Amazing Cocktails Rule at SF’s Best New Restaurants

Also on the menu: live-fire cooking, pinecone syrup and sliders served on a sword

May 26, 2023 7:02 am
A spread of cocktails on a bar table.
One of SF's new cocktail bars featues pisco-centric cocktails.
La Mar/Marc Fiorito

Talented cooks have been turning up the heat at Bay Area cocktail bars for quite some time, but there are a few newcomers to add to your list. In addition to three new cocktail-driven dining establishments, we were also excited to check out two new locavore spots — one in Yountville, the other in Palo Alto — with menus built around mastery of live-fire techniques for the former and, for the latter, sustainable, clean living…with a few decadent twists.

a cup shaped like a bear cub filled with a cocktail.
The Cubby Colada, served in a honey bear glass.
Rendezvous/Albert Law



This new watering hole from award-winning bar veteran Shaher Misif is already garnering attention for drinks that manage to keep pretension at bay in spite of their over-the-top playfulness — particularly when it comes to glassware. The Cubby Colada with genever, flower water, coconut cream and pineapple is served in a honey bear glass, while the #DuckieRosé with rosé sangria comes with its very own rubber duckie. Nibbles to accompany these Insta-worthy drinks lean into the upscale bar food motif, with offerings like fondue with pretzels and French bread, mortadella sliders (with or without truffles) or Swedish meatballs served on a sword. Rendezvous also has plans to host regular pop-ups and transient chefs, who promise to add to the avant-garde appeal.

2030 Lombard Street

Bar area at La Mar
La Mar’s bar is newly renovated and embraces the flavors and feel of Peru.
Marc Fiorito

La Mar Bar


Joining La Mar Cocina Peruana, the Bay Area’s premier Peruvian sea-to-table restaurant from Gaston Acurio, the newly renovated La Mar Bar embraces the flavors and feel of Peru. In a sea-inspired space, sip on pisco-centric cocktails like the Citrus Chilcano pairing pisco with a host of citrus and ginger; the Golden Gate Punch, uniting pisco with fernet and spiced pineapple cordial; or the Que Bacan, a Peruvian play on an espresso martini. Peruvian bar snacks from Executive Chef Victoriano Lopez may include taquitos filled with salmon, tuna or crab, or dig into a corn fondue made with Peruvian corn and sweet corn sauce. Enjoy these and other treats with an appropriately pierside view.

PIER 1 1/2 The Embarcadero N

SF’s Best New Restaurants Include the East Bay’s Best New Pizza Spot
Also: a downtown wine bar, more Cal-Italian and a Filipino fast-casual expanding to Oakland
the outside of the north block restaurant.
The Restaurant at North Block uses live-fire and open-hearth cooking techniques.
The The Restaurant at North Block

The Restaurant at North Block


Californian ingredients take center stage from daily brunch to the wee hours at the Restaurant at North Block. Hinging on a mastery of live-fire and open-hearth cooking techniques, the menu may feature flatbreads topped with Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, foraged mushrooms and local clams or Devil’s Gulch ranch chicken with wild mushrooms and confit potatoes. At brunch, enjoy a classic omelet with farm eggs; with last call, tuck into a platter of artisan local cheeses with house-made sourdough. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, is rooted in classic techniques and that still-same local appeal: The Sitka & Shroom pairs rye whiskey and Armagnac with redwood tip and pinecone syrup for a very Muir Woods-y breath of fresh air, or opt for the Sea-Tini with oyster-infused Sheringham Seaside Gin and yuzu-infused roe, served from a tableside cocktail cart for an extra dose of old-school glam.

6757 Washington St.

eggs benedict on a plate.
Wild Onion’s Carnitas Eggs Benny.

Wild Onion Bistro & Bar

Palo Alto

Sustainable, California-inspired cuisine is on the menu at Wild Onion Bistro & Bar at Hotel Citrine. In this beautiful, airy dining room, Executive Chef Julie Cablay’s inaugural offerings tap into the pleasures of a clean-living mindset and the wealth of Sonoma Valley produce (with a few delicious, decadent twists). The Palo Alto Chopped Salad sees crisp romaine, grilled zucchini and asparagus tips united with flash fried chickpeas, crispy artichoke hearts, and rich Italian charcuterie. A zingy red wine vinaigrette seals the deal. Skuna Bay salmon may feature in an otherwise classic rendition of a salade niçoise or alongside a spring succotash with fennel and preserved lemon salad. And local Niman Ranch and Flannery Beef supply the pork chop for a heavenly pork Milanese or a 28-day dry-aged ribeye (respectively). All marry wonderfully with local wines, craft brews and handcrafted cocktails.

750 San Antonio Rd

seating area at the felix restaurant.
The Felix’s team hopes to cultivate lively energy in this new space.
erin ng

The Felix


If you like Bodega SF, you’ll love the Felix, a new speakeasy from the team behind the popular Vietnamese restaurant. This intimate, 36-seat cocktail bar gets its name from a server who worked at owner Matt Ho’s family’s restaurant, Bodega Bistro, for over a decade: According to Ho, Felix’s lively energy is exactly the vibe the team hopes to cultivate in this new space, bedecked with Prohibition photos reworked by local artist Tod the Bunny. The Asian-inflected classic cocktail menu crafted by bartender Wat Zhuo may feature the Bohemian Rhapsody, with gin, green chartreuse and chrysanthemum syrup topped with a cassis float, or the Pho Wimme, a fat-washed rye spiced with mole bitters and Benedictine. To accompany these flavorful, well-crafted choices, tuck into a selection of small plates like Tom Yum Chex Mix and a soft shell crab sambo served with pickled veggies and spicy mayo on a sweet pineapple bun. And anyone looking for slightly more copious fare can always venture upstairs to continue the night with Bodega SF’s elevated Northern Vietnamese dishes.

138 Mason Street


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