SF and alcohol are probably one of the best pairs of all time. Tequila bars? We’ve got em. Best beer gardens to spend a rare nice day in? We’ve got those too. But, perhaps my favorite kind of bar that this pretty city has to offer, is the wine bar. San Francisco may only be 7 by 7 miles, but that’s enough space for thy vino to floweth over. Therefore, I have done the very difficult job of finding the best SF wine bars in each neighborhood for you. Read on, and then go raise a glass. I won’t judge, even if it’s not the freakin weekend yet.
476 Castro Street @ 18th St.
Who says wine bars have to be prim and proper? With cozy couches, dim lighting, chalkboard listed specials and wine bar food that doesn’t seem like wine bar food, Blush! deserves the exclamation point at the end of its name, because you can’t come here without having a fun and exciting time. Hit up happy hour for 30 percent off all wines, every day until 6 pm. The kitchen is also open until 11 p.m., so don’t miss out on the cheese and charcuterie plates, the bacon and ricotta ravioli, and/or the warm chocolate fondant cake.
108-B Carl Street
Blink and you might miss this teeny wine bar, tucked into a side street in Cole Valley. But that would be a mistake, because this Italian influenced wine bar has everything you could ask for, from delicious flatbreads and pasta, to tasting flights, to 3, 6, or 12 oz pours. The staff is amicable and open to any questions you might definitely have about their extensive list of reasonably priced bottles. Pop in for apertivo hour Monday through Friday 4-6 and Saturday 3-6, because Italians appreciate day drinking. Each wine glass is $7 and the bites range from $3 to $7. You might just have to make apertivo hour an everyday thing.
2490 3rd Street
It wouldn’t really be SF if there wasn’t at least one environmentally conscious wine bar, and Yield is it. All of their wines are sustainably made, and most are certified organic as well as biodynamic. This is a place where you can feel even better about drinking wine than you already do, and I am about it. Their food menu manages to also promote all organic, locally sourced bites, but they’re also darn tasty. Go for the dip, cheese, or pizza. Whatever you put in your mouth here will be delicious and made with thoughtfulness. Tuesday night is trivia night, so if you need some feel good competition to go with your feel good fare, they’ve got you covered.
992 Market St.
This wine bar is the brainchild of beverage genius, Tom Patella, who, in case you didn’t know, was behind Causwells, so you already can tell it’s going to be good. The beer and food lists are also pioneered by chef Billy Riordan, who just finished a stint at 21st Amendment. Enjoy a wine by the glass from their extensive menu, that is broken down into wine types and flavors, from pink and bubbly to red, rustic and dry.
408 Merchant St.
We have found your perfect date spot. Great wines by the glass? Check. Flatbreads, charcuterie plates, and sliders that are locally sourced? Check. A literal bocce court? Check. And their wine list draws inspiration from different countries, and continents, so you’d be hard pressed not to find something to sip and savor. The only thing you’ve got to nail now is the goodnight kiss.
20 Yerba Buena Lane
Located centrally downtown, this wine bar is cozy chic. With a seasonally changing food menu, as well as varied beer and wine lists, this is the perfect place for a night cap, or for a late dinner. Choose from the cheese and charcuterie options or try the duck confit mac n cheese, the empanada trio, or the Catalan lamb meatballs. Pair with one of the many wine flights, or just a glass of your fave sparkling beverage.
415 Sansome Street
This place has a killer happy hour, offers weekly tastings, and makes some of the best mac n cheese I have ever had. Their menus change quarterly, focusing on a new wine region each time. Their current focus is Eastern Europe. Try the crispy brussels sprouts, and if you’re more cocktail queen than wine wizard, the cocktails are $8 during happy hour (weekdays 2:30 to 5:30), while the house red and white are $6.
Two Embarcadero Center
If you want to feel like you’re just casually drinking wine at home, this is the place for you. Full of bold colors, comfy couches, and plenty of artwork, it is easy to settle in here after a long Monday. Choose from the featured wine flight, or grab a glass of your fave red or white. Pair with one of the savory flatbreads, like prosciutto or mushroom.
1640 Haight Street
Just because this place isn’t strictly a wine bar, doesn’t mean it lacks in functioning like one. With thoughtful, fresh food, super helpful staff, and a lovely happy hour. Pop in to grab a craft cocktail, some Kennebec fries, and a glass of the house wine.
45 Rose Street
Don’t let the name deceive you, this place is in fact, not a hotel. Instead, it’s a shabby/french/noir chic bar, located in a little alley way. The menu boasts mostly cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie, so how could you not want to be here? Choose from the regional wine list, and wistfully appreciate the rotating art. Do you feel French yet? Oui, moi aussi.
