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San Francisco’s 10 Best Restaurants and Bars to Nurse a Broken Heart

Sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name

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San Francisco is notorious for its significantly single population, with roughly 52 percent of marriageable adults in SF flying solo — one of the highest proportions of lone wolves in the country. And yet, when one is recently separated, heartbroken, or just generally lonely, it seems like every spot in town is packed with canoodling couples. That’s why we created this list of San Francisco’s top ten places to nurse a broken heart, which is packed with spots where, should you run into a besotted twosome, the food, drinks, or scene will be too diverting for you to care.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Vesuvio Cafe

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First opened in 1948, Vesuvio Cafe boasted regulars like Beat legends/broken-hearted loons Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, which means that its tolerance for mopeyness is abundantly well tested. It’s also a great spot for judging happy-seeming couples, with second-floor seating that looks out on North Beach’s busiest streets and a crowd that’s unlikely to notice if you weep a bit into your beer.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

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While other fortune cookie makers use mechanical means to create their confections, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory insists on keeping things real by making every thing by hand. Take comfort in that fortitude as you seek some direction for your future. A pack of 50 cookies starts at only $17.50, which means each piece of advice you receive is only 35 cents — far cheaper than therapy.

Pinecrest Diner

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Since 1969, the Pinecrest Diner has served patrons jerked from their slumber by the memory that all is lost, as the spot is and has always been a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week venue. Avoid the nachos, chilli, or salads unless you want to grow even unhappier, and focus on their breakfast offerings, which are also available around the clock.

John’s Grill

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There’s no San Francisco restaurant more noirish than John’s Grill, which since 1908 has been serving fairly standard American classics to Union Square area tourists and a loyal roster of regulars, many of whom dine alone in the spot’s booths or at its bar. One of those most famous (but fictional) regulars: Sam Spade, who dined (frequently alone) at John’s from the pages of Dashiell Hammett’s bad relationship/mystery classic, The Maltese Falcon.

John’s Grill

Sure, your soul aches at what might have been, but the sweet sorrow of parting means that trying to find a table for two at San Francisco’s buzziest restaurants is no longer a problem. Most of the city’s hottest spots — like innovative Moroccan restaurant Aziza, for example — have walk-in bar seating at which the entire menu is served. Aziza also boasts one of the most personable and attentive bar staffs in the city, which means that as long as you’re there, you’ll never feel alone.

Date cake, butterscotch, walnut, crème fraîche ice cream Albert Law

Powerhouse

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Put down your phone, you’re just going to go to his Instagram page and try to figure out where he might be right now. Instead, consider Powerhouse, a bar that since 1997 has catered to gentlemen who seek stiff drinks and fellow gentlemen. Its calendar is dotted with event nights with names like “Junk” and “Stank,” many of which offer drink specials, DJs, and free lube, the latter of which is handy since you tossed the bottle you last used with what’s-his-name.

San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery

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Heartbreak can cause one to question everything — and thwart the ability to decide on anything, even a delicious frozen dessert with which to temporarily numb the pain. That’s where San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery’s ice cream flight comes in. It’s a commitment-phobe’s dream, with five of their small-batch, house-made flavors that you won’t have to share with anyone.

The Lookout

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Few places in San Francisco are better for staring off into the night, sobbing, as you drink a beer than the Lookout, a Castro District gay bar with a mixed gender/orientation crowd. Its wraparound outdoor seating is a perfect place to retreat when the truth of your solitude becomes too much to bear, and Market Street’s whipping winds make a perfect cover for your tears. Plus, they have a perfectly acceptable menu of bar snacks, and you need to get something into your stomach.

The Riptide

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The Riptide, a dive bar at the westernmost edge of the city, is one of San Francisco’s best places to find a single-serving friend. Newcomers to the bar are welcomed by the longstanding spot’s regulars, and by the end of the night, you’ll be pouring your heart out to all your new pals. The next day, you might have a hangover from the bar’s unfussy drink menu, but you’ll feel a bit lighter after unburdening yourself to a bar patron who probably has no memory of what you said the night before.

