Where to Day Drink in San Francisco
San Francisco chefs Evan and Sarah Rich share their favorite places for drinking, nibbling and ogling the bay on a lazy afternoon.
Between its laid-back vibe, generally-agreeable climate and top-tier beer and wine, San Francisco is a city made for day drinking. But not every watering hole is suited to the task; why spend a sunny day sipping beer in a dark cavern of a bar?
We asked Evan and Sarah Rich, the chefs behind the highly-acclaimed Rich Table and the upcoming RT Rotisserie, where they head for a daytime drink when they find the rare moment away from their restaurants and kids. Here’s what they had to say.
Outerlands: Beer & Grilled Cheese
Just a few blocks from the Pacific, this wood-paneled eatery is an ideal spot for an afternoon beer and a grilled cheese served on their “famous house-made Tartine-esque bread.” According to Evan, the sandwich is perfect when paired with “the crisp Kolsch from the beloved local Fort Point brewery.”
Arguello: Mezcal Margaritas
Near their home in the Presidio, the former military barracks that now form one of San Francisco’s best-loved parks, the Riches consider Arguello an ideal destination for an “afternoon pitcher of smoky mezcal margaritas”—and, if the mood strikes, top-tier Mexican fare from Traci Des Jardins.
The Cliff House: Bloody Marys
It’s hard to top a proper Bloody Mary at this cliff-top restaurant, which dates back to 1863. “You can't beat the views or the throwback salty goodness of their calamari.”
Zuni Café: Rosé and Oysters
This legendary California bistro needs no introduction; any food-loving San Franciscan can find a reason to head to Zuni, whether for a hefty burger or their famous roast chicken with bread salad. When the Riches find themselves at Zuni, a block away from their own Rich Table, they go for a platter of raw oysters and a bottle of chilled rosé.
House of Prime Rib: Martinis
A San Francisco institution—“with zeppelins of juicy prime rib, tableside-spun salads and extra-rich creamed spinach”—House of Prime Rib pours double-sized martinis, served right in the shaker: an ideal project for a lazy, indulgent afternoon.
Hog Island Oysters: Champagne & Shuck-Your-Owns
Shucking oysters right on the waters of Tomales Bay with a chilled bottle of bubbles by your side is exactly the kind of experience that could convince a person to move to Northern California. When the Riches carve out time to escape the city, their destination is a “sun-soaked picnic table for briny oysters and champs.”