Where To Drink in San Francisco for the U.S. Open
Continuing in the same theme from our guide to dining for this weekend’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, here are the 18 holes of beverages for (after) watching a round of golf.
Hole 1: Speakeasy Brewery
Possibly creating the best beers currently in San Francisco’s rapidly emerging craft brew scene, you can sample the Prohibition Ale, Payback Porter, Big Daddy IPA, and much more at the brewery’s tap room, which really is the brewery itself. Being only open Friday and Saturday afternoons from 4-9 pm, and also near Candlestick Park, this is the perfect post round spot for a brew.
Hole 2: Sam Jordan’s
Not exactly part of the craft cocktail movement, but this essential, classic bar in Bayview is a city landmark, perfectly located like Speakeasy for a post round drink. Best of all, the barbeque is terrific. Go for an Old-Fashioned here.
Hole 3: The Connecticut Yankee
On Potrero Hill, not far from Bayview, resides my favorite local neighborhood bar. That would be because of its status as the best Boston sports bar in the city, full of Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots decorations, strange for a bar with “Yankee” in the name. Being across the street from Anchor Brewing, there will always be a few Anchor choices on tap. That’s terrific because you need to plan 2 months in advance if you want Anchor brews at the brewery as part of a tour. You’re in town for golf, not a beer tour.
Hole 4: Smuggler’s Cove
After the formality of the Olympic Club, break loose Tiki style in Smuggler’s Cove, quite possibly the country’s premier rum bar. Go for the Smuggler’s Rum Barrel or the fascinating Port Royal, with soothing, slightly burning blend of jerk seasoned simple syrup, lime, 2 types of Jamaican rums, and housemade “hellfire” tincture.
Hole 5: Monk’s Kettle
If you know what Kwak and Moinette Blonde are and you adore Double IPAs and unfiltered ESB, this is the place for you. Outstanding beer bar with surprisingly good food, especially the burger.
Hole 6: Toronado
After a beer at the Monk’s Kettle, go to the rowdier Toronado on Haight for a more American slanted beer selection (really both are equal parts Belgium versus U.S., but Monk’s Kettle seems like a better fit for Belgian beers).
Hole 7: Terroir
After a long day in the sun, wind down with some superb biodynamic wine at the city’s best wine bar in SoMa. Bonus, it’s right by City Beer (yet another excellent beer bar and shop) and Sightglass Coffee.
Hole 8: Tommy’s
Up Highway 1 from the Olympic Club, Tommy’s is crammed to its tiny capacity at the bar each night for what might be the country’s premier margarita. Be sure to join the Blue Agave Club. What Smuggler’s Cove is to rum, Tommy’s is to tequila. Skip the food.
Hole 9: House of Shields
It’s always a toss-up for the premier Manhattan and Martini in the heart of the Financial District. I always say the former is best at House of Shields, the latter at the vaunted Tadich Grill’s horseshoe bar with a hangtown fry. House of Shields will be open later and be hopping after the tournament, so head there for a Manhattan or Guinness on draught.
Hole 10: Comstock Saloon
In North Beach, one of the city’s cocktail treasures with a theme from the 1800’s Barbary Coast. Pisco Punch is the famed order, but best is The Country Life, mingling Jamaican Rum, Port, Bourbon, Orange Bitters, and Angostura Bitters. You’ll feel like a pirate afterwards.
Hole 11: Beach Chalet
Just up the coast at the western edge of the Sunset, Beach Chalet has spectacular views, and brews its own quite decent, not spectacular beers. Avoid the food, do order the IPA. It will be magical to watch the sunset here this weekend.
Hole 12: Bar Agricole
Cocktails don’t get better than the classics done with utmost precision and care at this spectacular SoMa bar-restaurant. The Moonraker here is in this humble opinion the best cocktail currently being made in the city. Hope that it’s warm enough you can even sit on the delightful patio out front.
Hole 13: The Big Four
Atop Nob Hill, The Big Four is the old money restaurant and bar of the old money Huntington Hotel. With piano music, plush leather chairs, and antique wooden paneling, they just don’t make places like this anymore that have no problem serving $40 elk with foie gras (only for the next few days…). The bar happens to produce drinks as alluring as the atmosphere, especially the Negroni or the Martini with gin from Anchor Brewing’s Distillery.
Hole 14: Magnolia Brewing
A quaint, quirky English style pub by Haight-Ashbury that also happens to be an excellent restaurant and micro brewery. They have a particularly notable bitter and kölsch here, in addition to excellent IPAs.
Hole 15: Any Slanted Door venue
Whether it’s the bustling, grand flagship in the Ferry Building, the urban chic Heaven’s Dog, or the seductive, quaint Wo Hing Ming in the Mission, Charles Phan’s emerging restaurant empire knows how to construct a cocktail program. My pick? Dinner at Slanted Door, then the”None but the Brave” at Heaven’s Dog.
Hole 16: Locanda
Like with The Slanted Door, many of San Francisco’s best cocktail spots happen to be San Francisco’s best restaurants too (Michael Mina, Quince, Cotogna, La Folie…). I’m not crazy about the sometimes underachieving food of Locanda, but the cocktails that rely heavily on Italian bitters such as Amaro and Campari are always phenomenal. Try the Jewish style artichoke with the “Church” cocktail (gin, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, and lemon).
Hole 17: St. Vincent
The hopping spot for wine aficionados courtesy of David Lynch, the former sommelier/wine guru of Quince and Cotogna (both should be on the wine and cocktail list too!). Lynch specializes in strange Italian wines, so this is the place to discover the latest from Lazio or Campania.
Hole 18: Riptide
For the last hole, it’s an easy putt from the Olympic Club to this little “honky tonk by the beach.” It’s a 71 year old, warm, wood paneled, semi-dive bar, filled with locals and surfers. Toast to Rory, Tiger, and Phil here, along with another toast to the sunset outside the door, being so glad the USGA brought the U.S. Open to San Francisco.