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8 Hottest Bars: Where to Drink Right Now

By Tamara Palmer
October 7, 2013
Photo by: Emperor's Drawing Room

2013 has been a fun and prolific year for new watering holes, bringing a Danish temple of beer, a secret space inspired by a 16th-century drawing room and more than a few odes to American nautical life. Check out our picks for hot places for drinks and nightlife below. Where are your current favorite places to drink? Share your nightcap hideaways in the comments.

  • Bergerac

    Eleventh Street's latest rock-edged bar and restaurant (which has a sister club called Audio Discotech) is the new home of SF cocktail king Russell Davis and executive chef Randy Lewis, who is already serving some of the city's more boundary-pushing bar bites, including a raw tuna Ethiopian kitfo rolled in injera bread and chicken wings with Vietnamese caramel and garlic chips.

    316 11th St., San Francisco; 415-255-9440

  • Emperor's Drawing Room at Monarch

    The new upper level bar at the popular nightclub has just opened thanks to a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $23,000 from crowd donations. Inspired by a 16th-century drawing room, the space seats 50 and can be isolated from the rest of the space with a sliding wall. It will also be available for private events.

    101 Sixth St., San Francisco; 415-284-9774

  • Mikkeller Bar

    A Victorian built in 1907 serves as the space for the Danish beer giant's first San Francisco project. The 80-seat bar features a huge bottle list plus 40 international taps including rarities from Mikkeller and other brewers, all served with housemade sausages and soft pretzels.

    34 Mason St., San Francisco; 415-984-0279

  • Blind Tiger Tap Room at Noir Lounge

    The back bar of Noir operates in the spirit of a speakeasy, serving Wednesday through Sunday nights with a rotating list of small-batch craft beers poured into 11-oz. chalices. Small and special, it only seats seven people.

    581 Hayes St., San Francisco; 415-431-6647

  • Royal Tug Yacht Club

    The allure of the American sea comes into play at this whimsical spot from the team that also operates Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Bullitt, Tonic and more. A giant sea creature with electric-lit eyes is the unofficial mascot here, which, alongside $10 cocktails, keeps people's spirits up.

    895 Bush St., San Francisco; 415-413-0200

  • Brass Tacks

    Hayes Valley's latest bar addition (in the former iconic gay bar Marlena's) needs no phone number; bartenders are too busy serving drinks to answer calls anyway. The goal of creating a neighborhood watering hole that isn't flashy or pretentious is precisely what makes it so cool.

    488 Hayes St., San Francisco

  • The Willows

    This Sycamore spinoff in the former Mercury Lounge space has quickly attracted its own following and identity. It might be because of the Big Buck Hunter video game, but it's probably due to a rare beer selection, tap takeovers and a sassy punk attitude.

    1582 Folsom St., San Francisco; 415-529-2039

  • Virgil's Sea Room

    The American nautical vibe continues in the La Lengua neighborhood in the former Nap's III space. San Francisco celebrities like the Brown Twins, Frank Chu and Warren Hellman all have their own well-balanced drinks, and there's a sweet back patio ripe for enjoying right now while the weather is good.

    3152 Mission St., San Francisco; 415-829-2233

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