The bar scene in San Francisco
’s Russian Hill stretches roughly from the edge of the Tenderloin to the Marina District. From divey to swanky, the eclectic vibe is sure to offer something for everyone.
Charcuterie, Pub Grub, French, $$$
If you’re looking for a romantic rendezvous or an upbeat hang out, Amelie exudes both in the modern French flair of its wine lounge. The black and red decor gives a sophisticated vibe as if you’re dining in Paris. Do not let that fool you though, as Amelie’s happy hour can’t be beaten. From 5pm to 7pm, sample wine flights including three healthy pours are offered at only $10. A variety of cheese and charcuterie plates are worth trying, topped off with bread that’s served in a mini burlap bag.
Amelie, 1754 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 292 6916
Amelie | Courtesy of Amelie | Courtesy of Amelie
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
A modest watering hole located at the lower end of Polk Street, Jackalope will remind you of your college dorm room. Topped off with Plinko, Duck Hunt, and a variety of Sega Genesis games, the crew behind Soda Popinskis does it again. Six packs are served in a cooler, and the signature cocktail is the Jackalope, featuring JP Wiser’s rye whiskey. If you are feeling adventurous, try the San Francisco Treat, it’s Fernet with a California lager.
Jackalope, 1092 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 735 5522
Named after a San Francisco dentist who set up shop in nearly the exact same location (hence the gold tooth hanging outside the door), McTeague’s is a lively Polk Street institution. Littered with large flat screen televisions and a plethora of micro brews, the establishment is perfect for Big 12 games and sporting events. By night, the exceptionally open bar space turns into a lively gathering. The back portion features a pool table and is more secluded to host private parties and events.
McTeague’s Saloon, 1237 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 776 1237
McTeague’s Saloon | Courtesy of McTeague’s Saloon
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
For the music nerd, this unpretentious bar and live music venue features some of the world’s best underground rock and indie bands. The Hemlock’s 360 degree wraparound bar is free to enter but there is usually a cover to watch music in the back room performance space. Complete with a heated smoking lounge for the modern tobacco enthusiast and $1 bags of warm peanuts to satisfy your salt craving, Hemlock showcases music seven nights a week, so plan on discovering new local, national and international touring artists.
Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 923 0923
Harper & Rye
Named after one of the owner’s children, with a salute to an infatuation with rye whiskey, Harper & Rye is definitely a looker. High ceilings, patterned wood floors, and fresh plants along the walls give the space an industrial feel. Large wood tables seat around 15 people, while upstairs you’ll find a more intimate setting with a bird’s eye view of the street. If you are coming with a few friends, take a stab at the ‘Kentucky Punch jar’.
Harper & Rye, 1695 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 562 7493
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, none
A slice of the Mission District on Polk Street, Hi-Lo Club is a vintage cocktail oasis. The space boasts a cozy ambiance in the evenings, making it an ideal choice for a date or to catch up with close friends. With a dozen California beers on draft and an extensive spirits menu, this hip neighborhood bar is sure to fill everyone’s desire. Looking for a specialty cocktail? Hi-Lo has you covered with their classic menu, each with a special twist. This is a cash only bar but there is an ATM out the back.
Hi-Lo Club, 1423 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Located on the more bustling end of Polk Street, Cabin‘s decor matches its name with faux-log walls and wood floors. The warm mountain town vibe is the perfect place to catch up over a cocktail or quality craft brew. Weekends are happening, and the bar prides itself in offering a reverse happy hour from 10pm till close, Sunday through Thursday. This is a local establishment, so when you return, be prepared for the bartenders to call you by name.
Cabin, 1750 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 549 7111
Cabin | © Jackie Paisal | © Jackie Paisal
Bar, Wine Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Planted in the center of Russian Hill, Robberbaron‘s name represents the self made industry titans of the 19th century. The intention is to put a positive spin on the hard working (and money-making) heroes of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. After all, it would be an entirely different city without them. The classy wine bar boasts large front windows which face out to the street and are always open on a warm day. Taste wine samples before deciding on a glass, and create your own picnic with the variety of cheese and snacks offered.
Robberbaron, 2032 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 516 6945
Robberbaron | Courtesy of Robberbaron | Courtesy of Robberbaron
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
A longstanding casual pub since 1985, Shanghai Kelly’s is a small sports bar primarily full of locals. It specifically cheers on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but you’ll find a sports game on at all given times. The best spot in the joint is by the front window, where you can peek out to the street from your own private nook. You’ll have to get there early to grab the spot though, as locals are aware of this secret. Cheap beers and shots mean it’s happy hour all the time.
Shanghai Kelly’s, 2064 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 771 3300
Shanghai Kelly’s | © Jackie Paisal | © Jackie Paisal
Bar, Pub Grub, none
Once you’ve downed the bright blue fish bowls at Tonic, you’ll be sure to return for more. Gather a few of your friends for a big night out, because it is unlikely you’ll finish the concoction solo. Once you reach the end of the bowl, you’ll enjoy Swedish fish soaked in vodka and coconut rum. Located on the edge of the Marina district, popped collars and property owners populate the dimly lit lounge on weekends. Fear not if khakis aren’t your thing, though. The neighborhood bar hosts after work locals along with residents of all ages.
Tonic, 2360 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 771 5535