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The Treasury

14 Refreshing Summer Cocktails Around the Bay

Embrace those summer vibes as the days turn long with highball cocktails

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Highballs are traditionally made with one base spirit (most often whiskey) and a big pour of soda in a tall Collins glass brimming with ice, making them the perfect, refreshing drink for summer — whether it's to mentally escape from the fog or soak up the midday rays. Today, Bay Area bartenders are stretching the classic definition with interesting spirits and little additional bursts of flavor from citrus, oils, and more. Here are 14 places serving excellent highballs so you can get in on all that refreshing, bubbly action.

Check out the San Francisco Cocktail Heatmap for more great places to grab a cocktail.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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World-renowned ABV in the Mission adds to its roster of modern classics with the Casino Highball, a slightly funky glass of tequila blanco, cappalletti (a red aperitif), orange bitters, and soda.

ABV

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

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For a richer, less traditional take on the highball, Alchemist Bar and Lounge whips up The Graceland, mixing Jack Daniels, peanut creme liqueur, Giffards banana liqueur, hickory liquid smoke, and cream soda. The location makes it a convenient stop after a Giants game.

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

The Bywater

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David Kinch's highly lauded New Orleans-inspired restaurant in the South Bay hired Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt (Tosca Cafe) to concoct its opening cocktail menu. Among other easy, imaginatively executed sippers is the Celery Highball, a clean blend of vodka or gin (your choice), celery, fino sherry, lemon, soda, and a touch of salt. Add in an open patio and more reliably warm South Bay weather, and it's almost like a staycation.

Cadence

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Available as part of Cadence's newly-added happy hour (weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), the Chartreuse and Tonic ($7) is an herbaceous, but clean blend of monk-distilled green Chartreuse and house tonic. The cocktail celebrates the house's favorite spirit — proven by the Chartreuse logos tattooed on both executive chef Joey Elenterio and bartender Andrew Calisterio.

Cadence

Delarosa

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For sun drenched summer days, Delarosa's patio in Yerba Buena provides a relaxing al fresco setting to sip on its savory Cybar Highball, a blend of Cynar (artichoke liqueur), seltzer, grapefruit, and salt.

Delarosa / Instagram

Bar manager Nicky Beyries spotlights highballs on a rotating basis, since the light, fizzy drink provides such a ready companion to the food, which is run in from the revered Foreign Cinema kitchen next door. She currently features the Pink Flamingo, made from spicy Lofi gentian amaro, soda, and a little grapefruit juice.

Laszlo

Liholiho Yacht Club

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Slip into island time at the extremely popular, Hawaii-influenced Liholiho Yacht Club, which serves the light and refreshing Clifton Special, made with Belgian spirit Diep 9 Genever, coconut water, coconut syrup, and soda.

Liholiho Yacht Club / Instagram

Mr Tipple's Recording Studio

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For a spicy version of the highball, bar and live music venue Mr Tipple's Recording Studio integrates Lairds apple brandy, pluot shrub, lime, soda, and habanero pepper for its Kind of Purple cocktail.

Mr Tipple's Recording Studio

Book-themed Novela in Yerba Buena presents a more complex version of the highball with its Frank Carmody, a blend of six ingredients instead of just two: mezcal and tequila mixed with beet juice, orange juice, and grapefruit soda, all garnished with a cranberry salt rim.

Novela

Highballs are all the rage in Japan, and Pabu serves a classic Japanese version of it using the floral Hakashu 12 Japanese whisky with Perrier.

Prizefighter

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With a large outdoor patio, well-executed cocktails, and the option to bring in pizza from next door, Prizefighter embodies some of the best ways to kick back. The Emeryville bar dedicates an entire portion of its menu to "The Soda Fountain," a variety of mostly classic cocktails with soda or sparkling wine. This includes the Cubre Libre (rum, lime, cola), the Whiskey Apple Soda (rye, apple, lemon, soda), and the Paloma Fresca (tequila, grapefruit, lime, soda).

Prizefighter

Ramen Shop

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Fit for the Oakland ramen bar, bar manager Chris Lane's formidable cocktail program has always paid tribute to both the Japanese traditions and the local context. His five-drink highball menu is no exception. He offers more traditionally-inspired drinks like the Harmony Highball (Hikibiki Harmony, seltzer, and mint leaf) and the Pure Malt Highball (Taketsuru Pure Malt Whisky, seltzer, and lemon oil) using Japanese spirits. At same time, he brings to the forefront a few highballs that leverage locally-made St. George whiskey and shochu, spirits on which Lane and the distillery collaborated.

Tosca Cafe

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For a little sip and a plate of pasta, check out the newly-revamped menu at North Beach mainstay Tosca Cafe. The savory Even Steven plays off one of executive chef Josh Even's favorite ingredients — marjoram, which is paired with gin or vodka (your choice), lemon, dry sherry, and soda.

