416 Sycamore Valley Road W.
Danville, CA 94526
www.martinisky.comMartini Sky is a definitive small plate-style restaurant and cocktail lounge, situated on a lovely tree-lined Danville street. Bartenders Brian and Bobby are at the top of their field in creating scrumptious drinks, and are especially known for their delicious martinis. Come for the daily happy hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., for a long list of excellent $8 martinis with names like Cucumber Aloe, Jersey Girl, Fresh Pear and Blackbird. Happy hour also offers beer, wine and well drinks and some notable small plates.
4 Valencia St.
San francisco, CA 94103
www.martunis.ypguides.netA popular after-theater spot, Martuni’s is the perfect place to enjoy a martini anytime the craving hits. The piano bar and open mic add to the welcome, with a different style every night, highlighting jazz, standards, contemporary and show tunes. Sing along or just sit back and enjoy the entertainment. Relaxing is easy with one of Martuni’s yummy signature martinis; the chocolate, lemon drop, and dragon fruit martinis are fan pleasers, with many other choices too.
Blondie’s Bar & No Grill
540 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
www.blondiesbarsf.comBlondie’s is a well-known destination bar in a top destination neighborhood for restaurants and bars that belies its edgy fame. The bar is a definite martini haven as it specializes in the popular cocktail – Blondie says they are the best in San Francisco — and serves all martinis in a one-size-pleases-all 16-ounce glass with, in Blondie’s words, “a veritable plethora of garnish choices.” Each night, Blondie’s offers different entertainment with DJs spinning ’70’s and ’80’s flashbacks, current pop and hip hop on some nights and live jazz, blues, honky tonk or swing on the other nights. After 22 years of “serving SF the tastiest and largest martinis you will encounter,” Blondie’s is still going strong. Check the website for martini choices and more information.
Glen Ellen Inn
Oyster Grill, Martini Bar & Secret Cottages
13670 Arnold Drive
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
www.glenelleninn.comThe Glen Ellen Inn gets rave reviews about everything, starting with entering through the doors. It is a lovely and inviting place with attentive service, delicious food, and tasty, strong drinks – choose from a huge wine and spirits selection. With over 35 martinis available, you know you will be pleased. Several martinis have whimsical names like Absinth Minded, Fuzzy Navel, Beach Blanket Babylon, I have A Dreamicle and X-Rated, along with more familiar favorites like lemon drop, pomegranate, green apple and Cosmopolitan martinis. The Glen Ellen is an American bistro and features California cuisine with locally made everything, including locally grown produce, house-made bread and scones, house-made pastas and even house-made ice cream. If you want to make a day or weekend of it, then reserve one of the seven Secret Cottages onsite. Visit the website for full details on everything here.
840 Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge
840 Brewster Ave.
Redwood City, CA 94063
www.840winebar.comGuests define this cozy wine bar and cocktail lounge as a hidden treasure. They give it points for its upscale yet unpretentious interior, comfy chairs and fireplace ambiance, plus friendly staff and great wine, beer and cocktail menu that includes a selection of tasty martinis. A short but adequate small plates menu pairs well with any drink, and several plates are sized right for sharing. The well-priced happy hour features specialty cocktails for $5, well drinks for $4, beer for $2 and wine for $5.
Related: San Francisco’s Best Mixologist Bars
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.