The Best 9 Bars Along SF’s New Crosstown Trail
From the city’s best Bloody Marys to a San Francisco icon
The (latest) best way to see S.F.: along the brand new, 17-mile Crosstown Trail, which takes the intrepid ambler from Candlestick Point to Lands End.
The best way to hike it in one go? By stopping frequently for refreshments, of course.
Below, our 9 favorite watering holes along the path — including the city’s best Bloody Marys, an actual S.F. icon and two extremely old dives.
Stop #1: St. Mary’s Pub, 3845 Mission St.
Best dive bar in College Hill, or best dive bar ever? (We vote for the latter, not least because the bar has survived since 1933.) Choose from seven different takes on the award-winning Bloody Mary, from the classic to the Inferno Mary, with habanero sauce.
Stop #2: Glen Park Station, 2816 Diamond St.
Another terrific dive bar, this one has the friendliest bartenders south of Cesar Chavez and enough TVs to ensure that whatever game you want to watch will be on.
Stop #3: OneUp, 1232 Noriega St.
Another terrific dive bar. This one comes with pool and a load of happy hour specials — like $4 whiskey shots (on Wednesdays), $3 draft beers, and $2 Buds (Mondays).
Stop #4: The Corner Spot, 1368 Irving St.
The trail heads north on 15th Avenue, where it turns west at Judah — which, unfortunately, is away from a clutch of very good establishments around 9th Avenue, including classic Irish bar Little Shamrock (no website, 545 Lincoln Way), Nopalito, Inner Fog, and Fresca. You, however, are going left — to the Corner Spot.
Stop #5: Taco Shop at Underdogs, 1824 Irving St.
Looking for something more substantial than Guinness at the halfway point? Here be tacos (and wings, and “Nachos es muy Grande.”)
Stop #6: STEINS, 731 Clement St.
Take your average dive bar, since you will certainly get your fill of those on this tour, and add a lovingly curated list of German beers — willkommen to Steins.
Stop #7: Trad’r Sam’s, 6150 Geary Blvd.
The trail heads north, first to Baker Beach, then to China Beach, but consider a detour south of a couple blocks to reach Trad’r Sam’s. You can find your you million-dollar tiki spots downtown — but here’s what tiki looks like on a budget. Can you beat a $14 Scorpion (serves four) for budget party-making?
Stop #8: Hockey Haven, 3625 Balboa St.
Dip down to Balboa for this unpretentious bar, with exactly what you’d expect (screens, pool, jukebox) and a notable early-morning opening time (10 a.m.) Don’t expect wall-to-wall NHL memorabilia; the original owner was a pro, but that was in 1949. Then stop by Miki’s (at 3639 Balboa) for ramen.
Stop #9: Cliff House
We undoubtedly saved the best: Cliff House, one of S.F.’s icons. The first iteration was built in 1863, only to be destroyed (by fire, and an 1887 crash with a schooner hauling dynamite). Today’s Cliff House might not represent the best value in S.F. dining, but it’s lasted so long for a reason, and the view is to die for. Five-dollar drafts if you can schedule your arrival for the weekday happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.).