The Treasury

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One of San Francisco's trendiest bars, the Treasury makes a self-aware nod to the highball with The Selfie, a Tanqueray Bloom gin and tonic highball spiced up with housemade cherry and ginger-infused ice cubes.

The Treasury

ABV

ABV

World-renowned ABV in the Mission adds to its roster of modern classics with the Casino Highball, a slightly funky glass of tequila blanco, cappalletti (a red aperitif), orange bitters, and soda.

ABV

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

For a richer, less traditional take on the highball, Alchemist Bar and Lounge whips up The Graceland, mixing Jack Daniels, peanut creme liqueur, Giffards banana liqueur, hickory liquid smoke, and cream soda. The location makes it a convenient stop after a Giants game.

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

The Bywater

David Kinch's highly lauded New Orleans-inspired restaurant in the South Bay hired Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt (Tosca Cafe) to concoct its opening cocktail menu. Among other easy, imaginatively executed sippers is the Celery Highball, a clean blend of vodka or gin (your choice), celery, fino sherry, lemon, soda, and a touch of salt. Add in an open patio and more reliably warm South Bay weather, and it's almost like a staycation.

Cadence

Cadence

Available as part of Cadence's newly-added happy hour (weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), the Chartreuse and Tonic ($7) is an herbaceous, but clean blend of monk-distilled green Chartreuse and house tonic. The cocktail celebrates the house's favorite spirit — proven by the Chartreuse logos tattooed on both executive chef Joey Elenterio and bartender Andrew Calisterio.

Cadence

Delarosa

Delarosa / Instagram

For sun drenched summer days, Delarosa's patio in Yerba Buena provides a relaxing al fresco setting to sip on its savory Cybar Highball, a blend of Cynar (artichoke liqueur), seltzer, grapefruit, and salt.

Delarosa / Instagram

Laszlo

Laszlo

Bar manager Nicky Beyries spotlights highballs on a rotating basis, since the light, fizzy drink provides such a ready companion to the food, which is run in from the revered Foreign Cinema kitchen next door. She currently features the Pink Flamingo, made from spicy Lofi gentian amaro, soda, and a little grapefruit juice.

Laszlo

Liholiho Yacht Club

Liholiho Yacht Club / Instagram

Slip into island time at the extremely popular, Hawaii-influenced Liholiho Yacht Club, which serves the light and refreshing Clifton Special, made with Belgian spirit Diep 9 Genever, coconut water, coconut syrup, and soda.

Liholiho Yacht Club / Instagram

Mr Tipple's Recording Studio

Mr Tipple's Recording Studio

For a spicy version of the highball, bar and live music venue Mr Tipple's Recording Studio integrates Lairds apple brandy, pluot shrub, lime, soda, and habanero pepper for its Kind of Purple cocktail.

Mr Tipple's Recording Studio

Novela

Novela

Book-themed Novela in Yerba Buena presents a more complex version of the highball with its Frank Carmody, a blend of six ingredients instead of just two: mezcal and tequila mixed with beet juice, orange juice, and grapefruit soda, all garnished with a cranberry salt rim.

Novela

PABU

Highballs are all the rage in Japan, and Pabu serves a classic Japanese version of it using the floral Hakashu 12 Japanese whisky with Perrier.

Prizefighter

Prizefighter

With a large outdoor patio, well-executed cocktails, and the option to bring in pizza from next door, Prizefighter embodies some of the best ways to kick back. The Emeryville bar dedicates an entire portion of its menu to "The Soda Fountain," a variety of mostly classic cocktails with soda or sparkling wine. This includes the Cubre Libre (rum, lime, cola), the Whiskey Apple Soda (rye, apple, lemon, soda), and the Paloma Fresca (tequila, grapefruit, lime, soda).

Prizefighter

Ramen Shop

Fit for the Oakland ramen bar, bar manager Chris Lane's formidable cocktail program has always paid tribute to both the Japanese traditions and the local context. His five-drink highball menu is no exception. He offers more traditionally-inspired drinks like the Harmony Highball (Hikibiki Harmony, seltzer, and mint leaf) and the Pure Malt Highball (Taketsuru Pure Malt Whisky, seltzer, and lemon oil) using Japanese spirits. At same time, he brings to the forefront a few highballs that leverage locally-made St. George whiskey and shochu, spirits on which Lane and the distillery collaborated.

Tosca Cafe

For a little sip and a plate of pasta, check out the newly-revamped menu at North Beach mainstay Tosca Cafe. The savory Even Steven plays off one of executive chef Josh Even's favorite ingredients — marjoram, which is paired with gin or vodka (your choice), lemon, dry sherry, and soda.

The Treasury

The Treasury

One of San Francisco's trendiest bars, the Treasury makes a self-aware nod to the highball with The Selfie, a Tanqueray Bloom gin and tonic highball spiced up with housemade cherry and ginger-infused ice cubes.

The Treasury

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