A few bars I have loved

The Welcome GlassI’m frequently asked by people who say they read my column “What’s your favorite bar in San Francisco?”

Come on, people:  if you read my column you’d know:  it’s the SRO room in Oddjob.  It’s the SRO room in Oddjob.  It’s the SRO room in Oddjob.

How many times to I have to say it?  It’s the only bar I’ve ever described in print as “my favorite.”  And I talk it up every chance I get.  I take friends.  I take out of town guests.

But in case there’s still any ambiguity, let me be clear:  at a time in my life when I never go to bars twice, I go back to SRO all the time.

You should go.  And you should tell the bartender “hi” for me.  Especially if it’s Joey.  You should be so lucky.

But of course SRO isn’t the only good, or even great, bar in San Francisco.  Here are a few others that are close to my heart:

  • Padrecito:  Their drink menus at this Mexican bar and restaurant aren’t as fun as Trick Dog’s, but they are an unbeatable blend of form and function.  The drinks are worthy of a menu that good … absolutely first rate.  The food is incredible, from the chips and salsa and guac to the tacos to the haute cuisine rabbit.  And the atmosphere?  Kicks Trick Dog’s ass:  it’s the kind of place where everything works out if you just give it a little time.  The world slows down.  Life is good.  Check it out.
  • The Residence:  A fancy bar that takes its drinks seriously without taking itself seriously, The Residence is a perfect combination of high concept and easy going.  It’s only made better by a superb collection of house cocktails.  This is a bar I wish I got to go to more, and am repeatedly recommending to friends.
  • Blackbird:  Blackbird knows that “fortified wine” is a misunderstood category.  Blackbird has Pimm’s Cup on draught.  They have a whole damn list of cocktails on draught.  Blackbird has a strong beer selection, an amazing collection of single malts, and they don’t just talk about fortified wine:  they’ve got the best and most interesting collection of it in the city.  The atmosphere is casual, the space funky but not overbearing, the bartenders fun, and everything is delicious.  I give them six out of five stars.  They’ve earned one of somebody else’s stars.

Bars are gold diggers, and one loves them at one’s own risk.  But a great bar leads to great stories.  I’ll tell you more about bars I have loved another time.