The latest trend in bar world? That would be elevated, chic聽spots with sophisticated menus, occasional neon signs and big names at the helm. From the latest offering by local superstar Traci des Jardins to a tapas-inspired drinking hall in the Castro, the following establishments are perfectly suitable for imbibing, but offer so much more than a next-day hangover.



Located on the edge of the Castro, Botell贸n‘s name means ‘big bottle’ in Spanish, which is already a promising fact. Inside, the atmosphere is unbuttoned and the alcohol is creative; think ros茅 slushies,聽complex tequila cocktails,聽and spicy margaritas. The food offerings range from tasty bites (tuna carpaccio, stuffed ‘potato bomba’ balls) to after-work meals (decadent crab ravioli, mustard-glazed pork chop). A boozy brunch is also offered on the weekends, perfect for those sunny Castro afternoons.

2200A, Market Street


The Beehive

Stylish and buzzing (no pun intended), The Beehive took the Mission by storm since opening its doors earlier this year. The cocktails err on the sweeter side, with standouts like the passion fruit-infused Thunderbird, but the most curious feature is undoubtedly the fondue, the throwback dish that got its groove back. Appearing on the menu in two versions, it’s the bar snack no one saw coming. Swedish meatballs and pigs in a blanket complete the retro theme.

842 Valencia Street


School Night

Tucked away in the Pearl building in the Dogpatch, School Night is the latest project by mega-star chef Traci Des Jardins. The cocktail menu focuses on three trendy spirits; agave, pisco, and whiskey, delivering a tangy and smoky perfection.聽And the food is, as expected鈥 “elevated.” For the ultimate comfort, try the fideos, a short pasta-spin on the traditional paella. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the queso fundido, an addictive cheesy dish containing chorizo and poblano peppers.

601 19th Street


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Hotel San Francisco

With a confusing name (this is a bar, not a hotel) and a neon sign saying “Such a lovely place,”聽Hotel San Francisco is all about uninhibited fun. The art is playful, the chandeliers are enviable and the music is loud, with a sense of humor聽unifying聽the whole endeavor. For example, the food menu is divided into ‘shareable’ and ‘not so shareable’ dishes, and the cocktails are not referring to anything in particular (Moochie Camino, anyone?). Go for the caviar bites and the Sazerac cocktails, and see where the evening takes you.

653 Commercial Street



A classy wine bar in the Marina? This is now a reality, thanks to Howells, a new establishment from聽Nate Welch, the owner of聽California Wine Merchant. Divided into two cozy levels, Howells is excellent for people-watching over a glass of New Zealandic white or a California red. On the extensive food menu, Mediterranean fare like veggie kabobs and mezze plates mingle with all-American hits like Cobb salad and bread pudding.

2373 Chestnut Street