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Nightlife & Music

Best Bars With Sake On The Peninsula

January 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY EMMA CHARLTON "J

77152160 Best Bars With Sake On The Peninsula(credit: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Set your sights on delicious sake samplers from some of these finest sake servers on the Peninsula. Say that five times fast and you will need to untwist your tongue in order to savor the delicacies these bars pair with the flavorful and diverse sake selections. Many variables come into play when tasting and profiling the flavors of a true sake drink. The quality and taste of this rice wine is based on the rice, water and the skill of the brewers. Few restaurants understand the fine tunings that go into making the perfect sake, and even fewer understand the qualities from one sake to another. The following restaurants/bars are some of those rare exceptions – since these are places that appreciate a good sake.

Kobe Sake
312 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066
(650) 866-3278
www.facebook.com/Kobe-Sake-Sushi-Bar-Restaurant

Swish down some of the best brands in the Peninsula. Kobi whips up a splendid sake, served hot, chilled or in a cocktail. Don’t think twice about ordering a sake bomb with your unagi over rice. The food here is always served fresh. Sake goes with just about everything you order here at Kobe. Look online for the fantastic deals the bar is usually running. DJ music is played here as well on Friday nights. Grab a seat with the friends you meet, and explore, experience and savor the flavors of all the varieties of sake. Your experience, no matter what, will be of a downright enjoyable night. The Raw Sake Lounge is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with drinks served until 1:30 a.m.

Cloudz Hookah Lounge
100 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
(415) 632-6535
www.facebook.com/Cloudz-Hookah-Lounge

If the winter has your frosty bodies in a tither, throw your cold fannies in the car or walk your tail feathers to this hookah bar in Millbrae. Chill out with a hookah and a hot sake, which is sure to keep your toes and nose as snuggly and warm as a bug in a rug. The relaxed and unimposing vibe will keep you cool, calm and collected in your seats, and carrying on with your zen. For fans of sake who do not know what hookah is, it is a water pipe, single or multi-stemmed instrument that vaporizes flavored tobacco by passing this tobacco through a specialized water basin before inhaling.

Amami Sushi
1789 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066
(650) 872-2218
www.facebook.com/Amami

Amami is a late night sushi and sake lover’s dream. It’s safe to say that most of the regular patrons want to keep this gem a secret from those who might discover it – making the long wait times even longer. The food is fresh and incredible, which explains why this is a busy joint from 5 p.m. until closing time (12 a.m.). Call ahead for reservations. The place wouldn’t be this busy all of the time if the service, drinks and food stunk.

Three Seasons
518 Bryant St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 838-0353
www.threeseasonsrestaurant.com

Three Seasons has a clean, cool, friendly and attentive staff, with a wide selection of alcohol – including, of course, sake! The bar/restaurant is located in a quaint plaza. You have the option to savor the flavors of your sake indoors or sip your sake and munch on delicious entrees and appetizers outside.

Fuki Sushi
4119 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 494-9383
www.fukishushi.com

Decorated in ornate, Japanese ambiance, this bar and eatery serves some of the freshest meals. Combining these dinners with a hot or cold sake is highly recommended. Try sake and sashimi, sake and tempura, sake with noodles and broth, sake and edamame or sake and rainbow rolls. There are endless combinations and possibilities when sampling a sake with the choices on the menu. Or, sake can be enjoyed alone, just don’t leave hungry.

Zen Bistro
420 Broadway
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 697-9988
www.facebook.com/zenbistromillbrae

Don’t skip out on visiting this trendy, hip restaurant decorated to dazzle and delight. Savor the flavors of the sake the restaurant pours. The best deal no doubt is the $1 sake/$1 oyster Wednesdays, or come out for the $7 sushi nights on Thursdays. Zen will leave you feeling the love for all of the chefs, who happen to be the finest sushi chefs in America. The 20 years of experience and attention to quality is what makes this bistro one of the ‘must visit’ places on the Peninsula.

Bashamichi
1390 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
(650) 742-1003
www.bashamichirestaurant.com

Let your taste buds do the walking at this meat-oriented Japanese eatery specializing in steaks and beef dishes. Customers compare this restaurant to the authentic look and feel of a dining experience in Japan. A great selection of different sake (including suigei, hakkaisan, dassai and others), shochu, wine and beer is a bonus to what is offered from the full-size menu – quite appealing to sake lovers throughout the Bay. There is plenty of street parking, and the location is in a very convenient spot for late-night diners traveling to the Peninsula. This restaurant is loaded with potential. If you are a sake and meat lover, do not hesitate to plan a visit to this exquisite place.

Kelly Gullo is a freelance writer in San Francisco, CA. Kellys topics are about music and nightlife. Kelly has also written a variety of articles on health and dieting and topics related to the environment. Kelly has a degree in journalism and public relations from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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