Potation locations: What's brewing on the San Francisco bar scene?

Outer Orbit. | Photo: Leonard L./Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on November 13, 2018.

Want to check out the newest bars in San Francisco? You're in luck: we've kept track of the freshest locations for boozy libations. Here are three recent arrivals to keep in mind the next time you're in search of a state-of-the-art speakeasy near you.

Outer Orbit

3215 Mission St., Bernal Heights

Photo: Outer Orbit/Yelp

Outer Orbit is a Hawaiian-inflected bar, restaurant and arcade that recently opened at 3215 Mission St. in the former space of Belgian gastropub Bel. The project of Christian Gainsley and Elisabeth Kohnke, it specializes in vintage pinball machines accompanied by food and drinks. 

On the menu, diners will find versions of classic Japanese-Hawaiian dishes like spam musubi, featuring "spam" house-made from Duroc pork shoulder; and fusion options like taro chip nachos and shichimi togarashi-topped tater tots. The restaurant also serves brunch on weekends. (You can find the full menu here.)

For pinball newbies, the bar offers a free class in the basics of pinball on Thursday evenings, and has plans to eventually host a biweekly pinball tournament. (Find out more here.)

The new bar currently holds four stars out of 28 reviews on Yelp, indicating a positive response from clientele so far.

"The lomi lomi was great. Not too overwhelming," said Yelper Inez J., adding of the arcade section: "We didn't come for the pinball, but it was a great idea. We played three games."

"My chicken and waffles was really good — delicious mochi waffle, crispy karaage chicken, just annoyed that syrup was poured on the waffle before it hit my table," Yelper Liz B. wrote.

Outer Orbit is open from 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m.–midnight on 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.–10 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)

ALX Gastropub

680 Folsom St., Suite 125, SoMa

Photo: ALX Gastropub/Yelp

ALX Gastropub is a New American gastropub from the team behind Alexander's Steakhouse. Helmed by chef Jessie Lugo, it specializes in elevated bar fare — though a bruising review in SF Weekly notes the food is casual only by comparison to its "expense-account destination" parent restaurant.

The fancy bites include the "foie-gyu" burger, featuring two ounces of foie gras atop a 15 percent wagyu beef patty, plus the option to add freshly shaved truffles for an additional fee. There's also a version of tater tots made with chèvre, and a Berkshire pork porterhouse with figs, braised cipollini onions and charred broccolini. 

For libations, diners will find wines by the glass, draft and can craft beers from local breweries, and house cocktails like the Prime Minister (gin, blanc vermouth, curaçao and orange bitters) and the Rhymes With Orange (mezcal, Aperol, yellow Chartreuse and lemon).

The new bar's current Yelp rating of 3.5 stars out of 76 reviews indicates the newcomer is still finding its footing.

Yelper Liz B. called the Heart & Soul cocktail "deliciously light and sweet, with a beautiful orange color. Ordered the tots (I think there was cheese in them) ... those things are huge! Good enough for a whole meal, to be honest. Crunchy, warm, and a little gooey in the middle."

But Megan K. said, "Unfortunately, this place was a little underwhelming for me. ... We ordered the foie-gyu burger as everyone recommended, but it fell short of expectations. It tasted like a gourmet burger for sure, but not $38 worth. Everything else we had on the menu was mediocre as well."

ALX Gastropub is open from 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on weekends.

Seven Stills

905 California St., Stanford Court San Francisco, Nob Hill

Photo: Seven Stills Nob Hill/Yelp

The new branch of Seven Stills, located inside the Stanford Court Hotel at 905 California St. in Nob Hill, specializes in flights of craft beers and whiskeys brewed at the company's eponymous distillery in the Bayview.

The bar's owners, Clint Potter and Tim Obert, create whiskies from their own and other local breweries' beers, and serve the beers themselves to boot. Libations on the menu include the signature Eight Pounds and Five Pounds IPAs, plus rotating monthly specials.

Boilermaker enthusiasts can order a pint of Citra Cot, an apricot IPA Seven Stills made in collaboration with Bernal Heights' Bare Bottle Brewing, along with a shot of Citra Cot whiskey made from an earlier batch of the same beer, aged with more apricots. 

For bites, there are seasonal pizzas and bowls of clam chowder, plus a version of the vegan Impossible Burger with IPA-braised mushrooms and onions. Then there's the wagyu and whiskey set meal, which combines three flatiron wagyu steaks, prepared three different ways, with a flight of Seven Stills whiskeys.

And for out-of-towners, the hotel offers a Seven Stills room package, featuring discounted rates, free beer or whiskey selections, and a tour and tasting at the Bayview production facility. (You can view the full menu at Eater SF.)

Yelp users have given solid feedback to the new bar, which currently holds four stars out of 21 reviews on the site.

"Seven Stills is quickly becoming a San Francisco treasure," said Yelper Clay R. "They make some tasty beers, and their whiskey is out of this world. I love their Bayview location (the distillery), but I must admit that the Stanford Court location on Nob Hill ... pairs it with a classiness that sets it apart."

"The decor is so cute, with plants, a record player and a ton of records. Also the seating is super comfy and relaxed," agreed Brittany W. 

Seven Stills Nob Hill is open from 4 p.m.–midnight daily.

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