The 5 coolest new cocktail bars to check out in San Francisco

Photo: Barvale/Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on April 25, 2018.

Looking for the San Francisco cocktail bar of your dreams? We've found a lineup of new spots worth checking out. Here are five places to keep in mind the next time you're in search of a cocktail bar near you.

The Bar At Hotel Kabuki

1625 Post St. (between Laguna St. & Buchanan St.), Japantown

Photo: Elena n./Yelp

The Bar At Hotel Kabuki is a lounge, cocktail bar and Japanese spot in Japantown's Hotel Kabuki.

Bar manager Stephanie Ann Wheeler, formerly of Boston’s Verb Hotel and Chicago bar Three Dots and a Dash, and Shel Bourdon of Two Roads Hospitality have designed an ambitious cocktail menu featuring iconic Japanese flavors such as miso, yuzu and umeboshi (pickled plum), reports the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Some offerings, like the Shoga Kocha (Nikka Coffey Grain whisky, lemon juice, ginger miso honey, black tea, yuzu liqueur), are served in a teapot. Food accompaniments include options like the shishito pepper appetizer and okonomiyaki, or savory pancakes. (Take a look at the full menu here.)

For fans of non-alcoholic drinks, a tea ceremony takes place in the afternoon, as Eater reports.

The Bar At Hotel Kabuki's current Yelp rating of four stars out of eight reviews indicates generally positive attention from patrons.

Yelper Elena N. noted, "I adored the decor in the lobby. A lot of cool art. Even the coffee table we were sitting around was actually a display filled with art. There were random coffee table books strewn around for browsing if you felt like flipping through. The couches and chairs were comfy. Definitely a cozy area to enjoy a drink while catching up with some friends."

Brian W. wrote, "Phenomenal cocktail menu and lounge layout. From the top-shelf Japanese whiskey to the sake that comes in a can, they're guaranteed to have something to surprise you, with enough left untried to lure you back for more."

The Bar At Hotel Kabuki is open Friday-Saturday from 4 p.m.–midnight, and Sunday-Thursday from 4 p.m.–11 p.m.

Del Mar

2125 Lombard St. (between Steiner St. & Fillmore St.), Marina

Photo: Del Mar/Yelp

Del Mar is a dance club, cocktail bar and lounge that recently opened in the former space of HiFi Lounge, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Guests can expect playful tropical-themed cocktails like Pretty Fly For A Mai Tai, Beachhh, Please... and Lavas in the Air. (Check out the full cocktail menu here.) The bar also has a happy hour featuring $5 drinks every Wednesday-Friday from 5-8 p.m. (View the happy hour menu here.)

With a three-star Yelp rating out of 14 reviews on Yelp, Del Mar is still finding its way, but it's early days.

Yelper Kristina I., who was one of the first users to visit Del Mar on March 11, wrote, "I don't know what's better, the craft cocktails, the vibe, or the bartenders —this spot has it all. I love the spicy strawberry margaritas."

Yelper Erik H. wrote, "What is different about this location is that it truly hits the tropical theme right... My friends and I had several of the new drinks and the drink we recommend highly is 'Beachhhh... Please,' a tequila-based drink with jalapeno and pineapple."

Del Mar is open from 5 p.m.–close on Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m.–2 a.m. on Friday, 2 p.m.–2 a.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m.–close on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

True Laurel

753 Alabama St. (between Laguna St. & Buchanan St.), Mission

Photo: Alison A./Yelp

True Laurel is the brainchild of Nicolas Torres and David Barzelay, of Lazy Bear fame. The cocktail bar and New American spot, offering comfort food and more, has garnered positive attention from the San Francisco Chronicle for the "intricately conceived" cocktail menu and the food's "assertive but not overbearing flavors."

Diners can expect novel cocktails like the Brokaw, Barley, & Barrels (peaty Scotch, guava, bitter wines, lemon, cardamom, hibiscus-guava jelly) and similarly novel small plates like fried sweetbreads with caramelized cabbage and spigarello, as well as new takes on comfort-food favorites like loaded baked potatoes. (You can check out both food and cocktail menus here.)

True Laurel's current rating of 4.5 stars out of 69 reviews on Yelp indicates very positive attention from users.

Yelper Stefanie C., who reviewed True Laurel on April 5, wrote, "I had two cocktails, the Brokaw and the Grandma. Both were great. The bartenders didn't quite know how to respond when I asked for recommendations because all the drinks are so unique."

Yelper Jasmine X. wrote, "The bone broth soup was legitimately rich and tasty, and the patty melt was a little bit too salty, but decadent as well. True Laurel food is definitely much more upscale than any snack that you're getting at a typical bar."

True Laurel's bar is open from 4 p.m.–2 a.m. daily, while the kitchen is open from 5 p.m-1 a.m.

White Cap

3608 Taraval St. (between 46th Ave. & 47th Ave.), Outer Sunset

Photo: Madeline z./Yelp

Recently opened by well-known local surfer Matt Lopez with head bartender and Chronicle Bar Star Carlos Yturria of The Treasury, cocktail bar White Cap is already garnering praise for its tool-themed drinks from the San Francisco Chronicle and Eater.

Cocktail aficionados can expect offerings like the Monkey Wrench (rum, coconut, seaweed, lime) and Heat Gun (mezcal, sherry, aloe, lime.) You can check out the full menu here.

White Cap's current rating of four stars out of 34 reviews on Yelp indicates positive attention from users.

Yelper Kate J., who reviewed White Cap on January 14, wrote, "White Cap is bringing a new wave of craft cocktails to the Sunset. It's owned by the same owners as The Treasury downtown, but it left any similarities in its wake. White Cap caters to blue collar customers and has many amazing cocktails, beers and wine available."

Clayton B. noted, "Pretty interesting location (you can hear the Pacific Ocean waves crashing) and a smaller/intimate interior with a younger crowd."

White Cap is open from 2 p.m.–2 a.m. daily.


661 Divisadero St. (between Grove St. & Hayes St.), Panhandle

Photo: Diane M./Yelp

Barvale is a cocktail bar and Spanish spot, offering tapas and more. Debuting this month, the bar is the brainchild of Italian-born restaurateur Adriano Paganini, also responsible for the Back of the House restaurant group.

Diners should expect to find a selection of hot tapas like salt cod bunuelos and  croquetas de jamon from Chef Patricio “Pato” Duffoo, while head bartender Jessica Everett offers innovative cocktails such as the Foxglove (amontillado, amaro, falernum, coconut, lime) and Canary Isle (rum, pine nut, grapefruit, manzanilla, becherovka.) For all the details, you can check out the full dinner menu here and the full cocktail menu here.

Barvale's current Yelp rating of four stars out of 107 reviews indicates positive attention from users.

Yelper Toni D., who reviewed barvale on April 15, wrote, "Terrific tapas place! ... Everything was super delicious! We especially liked the Rosé/Blood orange sangria (BEST. SANGRIA. EVER!)"

Sam M. noted, "Pretty good tapas place with a very reasonable price! Place was packed and space was bit tight but service was excellent."

Yelper Andy W. wrote, "The food is good here. I'm just torn on no reservations. It's good that we can just show up without any pre-planning but at the same time I hate to wait."

Barvale is open from 5 p.m.–11 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.–midnight on Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5 p.m.–midnight on Saturday, and 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5 p.m.–11 p.m. on Sunday.

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