Where Oenophiles Go for Happy Hour in SF


The prospect of a good happy hour in SF has gotten us through many long afternoons of work. But what exactly makes a memorable happy hour? A great bar or restaurant with an enticing atmosphere and drink specials unlike any others in the city. If I get to chat with the winemaker who happens to pick the grapes of the elixir I’m sipping, even better. As fall starts to hit it’s stride in the Bay Area and more and more wineries are wrapping up harvest, plenty of spots are offering happy hour wine steals. Here are a few that are on our to do list.

Cafe Claude Marina 2Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

Cafe Claude Marina has recently launched a new wine series hosted by Wine Director Sarah Knoefler. On the first Wednesday of each month, she’s invited a different wine professional and participating California winery to the restaurant to discuss their wine and interact with vino lovers. From 6 – 9 P.M. and for $15, you can explore three wines and enjoy French bites that are paired with the wines. We’re bummed to have missed the October tasting as it featured one of our favorite wineries, Sonoma’s Medlock Ames and winemaker Ames Morrison. But not all is lost: In November, Skylark Wine Company and Robert Perkins will be on hand to talk Grenache and Syrah and in December Elizabeth Pressler of Elizabeth Spencer Wines will feature her Pinot varietals.

Jelly BarSpeaking of Pinot, Pinot Noir addicts should head on over to Farallon restaurant in downtown San Francisco. During the month of November, the seafood establishment is holding a Pinot Extravaganza in honor of PinotFest, a long-running wine event that takes place at Farallon on Saturday, November 22. Although the exact happy hour times have yet to be revealed, Pinotphiles will be able to choose from a variety of Pinot-based flights that feature wines made from Pinot grapes (Champagne, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir).

Screen shot 2014-10-09 at 12.42.30 PMIf you’re interested in a wine-centric happy hour in a brand-spanking-new space, Klyde Cafe and Wine Bar is your destination. The cafe-by-day and wine-bar-by-night, from Sam Fechheimer, opens today in Union Square. Normally their selection of 60 US wine labels is sold for $30-65 a bottle. However, during happy hour, from 3 – 7 P.M., a variety of changing bottles will be available for $25 a bottle.

Fact Sheet 2In the mood for bubbles? 1760‘s Grower Champagne Monday should be on your radar. Every Monday night, the Polk Street restaurant offers bottles of sparkling wine at 20% off. There are themed flights to promote exploring new bubbly and wine aficionados are invited to sip the Récoltant-Manipulant, or grower-producer wine that is exclusive to a certain farmer and vineyard. These Champagnes are crafted less often, making their tasting that much more exclusive.