Food & Drink

San Francisco’s Best Mixologist Bars

November 2, 2011 11:05 AM

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credit:  www.sprucesf.com
For centuries, the cocktail has represented celebration and relaxation. From wedding toasts to happy hour, the adult beverage has once again been elevated to the category it so deserves: art form. San Francisco has always been at the center of culinary innovation, and many of the complex flavors and muddled trends of the nations cocktail menus emerge from right here. Much more than bartenders, mixologists concoct and craft your entire cocktail experience.

So remove your straw, raise your glass and tap into San Francisco’s Best Mixologist Bars.

The Alembic

1725 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 666-0822
www.alembicbar.com

Expansive chalkboards of bourbon listings, old school favorites along with new concoctions and an off-menu cocktail known as “The Bone,” the Alembic is the go-to place for a strong and sexy drink. The menu’s nothing to sneeze at either, featuring a popular bone marrow that’s got more buzz than a martini. Pro-tip: Order a “Vice Grip” which consists of coffee, wine and beer. It’ll blow your mind…literally.

Bourbon & Branch

501 Jones Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 931-7292
www.bourbonandbranch.com

To say that Bourbon & Branch takes themselves seriously would be a grave understatement. One actually needs to make a reservation to enjoy a libation in this Tenderloin speakeasy. But once you’re in, having provided the password and accepted the fact that your server is ten times cooler than you’ll ever be (and knows it), the drinks will change your life. The vibe is manly, the drinks are strong. Pro-tip: Take your drinks in “The Library.”

Gitane

6 Claude Lane
San Francisco, CA
(415) 788-6686

Kinson behind the bar will rock your world with his Milanhattan, although the Bouquet and Negroni Tinto are pretty amazing as well. And the ambiance this muraled-alley spot is sultry and smooth. Everyone looks a little more attractive in Gitane’s funky low-lit bar, which can be dangerous. Those drinks are strong. Pro-tip: Eat! Specifically, the bacon bon bons.

Rye

688 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 474-4448
www.ryesf.com

Mixologist Jon Gaspari is nationally regarded as one of the country’s cocktail kings. He is also one of the nicest fellas in town, will take your order and knock it out of the park. Try a Basil Gimlet or a Cucumber Flash in this modern, concrete lounge. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. While buzz abounds and the space is chic, that staff is as down to Earth as they come. Pro-tip: Come on a weeknight for a more mellow, personal experience.

Thermidor

8 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA
(415) 896-6500
www.thermidorsf.com

If Don Draper were getting a cocktail in San Francisco, he’d get it at Thermidor. This chic, new restaurant features a serious bar. And if you thought it was embarrassing to order a Mai Tai, think again. If you want to broaden your horizons, check out the Thirteen Thousand, featuring bourbon, doulin rouge, batavia arrack and orange bitters. Pro-tip: Turn your evening into a bar hop and saunter over Chez Papa Resto right next door.

Spruce

3640 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 931-5100

This Pacific Heights occasion destination boasts a beautiful, big and comfortable bar. Snag one of the massive leather bar chairs and settle in. You won’t want to leave. Other than the standard spectacular drinks you can expect from one of the city’s most upscale dining spots, Spruce is known for it’s awesome bar menu. The burger and duck fat fries are a popular favorite, but you’ll regret not ordering the gorgeous charcuterie plate. Pro-tip: Eyes peeled. Celebrities flock to this place.

Editor’s note: Rye, Thermidor and Spruce’s mixologists also get bonus points for welcoming the teetotaler. Complex concoctions in cocktails glasses don’t need booze to buzz. Whether you’re on the wagon, designated to drive, with child, abstaining, dieting or simply not in the mood, don’t be afraid to ask for something special without the sauce.

Cheers!

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