Drink Like a Local: 5 of the Best Bars in San Francisco

San Francisco is a gold mine for travelers looking to tantalize the senses. It’s a city that boasts beautiful views, fabulous eats, and some of the tech world’s most notable conferences. There really is no reason to be bored here. Just about everywhere you turn will be bustling with activity, so we’ve gone ahead and done a little leg work to get you on the right track to discovering some of the best bars in San Francisco.

LI PO COCKTAIL LOUNGE

Best Bar In San Francisco For: Dive Bar Vibes

Address: 916 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA 94108

You’re probably well aware of Li Po’s existence due to an infamous travel show host getting smashed there. But this dive bar gem is much more than Chinese Mai tai and Anthony Bourdain. Li Po is truly a place to let your hair down, and old school cocktails like the Rusty Nail, made with Drambuie and scotch, don’t disappoint either. If you visit while Mama Candy is there, and trust me, you’ll know her when you see her, buy her a shot and get on her good side early. The night can only go up from there.

Image via Flickr

BOURBON AND BRANCH

Best Bar In San Francisco For: Amazing cocktails

Address: 501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Why settle for mediocrity when you can truly do something great this vacation? Of course, we’re referring to great drinks at amazing prices. That’s where Bourbon and Branch comes in. This dimly lit bar is full of swank (not swag, know the difference) and boasts a cocktail menu to match. Drinks like the Louisville Slugger go down easy and pack a punch, but it’s the no cell phone rule that really makes Bourbon and Batch a disconnect from the real world and all it’s ailments. And that alone is good enough reason to be considered one of the best bars in San Francisco.

Image via SF Gate

HARDWATER 

Best Bar In San Francisco For: More whiskey than you can shake a snifter at

Address: Pier 3, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

Whiskey connoisseurs are on the rise. And for those of you visiting San Francisco who fit that bill, Hardwater Bar should be on your docket. They have over 400 whiskeys at any given time, but the true beauty of this bar is in the staff. The sheer volume of choice is much less intimidating with them at the helm. So whether you’re popping in for a full on weekend imbibing or a sip slow Tuesday afternoon, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking to not only drink good whiskey, but learn a thing or two about it as well.

Image via Travel Perspective 

MIKKELLER BAR

Best Bar In San Francisco For: Good Food and Great Beer

Address: 34 Mason St San Francisco, CA 94102

If you like craft beer in a cool setting then Mikkeller Bar is where you want to be. If you like upscale menu options to pair them with, then you definitely need to check in here. There are over 40 beers on tap, lots of imported bottles, and even a separate tasting room dedicated to sours alone! Pro tip: Try the Texas Ranger hot dog. It goes well with just about anything and comes topped with jalapeños, fried onions, and brisket.

Image via 100 Francisco 

SMUGGLER’S COVE

Best Bar In San Francisco For: Tiki/Pirate Kitsch

Address: 650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

The only thing at Smuggler’s Cove more abundant than its treasure trove of exotic drinks is its wheelhouse of rums. They have over 200 in stock, to be exact. The décor is pirate/tiki bar themed, and with three floors of wall-to-wall booty, there’s plenty of room to roam. But get there early, because seats fill up fast at this over the top themed bar aimed at high seas adventure.

FOCUS KEYWORD/PHRASE: Best bar in San Francisco

Image SF Gate