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Terry's Lodge.
Terry's Lodge.
Photo: thomashawk/Flickr

SF Bartenders' Favorite Spots to Drink

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Terry's Lodge.
| Photo: thomashawk/Flickr

Even bartenders like to go have a drink sometimes, and for Cocktail Week, we asked a group of SF's best craft bartenders about their favorite places to drink in the off-hours. Some preferred a nice glass of wine, others got excited about extensive selections of whiskey and mezcal, and a couple just wanted a fun dive for a relaxing hangout session. Herein, check out day-off bar picks from the cocktail mavens of Rye, Bourbon & Branch, 15 Romolo, Rickhouse, Bar Agricole, and more.


—Noelle Chun

Tend bar for a living? Tell us about your favorite hangouts in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bimbo's 365 Club

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1025 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 474-0365
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Craig Lane, Bar Agricole: “There is this one mustachioed barman who, I swear, has been behind the stick every single time I've ever been to a show for the past 15 years. Even though it's mostly a beer-and-shot crowd that attends rock 'n' roll shows, there is no doubt in my mind that this guy is a pro jock. I've only ever seen him mix a handful of drinks—mostly Manhattans, Martinis and Old Fashioneds—but even if he's just popping crown caps on Budweisers and pouring shots of Fernet, you can just tell by his movements that he knows every inch of that bar as if it were an extension of himself.”

2. Dogpatch Saloon

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2496 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 643-8592
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Jen Ackrill, Rye: “The remodel has updated the neighborhood spot while keeping the integrity of the old space. Beautiful bar, great spirits selection and a thoughtful cocktail list. Not sure why I’m letting people in on my local!”

3. Hotel Biron

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45 Rose St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 703-0403
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Sarah Barron, free agent: "Not a rotating trend spot, this tiny hole-in-the-alley-wall spot has more than proven itself over the years. It's where us industry folks go for killer wines, healthy pours, and an advanced beer selection to help wash away our shifts. The owner serves compassion with no pretense and overwhelming knowledge in a dark cozy spot to make us all feel rosy.”

4. Broken Record

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1166 Geneva Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 963-1713
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Isaac Shumway, Tosca: “For great bar food, great beer, and an amazing whiskey collection.”

5. Padrecito

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901 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 742-5505
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Christina Cabrera, Novela: “David Ruiz heads up the bar program, and it has amazing mezcal cocktails. For me, mezcal is the nectar of the gods. I just love it because it's walking distance from my place, and the boys behind the stick are humble and easy going. It's a chill place to drink, get tipsy and hang with good people. As a bar manager, that's all I seek out on my time off.”

6. The Social Study

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1795 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 292-7417
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Kate Bolton, Maven: “It always has a mellow vibe, and there are games. I’m partial to Uno and the San Francisco trivia cards. It’s beer-and-wine-only, but the list is pretty good, and the Fillmore Shandy is where it’s at. The only thing I wish is that they would give their poor betta fish more water in his bowl!"

7. Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe

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12 William Saroyan Pl
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-4112
Tony Devencenzi, Bourbon and Branch: “Properly poured Guinness and cheese and crackers. It’s filled with random North Beach residents playing the piano or chess. I just feel comfortable here, forget my worries, and it's a great place to catch up with old friends.”

8. Terry's Lodge

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1368 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 731-1200
Timothy Zohn, AQ and TBD: “It’s a dive bar, but a total grumpy old man’s bar. It’s a local spot, and some of the people there have been going to the bar for 20 years.”

9. Zeitgeist

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199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 255-7505
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John Codd, 15 Romolo and Hard Water: “It has an amazing selection of beer, with over 40 beers on tap, and the back patio is just so fun. It’s the best part of the whole place.”

10. Zeki's Bar - Türk Mutfağı

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1319 California St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 928-0677
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Victoria George, Rickhouse and Novela: “I like the atmosphere, with a wood-burning fireplace and multiple bar games readily available for people to use while they're there. They show the Bay Area football games with the sound on! The bartenders understand the need for a balance between classic drinks, craft cocktails, and beer-and-shot pairings.”

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1. Bimbo's 365 Club

1025 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Craig Lane, Bar Agricole: “There is this one mustachioed barman who, I swear, has been behind the stick every single time I've ever been to a show for the past 15 years. Even though it's mostly a beer-and-shot crowd that attends rock 'n' roll shows, there is no doubt in my mind that this guy is a pro jock. I've only ever seen him mix a handful of drinks—mostly Manhattans, Martinis and Old Fashioneds—but even if he's just popping crown caps on Budweisers and pouring shots of Fernet, you can just tell by his movements that he knows every inch of that bar as if it were an extension of himself.”
1025 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Dogpatch Saloon

2496 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Jen Ackrill, Rye: “The remodel has updated the neighborhood spot while keeping the integrity of the old space. Beautiful bar, great spirits selection and a thoughtful cocktail list. Not sure why I’m letting people in on my local!”
2496 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

3. Hotel Biron

45 Rose St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Sarah Barron, free agent: "Not a rotating trend spot, this tiny hole-in-the-alley-wall spot has more than proven itself over the years. It's where us industry folks go for killer wines, healthy pours, and an advanced beer selection to help wash away our shifts. The owner serves compassion with no pretense and overwhelming knowledge in a dark cozy spot to make us all feel rosy.”
45 Rose St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

4. Broken Record

1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
Isaac Shumway, Tosca: “For great bar food, great beer, and an amazing whiskey collection.”
1166 Geneva Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112

5. Padrecito

901 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Christina Cabrera, Novela: “David Ruiz heads up the bar program, and it has amazing mezcal cocktails. For me, mezcal is the nectar of the gods. I just love it because it's walking distance from my place, and the boys behind the stick are humble and easy going. It's a chill place to drink, get tipsy and hang with good people. As a bar manager, that's all I seek out on my time off.”
901 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117

6. The Social Study

1795 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115
Kate Bolton, Maven: “It always has a mellow vibe, and there are games. I’m partial to Uno and the San Francisco trivia cards. It’s beer-and-wine-only, but the list is pretty good, and the Fillmore Shandy is where it’s at. The only thing I wish is that they would give their poor betta fish more water in his bowl!"
1795 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115

7. Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe

12 William Saroyan Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133
Tony Devencenzi, Bourbon and Branch: “Properly poured Guinness and cheese and crackers. It’s filled with random North Beach residents playing the piano or chess. I just feel comfortable here, forget my worries, and it's a great place to catch up with old friends.”
12 William Saroyan Pl
San Francisco, CA 94133

8. Terry's Lodge

1368 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
Timothy Zohn, AQ and TBD: “It’s a dive bar, but a total grumpy old man’s bar. It’s a local spot, and some of the people there have been going to the bar for 20 years.”
1368 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

9. Zeitgeist

199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
John Codd, 15 Romolo and Hard Water: “It has an amazing selection of beer, with over 40 beers on tap, and the back patio is just so fun. It’s the best part of the whole place.”
199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Zeki's Bar - Türk Mutfağı

1319 California St, San Francisco, CA
Victoria George, Rickhouse and Novela: “I like the atmosphere, with a wood-burning fireplace and multiple bar games readily available for people to use while they're there. They show the Bay Area football games with the sound on! The bartenders understand the need for a balance between classic drinks, craft cocktails, and beer-and-shot pairings.”
1319 California St
San Francisco, CA

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