Nightlife & Music

5 Spots for a Drink In the Sunset District

June 1, 2011 10:59 AM

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http://www.riptidesf.com/

My best friend refers to the outer Western edge of the city as the boonies. I think he’s wrong. It’s not the easiest place to get to sure, even though the N & L Muni trains go all the way to the beach, it can be brutally cold without a windbreak, and you can see nothing for a lot of blocks except houses. But don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot going on out here (just please, don’t call it the “Funset”). Irving between 9th and 12th Avenue and again at 19th to about 23rd are busy areas, featuring a variety of bars and restaurants. Taraval around 19th also features a variety of places to eat and drink. But what if you find yourself in the Sunset and in need of a drink, whether escaping your parents’ house after a visit or a fundraiser at the Irish Center and need something a little different? Here are a few places a little further afield in the mostly residential neighborhood to grab a cocktail. And you’ll need it. Because you’re freezing.


The Riptide
3639 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116
The Riptide

A cozy bar featuring a decidedly surfer vibe, with brick walls, knotty pine, and a fireplace to keep you warm, The Riptide is a mere half block from an L stop. There is always something going on here, whether an open mic night, a DJ spinning tunes or their famous WET Wednesdays where they feature a surf movie with free snacks. Incredibly friendly staff, great drink specials (including one of the only occasional ladies nights I’m aware of) and an inviting atmosphere full of very casual surfer types make this spot a must visit.


Costello’s Four Deuces
2319 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116
Costello’s Four Deuces

A heavy Irish contingent frequent the Four Deuces, which means it is incredibly jovial, always has a soccer game on the TV and the price of a pint is reasonable. Come here for the karaoke, the DJ, or the free food that sometimes accompanies a football game. The Deuces is something of a Sunset institution, welcoming generations of kids home for Christmas break. It’s been spruced up in the last couple years, but that doesn’t mean it got fancy, just livable. Be warned: Irish means really Irish. You will find yourself nodding regularly through a brogue you can’t decipher. Though, really, that’s less of a warning than something awesome.


Tiki Haven
1334 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122
Tiki Haven on Yelp

If you’re a sucker for rum and fruit juice (who isn’t?), this is your brand spanking new place to head to in the Sunset. This isn’t the place for your mixologist made mai tai, just a pleasantly drinkable version of the Polynesian favorites. A Pringles machine for your late night (afternoon?) snacking-needs adorns the bar with the usual thatched Tiki decor. A block and a half from 19th Avenue, Tiki Haven is a welcoming new respite from the usual dimly-lit dive bars of the Sunset.


Durty Nelly’s
2328 Irving Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Durty Nelly’s

Situated at the tail end of a busy section of Irving Street, and previously named one of the best fish & chips spots in the city, Durty Nelly’s endures as a cozy place to grab a drink. Another bar heavy with the feelings of Ireland, this place is filled with affable locals having a raucous good time. The food is delicious, above average for your typical pub, and the place can be appropriate for families during the daylight hours, but when it gets dark? Watch out for the college kids who have had a few too many of the signature cherry bombs. Be sure to try one yourself. You won’t regret it. Or you might…


Pittsburgh’s Pub
4207 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
Pittsburgh’s Pub on Yelp

Thanks to being anchored by the always popular Java Beach and newcomers like Outerlands, the stretch of blocks at the end of Judah has become increasingly popular. Included in this, add Pittsburgh’s Pub as your place to get a drink. Don’t call this place anything but a dive bar, as that what it most truly, and proudly, is. Pool tables, pin ball, classic rock on the juke box? Yep, dive bar. But that also means you will be greeted warmly, even if a newcomer, and the happy hour specials are worth stopping in for.

-Lisa Tennenbaum, CBS San Francisco

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