Dollhouse Victorians, a historic jazz scene, quaint laundromats – you’ll find all these north of the Panhandle in NoPa. At first glance, this tiny neighborhood (also called Western Addition) may seem quiet and somewhat obscure. Don’t be fooled, however, because the handful of bars that make up NoPa’s nightlife offer a vibrant blend of urban-grunge and ambiance. So if you’re ever wandering about Divisadero, here are the spots you absolutely don’t want to miss.
Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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If you’re looking to have a classy night out, Nopa is a wonderful choice. Rumor has it that the name ‘NoPa’ was not popular in the neighborhood itself until the restaurant opened its doors in 2006, so there must be a reason why this place is so popular. The most likely reason NoPa locals love Nopa is the bar’s typically San Franciscan organic ‘wood-fired cuisine.’ The delicious healthy food and superbly crafted drinks make Nopa the place to go for a quiet, light dinner.
There are many reasons why you should try out La Urbana. This Mexican bar has an impressive tajin-spiced cocktail menu, delicious food, swanky décor, and a chill atmosphere. One of the best reasons for frequenting this establishment, however, is as simple as baked potatoes. Seriously, if you’re looking for the perfect melty, bacon-enhanced pick-me-up, go to La Urbana and order the baked potatoes appetizer. You won’t regret it.
Complete with exposed brick walls and star lights, Fly Bar has a funky vibe that usually attracts a younger, college-aged crowd (often from USF). Their menu includes a fair amount of comfort food, like fries and hot sandwiches, and their wide selection of entrées also offers many a tasty morsel. Fly Bar is a perfect cross between bar and restaurant; whether you’re seated at a table with friends or alone at the bar, you’ll surely have an enjoyable time.
When you need to impress your date – or your parents – Wine Kitchen is the optimal choice. Due to its laid back atmosphere and intimidating wine list, wine lovers from all over the city come to this bar to relax and indulge with an evening drink. There is a simplicity and warmth about Wine Kitchen that makes it a perfect place for taking it slow and having a quiet night out.
The Page, San Francisco | Courtesy of Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar
There’s something overall that’s classic about The Page. The drinks, décor, pool table, and even their neon sign, all give off a rustic, retro charm. The Page is a great place to grab a beer, particularly if you are a draft beer enthusiast. Their bar features over 22 draft options, including some fragrant seasonal choices. Of course, The Page also has the usual cocktail menu, and their drinks never lack the proper amount of kick.
If you like to get adventurous with your cocktails, Bar 821 is an excellent choice for exploring the infinite possibilities of a well mixed drink. Their bar is famous for offering a wide variety of Amari liqueurs, as well as more traditional cocktails. A NoPa staple, Bar 821 has a very romantic atmosphere, with dimmed lighting and a jazzy old-fashioned aura, which makes it a great place for pre-dinner cocktails or a date night.
Barrel Head Brewhouse is a popular spot for good beer and comfort foods like poutine. Both floors of this establishment can get pretty crowded at times, but for the most part, this is a quieter bar where you can catch up with friends and hear yourself think. Barrel Head Brewhouse is well known for its house-brewed draft beers, so if you do stop by, make sure you try one.
While Bar Crudo has a great selection of wine and beer, you really ought to go there for the excellent raw seafood. A good choice for both brunch and dinner, Bar Crudo takes San Francisco’s health conscious cuisine to a whole other level. If you stop by during their happy hour, you can get wonderful deals on unique dishes like manila clams or their divine herb and jalapeño marinated mussels.