Restaurants

13 Whiskey bars to give a shot in the Bay Area

Pun Intended

by Alexander Quebec & Jenn Ward

With St. Patricks Day coming up, many of you might be tempted to hit up the local Irish themed pub for some brews and beef and cabbage. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, we decided to shake things up a bit with a carefully curated list of some whiskey places perfect for St. Patricks Day, or any day you’re needing some of that “Water of life”

St. George2601 Monarch Street, Alameda, CA 94501

One of the best known distilleries in the Bay, St. George has been putting out quality craft spirits for decades now. Do a distillery tour, learn all about the hows and whys of what they do, and finish it off with tastes of what you just learned about. Reservations are strongly recommend.

 

O’Sullivan’s5660 Thornton Ave, Newark, California 94560

This hidden gem of a sports bar is a local favorite. While they have dozens of large TV’s for watching any game that is currently showing on, it’s the sheer volume of spirits available that puts this place on the map, from Irish and Japanese whiskies to gins and vodkas.

 

Bourbon & Branch501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

This is the closest to a choose your own adventure speakeasy in real life. With not one but four different bar themes to select, you will find the perfect spot to order up a dram. Additionally, this spot boasts exclusive whiskies and other libations from around the world.

 

Hard WaterPier 3, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

With a “library” counting well over 400 different whiskies, and a fantastic kitchen, this has become a waterside destination for brown spirits lovers. Try one of their whiskey flights or a Bourbon Lift cocktail, paired with oysters or hush puppies for an incredible night.

 

 

Dirty Habit12 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Located on the fifth floor of Hotel Zelos, this 1920’s noir inspired lounge is the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of SoMa, especially on a drinking holiday. The food menu is changed frequently to keep up with what’s in season, and the cocktails follow suit. With an impressive selection of whiskies from around the world, and one of the best rooftops in the city, this is a must.

 

Paper Plane72 S. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113

Settled in the heart of Downtown San Jose, this bar embodies the word quirky. Industrial chic interior, drinks that range from classic to adventurous, and a fantastic happy hour, popping in is made all the easier with several VTA busses stopping right in front.

 

Haberdasher43 W. Salvador, San Jose, CA 95113


Around the corner from Paper Plane, down a flight of stairs, is one of the most charming modern speakeasies in California. Posh settings, a rotating menu of cocktails on tap, and staff that might have walked right off the set of “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, you will feel just as at home sipping your neat whiskey as you will your Amaro Nonino Hot Toddy.

 

Rickhouse246 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Another themed bar from the Bourbon & Branch group, Rickhouse celebrates all things whiskey, specifically the aging process. The space is not just decorated in barrels, but key features are made from used barrels. Cocktails change seasonally, bringing something new every few weeks.

 

Local Edition691 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Situated in the historic Hearst building, this spot totally embraces its printed newspaper history. Focusing on the drinking habits of the 1950’s and 60’s, this is the perfect spot to get your Don Draper on.

 

15 Romolo 15 Romolo Place, San Francisco, CA 94113


In the heart of the North Beach district, and yet tucked away up a small alley, 15 Romolo is the best of all worlds. Small plates, substantial burgers, deeply chilled sherry on tap, and a well curated collection of spirits, this is the calm eye of the St. Patty’s Day Party storm.

 

The Alembic 1725 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Near Golden Gate Park, this spot boasts both an amazing kitchen and bar. The prix fixe is a must, and it changes every several weeks. The bar often plays off of what is coming out of the kitchen, and regularly hosts spirit brands with special cocktail menus.

 

Roots & Rye 3055 Olin Ave, San Jose, CA 95128


Located inside Santana Row, Roots & Rye offers an eclectic variety of whiskeys, everything from old favorites to currently trending varieties. The Craftsman like atmosphere stands in contrast to the otherwise conventional outdoor shopping center appearance. Make sure you come hungry too, they’ve just added prime rib to the menu.

 

The Buena Vista Cafe – 2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Credited with being the spot that introduced America to the Irish Coffee, there is no better place to start out. With incredible views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge, breakfast dishes to die for, and bartenders that make an estimated 2,000 coffees each day, you will feel a bit o’ the luck for hours.

 

All photos courtesy of each business via thier respective Facebook pages, except Haberdasher (Credit to Thrillist) and Roots & Rye (Credit goes to eater.com)

Like all good things, enjoy your whiskey responsibly.

 

 

 

 

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