313 Ivy St.
A labor of love, the web page boasts that “Fig & Thistle has been brought into existence from good friendships and countless hours laughing at the dinner table, and we hope to extend this experience to you and yours here at our bar.” And it does just that, from a selective wine list, and small snacks, this is the perfect cozy spot to catch up with your friend from out of town.
545 Irving Street
The sunset isn’t exactly rife with wine bars, which makes Inner Fog so great for the neighborhood. I have on good authority that this is a solid spot for a Tinder date. They focus on shared plates, and have recently redone their wine list to appeal to a broader audience. There’s also a wine club you can join if you’re so inclined.
Lower pac heights/Presidio Heights
2800 California Street @ Divisadero
When a wine bar’s name actually translates to The Divine Purpose of Wine, you know you’re at the right place. There’s an emphasis on pairing wines here with your mood and desires, as opposed to with meat and cheese. That being said, they still serve some fabulous food. Try Nona’s Meatball Slider on Grilled Focaccia w/ Parmesan, the daily chef oysters from 3-6 pm, or the daily bruschetta. There is also a mix and match cheese and charcuterie plate, where you can pick up to 5 kinds of cheese to sample.
2113 Chestnut St
This popular Marina spot is a part wine bar and part wine store. Open late all day every day, this place gets lively AF. Come in to taste wine, buy wine, and maybe even sign up for the wine club. The wines are mostly from the Pacific Northwest, and you can get a half glass for a mere $3.50. You can make your own wine flight, or try theirs.
3565 20th St.
It doesn’t get much cooler than a record store turned wine bar. And the interior might just convince you that you’re still in that record store, with warm vintage lighting vibes, comfy couches, and hand crafted tables. With a food menu that veers far from the typical wine bar fare, this place is offering lasagne and duck confit. And of course, have one of the many wines by the glass.
1754 Polk Street
All it takes is a few steps into this wine bar to feel transported far from the bustle of SF and the mega rough Monday you had. Take in the warm lighting, plush leather seats, and intimate set up. Then order a reasonably priced glass of wine from the menu, which emphasizes French wines (le duh) but also features wines from California, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina. They’re best known for the ravioli de royans, which are topped with black truffle and truffle oil, to which you can add salmon or prosciutto. head to happy hour for $7 mushroom flatbread, and a $10 custom flight of wine.
1945 Hyde Street
Watch the cable cars pass by, and laugh at the tourists who thought summer in San Francisco was a good idea. Their extensive and inexpensive charcuterie platter should not be missed.
216 Townsend Street @ 3rd
If you need somewhere to kill time before a baseball game, and want to pay normal human prices for alcohol, head to District. Boasting over 40 wines by the glass, pizzas, and $6 everything during happy hour (yes please!) Monday through Friday 4-6 and Saturday 5-7. Try the truffle parm fries, and the fontina and spinach ricotta arancini because there’s no such thing as too much fried food on game day.
858 Folsom St.
Just when you thought there was nothing new that could be done in the alcohol world, they up and give us a wine pub. As in there is wine on tap here. I’m never leaving this place. It has all you need, from a happy hour that starts at 3:30 and ends at 7:30 to mac n cheese pizza, fried green beans, and poutine. The heart attack will be worth it. Oh, and there’s sangria, in case you needed more convincing to go to a wine pub.
678 Geary Street
Head to happy hour till 7 p.m. for $3 off glasses of wine. This wine bar is open late too though to accommodate the night owls of the world. Open till midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, as well as 10 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. There’s a solid amount of sparkling, white and red wines to choose from. While the food is on the lighter side, you can’t go wrong with the artichoke flatbread and some Marcona almonds.
320 Geary St.
Located in the center of it all, this Union Square wine bar appeals to tourists and locals alike. With nearly 50 wines by the glass to choose from, variety is the spice of life here. If you’re feeling truly indulgent, pair a wine tasting with a chocolate tasting. The perfect place to head to pre or post-Hamilton, as its open from 3 p.m. till 10 p.m.
230 W Portal Ave
If this place had a motto it would be “In puns we trust.” But creative name aside, this West Portal Wine stop is actually pretty great. Happy hour is on Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and offers $1 off glasses, and 10 percent off bottles. The hours are limited, but if you can make it in here, you won’t be disappointed. Make sure to enjoy the weekly flight, as it rotates.
You officially have my permission to go w(h)ine your little heart out at any and all of these places. Can I get a #yeswayrosé? *insert wine glass emoji*
[featured image by dariale1 on instagram]