Top 9 Bars of 2011
By: Dan Rosenbaum
Our cocktail scene is pretty legendary (by my calculation, there is a bar every 5 steps) because of our well-worn classics and our pioneering use of fresh ingredients, which is no longer just a staple in our food but also in our drinks. Over the past year many bars opened, adding to the buzz. Opening up in the Mission District, bar/restauant Mosto. Wo Hing General Store, Locanda and The Hideout made their debuts to a lot of fanfare. However, these great places didn't even crack the list of the top bars of 2011. Maybe one year..
After taking a social survey of both our Facebook and Twitter pages, here are the top 9 bars of 2011..
9. Kozy Kar
Location: 1548 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA
Bars along Polk Street are plentiful, so how does a bar stand out among the pack? By having stiff drinks, looped 70's cartoons and movies, questionable photos plastered all along the bar and 70's vans with chairs and waterbeds, Kozy Kar does just that. It's a unique bar that you can only find in San Francisco.
A bar based on the ethos of famous drinkers such as Vincent Van Gogh, Lord Byron and even Homer J. Simpson, Blackbird warmly welcomes you as you walk in. Boasting local wines, artisanal beers you won't find anywhere else and specialty cocktails, this place is the new neighborhood bar
Location: 688 Geary St, San Francisco, California
Named one of San Francisco's best mixologists bars, Rye's mixologists are among the friendliest in the city. Definitely try the cucumber flash or the Basil Gimlet and kick back in the sleek modern concrete lounge. Tip: This place is always packed on the weekends, so it's a great place to come early to start your night off. You can always go to the next bar on our list afterwards..
Location: 501 Jones Street, San Francisco CA
Bourbon and Branch has the real distinction of being one of the first modern speakeasys in San Francisco. How serious do they take themselves? You need the password to get in. (You can get it on their website) Be sure to follow all the house rules and expect to wait a few extra minutes for your drink. It's worth it..
Location: 255 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA
For the history buff, this bar is a must-see. Vesuvio has long been a San Francisco classic. Opened in 1948, Vesuvio has never been the same since the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan graced their stools. Across the from the City Lights Bookstore, this bar was the mecca during the Beat Generation.
4. Smuggler's Cove
Location: 650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA
Consistently named one of the world's best bars, Smuggler's Cove is a place that locals and visitors have known about for years. Smuggler's Cove serves traditional drinks of the Caribbean Islands and classic Prohibition-Area Havana cocktails. This is the original Tiki-Bar.
Location: 547 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA
Smack dab in the middle of the Lower Haight neighborhood, Toronado serves up some of the city's best beers for around $4 bucks. Before craft beer became trendy and cool, Toronado served beer to fellow beer geeks 20 years ago. Tip: Go to Rosamunde next store for a delicious sausage. You can eat it at the bar.
2. Tunnel Top
Location: 601 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA
On everyone's to-do list, Tunnel Top is an unpretentious local hang-out perched above the Stockton Street tunnel (hence the name). This two-story bar has exposed beams, beer-bottle chandelier, and rickety balcony that always seems about ready to give out. This place is known for their great playlist and watermelon gimlets.
Location: 199 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA
Number 1 on our list is Zeitgeist. Maybe it's the city's best bloody marys. Maybe it's the numerous beer selections on tap. Maybe it's the delicious fresh-off-the-grill hamburgers and sausages. Maybe it's the wall-to-wall picnic tables. Maybe it's just... San Francisco.
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