There is something about a nice, cold beer at the end of a hot summer day. And if you live in San Francisco, there is something about a nice, cold beer anytime because our “summers” are filled with fog and drizzle. That doesn’t mean we don’t need a few great bars for beer (and cider) to make us feel like we can join ranks with the rest of the country.
The new hot spot in the Tenderloin, Mikkeller Bar, has been generating a lot of buzz lately. Could it be related to the wide selection of beer on tap (over 40 different ways to wet your palate), that puts the Toronado to shame? This is a great place to grab a beer after work with co-workers. The bar has an open feel that is very inviting and makes you forget about the riffraff waiting for you outside. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the beer selection; if you are unfamiliar with any of the beer on tap (or all of it), your server is bound to be extremely knowledgeable in finding something that will satisfy your craving for a Racer 5. If you feel yourself getting peckish after a few brews, try the pickled vegetables or one of their in-house sausages served with fries.
Mikkeller Bar, 34 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94102
Hard ciders seem to be making a comeback--although, we're not sure they ever really left. If you are looking for something beyond the sweetness of Wyder’s Cider, meander over the Upcider. It is one of the best places to go people watching. Located on the 2nd floor, with floor to floor glass windows, you can sip your cider and watch the circus of Polk street unfold for you below. Prepare to be overwhelmed with the selection of cider from all over the world. If you are unsure of what kind of cider might tickle your fancy, ask your bartender for a recommendation. They are excellent at pointing you in the right direction. If all else fails, feel free to settle for a glass of wine or a beer. Order a quick bite and just soak in the view.
Upcider, 1160 Polk Street 2nd floor San Francisco, CA 94109
If you haven’t had enough beer (and cider) wander down to the newly renamed “Blind Tiger Tap Room” at Noir Lounge in Hayes Valley. Besides their usual menu of beer and wine, they are now offering a rare selection of beers on tap. The selection will continue to rotate. When you find your way to the 2nd bar in the back, don’t be alarmed if there is no one manning it. Grab one of the seven bar stools and check out the mirror on the wall for your night’s selection of craft beers. Unsure which one you may like? Don’t ask your bartender, he probably won’t be helpful. But the selection is so small just point your finger and take a gamble! While you’re add it, order some of their tater tots, you will not be disappointed.
Noir Lounge, 581 Hayes Street San Francisco, CA 94102
Some of you may still be in mourning from the closing of Marlena’s in Hayes Valley, and perhaps aren’t quite ready to see what has taken over the space. However, it’s time to let it go and check out Brass Tacks--everyone else has. Prepare yourself to standing room only, even during the week. This place has a real bar atmosphere with no food, unless you take the “bar snacks” sign seriously. The beer selection is beyond modest (there are even a couple of ciders on the menu). People are saying this is more of a “cocktail and wine” bar. But most of their draft beers are $5 and for San Francisco that is one hell of a bargain.
Brass Tacks, 488 Hayes San Francisco, CA 94102