Spots Every Red, White, and Bubbly Fan Should Frequent
Written By: Mary McCaw The 7 Finest Wine Bars in San Francisco
San Francisco may be famous for craft cocktails and dirt-cheap dives, but the truth is, wine drinkers have just as much to toast in the city by the bay. Whether it’s a stellar art collection, award-winning architecture, or more bottles than you can drink in a lifetime, each of these hot spots has something worth raving about. Most are perfect to keep in mind for your next romantic night out. Or, for that matter, a wild happy hour with friends—on this list you’ll find plenty of options for both.
A local favorite with a cozy, intimate setting, Fat Angel has the air of a best kept secret—but, the secret is out. The ever-changing menu of small production wines, craft beers and innovative cocktails strikes a balance between being easy-to-navigate and esoteric, so it’s a safe choice no matter who you’re drinking with. The quirky decor alone is worth a visit. Think gilded cherubs, oil paintings, a mounted stag head and a giant crystal chandelier. If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat, be sure to try their gourmet updates on comfort food favorites. Menu highlights include cayenne-dusted mac & cheese, grape and walnut flatbread and a baby kale salad.
1740 O’Farrell St
San Francisco, CA 94115
In the heart of the city there’s a teeny, tiny wine bar that deserves a spot on your hit list. Exposed brick, cozy seating and candlelight make it the perfect meet-up spot to set the mood before a dinner date…or the perfect place to wind down after. Unlike most wine bars, Hotel Biron is open until 2:00 a.m. every night. In case that’s not romantic enough, it also doubles as an art gallery. Hotel Biron boats a beautiful selection of wines, all at around $14 a glass. Did we mention they also have a wine club? Sign us up!
45 Rose St
San Francisco, CA 94102
The Hidden Vine is an unbeatable happy hour spot for those who work in FiDi. It has all the accoutrements you expect from a wine bar, from dim lighting, to wall-to-wall bottles and cozy tables for two. But then it does one better—because not only is there an outdoor area, the outdoor area has a bocce ball court. When choosing a wine, the extensive by-the-glass menu is both a blessing and a curse. Odds are, they’ll have what you want if you’re craving something unusual, but if you’re used to choosing ‘red or white’ you may be in over your head. After one visit, you’ll want to become a regular.
408 Merchant St
San Francisco, CA 94111
This gorgeous, wood-paneled lounge is worth a visit for the award-winning architecture alone. It’s sleek, yet spare, favoring refined finishes and upscale touches over out-and-out glamour. The atmosphere is both lively and laid back, so it’s perfect for any group, big or small. Be sure to get comfortable before checking out the menu. With countless wines by the glass, an abundance of flights, and more bottles than you can count, it’ll take some time to decide.
20 Yerba Buena Ln
San Francisco, CA 94103
For those who don’t already know Yield, you’re missing out on a quintessentially San Francisco experience. Their focus is on sustainable organic wines, so every bottle on the list is as guilt-free as farm-to-table produce. More importantly, the food sets a high bar, even with SF’s culinary standards. When you go, go hungry, and be sure to try the flatbread.
2490 3rd St
San Francisco, CA, 94107
If you don’t know what to look for, you’re almost guaranteed to miss this neighborhood gem. There’s little signage out front, and the dim, romantic lighting within keeps it hidden in plain sight. Inside, the decor is understated; it could almost be any other wine bar, were it not for a menu that stands a head and shoulders above the competition. Light bites include upscale favorites like artisan cheeses, caviar and oysters. As to wine, the selection is unparalleled.It is highly curated, and they feature some fantastic little-known producers, so it’s a great way to sample something new.
3565 20th St
San Francisco, CA, 94110
The ever-changing menu at this wine merchant always has plenty of each to offer. With 3o wines by the glass, you will have a hard time choosing where to start. Unlike most of the establishments on this list, Tofino has both a tasting room and a retail shop, so when you taste a wine you like, you can buy a bottle to take home. It’s like a trip to Napa, minus the commute. Order from their food menu and settle in, you won’t want to leave.
2696 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA, 94118
Attention Winos! Best of the Bay Wine Bars