417 Stockton Street 2nd Fl. (415) 400-0500
Tucked away in the Mystic Hotel and next to the somewhat seedy massage parlor in Union Square, is a venue perfect for discrete conversations, hideaway meetings and lascivious lounging. With its dark wood bar, exposed brick and traditional furnishings, it’s the epitome of a speakeasy. However, since everyone knows how this is THE hot spot for a drink, you’re going to have to share that space with about a hundred others. Nonetheless, the Study Abroad and many other custom quaffs keep us coming back
Bourbon and Branch
501 Jones St. (415) 346-1735
This is a prohibition speakeasy to the T with a password required for entry. Its location on the corner of troubling Tenderloin and trendy Union Square gives it just the right mix of credibility. Once inside there are rooms upon rooms of secret nooks. Feeling more social, go to the Library next door or perhaps to Wilson and Wilson for some low-key mixology magic. This place is definitely a stand out for a well-made cocktail.
688 Geary St . (415) 474-4448
Once they muddle the fruit into your drink, things get a bit hazy at Rye. The Basil Gimlet is worth the trip here alone—well, that, and they’re smoker friendly. The owners know how a good Brandy always should be accompanied by a good Cuban. Great scene to enjoy a cocktail and build up the confidence to talk to someone new.
25 Lusk Alley (415) 495-5875
Pick your base flavor and add a top note, shake, stir or swirl for 10 seconds then viola, your custom-made quaff is ready for consumption at 25 Lusk. Known for its beautiful lounge and tasty treats, 25 Lusk is the one of the best scenes in SF. Tucked away in a nondescript alley in SoMa, the swanky crowd keeps coming back for the Dark & Stormy and other great bar offerings.
355 11th St. (415) 355-9400
An Indian summertime favorite with its concrete slab patio, Bar Agricole is the place to have a perfectly muddled mojito or some small plates for snacking. Despite its name, it’s more of a restaurant with a great bar than a bar that serves food. Nonetheless, we find the magnificently complicated cocktails create an oasis in an otherwise rather industrial area so it’s up in our top 5. We strongly recommend the Presidente and the Hanky Panky.