When Pot Distilled Whiskey Is Not Pot Still Whiskey
Homemade Tonic Water Filtration

50 Things to Drink in San Francisco Before You Die

In the June 2012 issue of 7x7 Magazine, I wrote the story The Big Drink. It's a list of 50 cocktails to try in the city.

It's basically a list of 50 Things to Drink in San Francisco Before You Die, but it's not always about what you're drinking, but where

I chose a mix of can't miss City classics (Pisco Punch, Tommy's Margarita, Irish Coffee), classic bars (Big Four Grill, Vesuvio), emblematic cocktails of the bars they're in (Bloody Mary at Zeitgeist, Basil Gimlet at Rye), recent classics (Chartreuse Swizzle, La Perla), and neighborhood bars to see (The Ramp, Li Po Lounge, Park Chalet).

Click for a larger image.

I did skip some modern classics like the Cable Car and The Revolver as I didn't want to make it seem stuck in the last decade, and I couldn't think of any drinks to recommend trying at a few bars like Wild Side West.

What else did I miss?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jameson Trinker

I wish I had had this a year ago when I visited San Francisco. I stayed at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins and, while I don't know its reputation among locals, Top of the Mark was a fantastic bar with amazing views. The Kentucky Sidecar was out of this world. One of my most memorable cocktails.


had the presidente at bar agricole and the whiskey cocktail at slanted door sunday. with craig lane behind the bar at bar agricole, the presidente was most presidential. the ti punch wasn't bad either...


The Touch of Grey is a well-deserved inclusion.

Given the probability of a complete change in character in a few years with the arrival of the new Warriors stadium, I'd also recommend a Negroni at the Hi-Dive, to accompany your burger or Reuben with a side of tarragon slaw.

Michael Meadows

To make it easier to track which of these you've completed, I've made this into a Foodspotting guide. (though I did add the Tamarind Margarita at Lolo. The Zuni Cosmo, or Matruni Martini should probably also be included) Enjoy! http://bit.ly/KyRaTf


I will punch you in the face if you drink a Fernet ginger back at R Bar as your must-have drink in SF. Chris is awesome and that bar is okay, but for a top 50 list? I hope the person who wrote it was drunk when it was written. Or was knobbing Chris when they made the list.

Also, a Beretta bartender said tonight, "Air Mail? That's not even our best drink!"

Good news? You can pretend to be an expert on the Internet and no one cares if your opinion is shit and wrong in a lot of ways.


For reference on my comment:

Camper English

This is neither a top bars in SF list nor a best drinks in SF list. It's a list of the most emblematic drink/place combinations (the Air Mail is probably the top-selling drink at Beretta and the R Bar is known around the country for serving Fernet), a list that gives a glimpse of the new and old of drinking in SF, in the locations, the variety, and quality of bars and cocktails.

Jeff Urban

Hey Camper,

Ah, sorry I didn't see this earlier. I have a few lovelies not on the list--and thank you for preparing such a fine list!

I'll mention one I've never forgotten--the Martini at Zare at the Fly trap. It looks like any standard martini, but it comes with these amazing persian twists (sour grapes, persian pickle, cherry tomato) that make it absolutely unique and unforgettable. I can't remember the last time I felt that way about a martini.

Camper English

A very good inclusion.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)