slightly less dramatic fashion than Gaspar. Here, the brandy and spices are assembled in a glass, with coffee poured over from a French press; the bartender then sets the orange peel inside alight.
242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

7. Dirty Habit

12 4th St, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Brian Means makes his Pink Elephant by setting a glass of absinthe on fire, then pouring over a shaken mix of gin, pineapple syrup, lemon, and vermouth to create an after-dinner powerhouse that's still refreshing.
12 4th St, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Colibrí Mexican Bistro

438 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Not for the faint of heart, Colibri's Macho Margarita is made by setting an entire jalapeño aflame, then muddling it into a margarita. It's hot in more ways than one.
438 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. Bergerac

316 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
They can't always accommodate it, especially at busy hours, but every once in a while, Bergerac will create a domino effect of their Fireball Inside Her drop shots, balancing them on the rim of a glass of cider. A fire-breathing bartender will set them all aflame, then knock them into the glasses in a row. It's an impressive show, and the resulting drink is a chuggable dose of apple-cinnamon goodness.
316 11th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Topsy's Fun House

260 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
Befitting a clown-themed bar, the Old Flame at Topsy's is a Basil Hayden's Old Fashioned with a twist: a pour of absinthe on top that the bartender sets on fire.
260 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA

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