Philosopher’s Club

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The owners of West Portal dive bar Philosopher’s Club enforce a strict no-laptop use policy, saying that an adherence to screens “defeats the purpose of being in a bar.” Similarly, they’ll cock a brow at you if you spend too much time messing with a tablet or phone. Look, no one said you had to talk to anyone, but wouldn’t you feel better if you made just a little bit of IRL human contact?

Vesuvio Cafe

First opened in 1948, Vesuvio Cafe boasted regulars like Beat legends/broken-hearted loons Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, which means that its tolerance for mopeyness is abundantly well tested. It’s also a great spot for judging happy-seeming couples, with second-floor seating that looks out on North Beach’s busiest streets and a crowd that’s unlikely to notice if you weep a bit into your beer.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

While other fortune cookie makers use mechanical means to create their confections, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory insists on keeping things real by making every thing by hand. Take comfort in that fortitude as you seek some direction for your future. A pack of 50 cookies starts at only $17.50, which means each piece of advice you receive is only 35 cents — far cheaper than therapy.

Pinecrest Diner

Since 1969, the Pinecrest Diner has served patrons jerked from their slumber by the memory that all is lost, as the spot is and has always been a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week venue. Avoid the nachos, chilli, or salads unless you want to grow even unhappier, and focus on their breakfast offerings, which are also available around the clock.

John’s Grill

John’s Grill

There’s no San Francisco restaurant more noirish than John’s Grill, which since 1908 has been serving fairly standard American classics to Union Square area tourists and a loyal roster of regulars, many of whom dine alone in the spot’s booths or at its bar. One of those most famous (but fictional) regulars: Sam Spade, who dined (frequently alone) at John’s from the pages of Dashiell Hammett’s bad relationship/mystery classic, The Maltese Falcon.

John’s Grill

Aziza

Date cake, butterscotch, walnut, crème fraîche ice cream Albert Law

Sure, your soul aches at what might have been, but the sweet sorrow of parting means that trying to find a table for two at San Francisco’s buzziest restaurants is no longer a problem. Most of the city’s hottest spots — like innovative Moroccan restaurant Aziza, for example — have walk-in bar seating at which the entire menu is served. Aziza also boasts one of the most personable and attentive bar staffs in the city, which means that as long as you’re there, you’ll never feel alone.

Date cake, butterscotch, walnut, crème fraîche ice cream Albert Law

Powerhouse

Put down your phone, you’re just going to go to his Instagram page and try to figure out where he might be right now. Instead, consider Powerhouse, a bar that since 1997 has catered to gentlemen who seek stiff drinks and fellow gentlemen. Its calendar is dotted with event nights with names like “Junk” and “Stank,” many of which offer drink specials, DJs, and free lube, the latter of which is handy since you tossed the bottle you last used with what’s-his-name.

San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery

Heartbreak can cause one to question everything — and thwart the ability to decide on anything, even a delicious frozen dessert with which to temporarily numb the pain. That’s where San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery’s ice cream flight comes in. It’s a commitment-phobe’s dream, with five of their small-batch, house-made flavors that you won’t have to share with anyone.

The Lookout

Few places in San Francisco are better for staring off into the night, sobbing, as you drink a beer than the Lookout, a Castro District gay bar with a mixed gender/orientation crowd. Its wraparound outdoor seating is a perfect place to retreat when the truth of your solitude becomes too much to bear, and Market Street’s whipping winds make a perfect cover for your tears. Plus, they have a perfectly acceptable menu of bar snacks, and you need to get something into your stomach.

The Riptide

The Riptide, a dive bar at the westernmost edge of the city, is one of San Francisco’s best places to find a single-serving friend. Newcomers to the bar are welcomed by the longstanding spot’s regulars, and by the end of the night, you’ll be pouring your heart out to all your new pals. The next day, you might have a hangover from the bar’s unfussy drink menu, but you’ll feel a bit lighter after unburdening yourself to a bar patron who probably has no memory of what you said the night before.

Philosopher’s Club

The owners of West Portal dive bar Philosopher’s Club enforce a strict no-laptop use policy, saying that an adherence to screens “defeats the purpose of being in a bar.” Similarly, they’ll cock a brow at you if you spend too much time messing with a tablet or phone. Look, no one said you had to talk to anyone, but wouldn’t you feel better if you made just a little bit of IRL human contact?

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