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Arlington Heights

San Francisco

Unique SF Nightlife

My wife and I are looking for ideas for dinner and something to do afterwards on a Saturday and Sunday night in June. We're staying in Nob Hill but have a car. Tips on restaurants, bars and anything else unique to SF welcome.

5 Answers

answered by
dan from San Francisco

So my favorite restaurant in the city is Boboquivari's (Bobo's). You will find it is one of the oldest steak and seafood restaurants in the city and one of the best (they also have a great drink menu); from there you can either dive into the Marina District (nice places but can be a bit of a shit show depending on the night) or you can go to Polk Street where things are a lot of fun and while your there you can visit  Bourbon and Branch (Bourbon and Branch) a great old speakeasy. But you should try and arrange reservations to see all the different hidden rooms there, if you don't the password to get in is "books" and will get you into the main areas. 

Also you should get rid of the car; its more of a pain to have. Get an Uber account on your smart phone and call it a day, they'll take you anywhere. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Boboquivari's (attraction)
  2. Marina District (neighborhood)
  3. Polk Street (attraction)
  4. Bourbon and Branch (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

top answer by
Michael from San Francisco

So all I saw was "Unique SF", and I thought....

AsiaSF: Drag show and dinner.

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, Inside The Fairmont San Francisco: Wonderfully tacky tikki drinks with indoor rain and a moat!

Yank Sing Restaurant: Great for Dim Sum on a weekday, and everyone speaks English.

Millennium Restaurant: Incredible vegan food (seriously!)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. AsiaSF (attraction)
  2. The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar (restaurant)
  3. The Fairmont San Francisco (hotel)
  4. Yank Sing Restaurant (restaurant)
  5. Millennium Restaurant (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Debbie from San Francisco

My very first suggestion would be: not having a car in Nob Hill!  Unless you really need it, and even then, I would only get the car if I needed it right then to get somewhere.  I actually live in Nob Hill and had a car my first week here.  After having to move my car every one-two hours during certain days and hours, and having to pay $5/hour for the meter in front of my house, as well as incurring $150 in parking tickets, it was "goodbye, car!" after that week.  If you don't mind paying, though, there are parking lots in the neighborhood (typically at hotels) that are between $30-$50 with in and out privileges.  

But really -- you don't need a car to explore the city.  Even if you have a car, take public transportation to explore the city anyway and let yourself have an extra drink while also saving yourself the headache of looking for parking and dealing with city traffic.  Nob Hill is pretty much the heart of all the cool stuff in San Francisco and public transportation is very convenient there, whether you're taking the BART train or trying to hail a cab, or Uber, or Lyft.

Now onto the good stuff!

If you're looking for a nice dinner, there are actually quite a few in Nob Hill.  And I'm not just recommending them because they're conveniently located in Nob Hill; I'm recommending them because they're actually really good!  Check out these places:

  • Fleur de Lys -- really gorgeous French restaurant opened by top chef Hubert Kelly
  • Gitane -- a very sexy restaurant on the underrated Claude Lane
  • La Fusion -- my friend and I call this the "chicken place" because they serve an amazing roasted chicken, and they have really good ceviche and sangria.  The folks who opened this place used to work at the famous Zuni Cafe (which is another suggestion, but you better make reservations now), who are known for their rotisserie chicken.  Well, they pretty much serve the same thing here -- roasted chicken on a bread salad.  

    Of the places that I've listed, this could be considered more of a budget nice dinner place.  I believe $20'ish will get you half a rotisserie chicken with two sides (their sweet potato fries and mac 'n cheese are the bomb).  Don't forget the half carafe of sangria. If you can't already tell, I love this place.
  • Colibrí Mexican Bistro -- an upscale Mexican spot.  They make a mean margarita and every entree that I've ever had here has been really good.  I've never had it myself, but my friends and a lot of other folks rave about their guacamole that they make tableside to your liking.  Make sure to save room for their churros with a side of ice cream.
  • If you like steak, there are a bunch of great ones in Pacific Heights.  One is Harris' Restaurant, which is considered one of the best steakhouses in the city.  Their Waygu, which they have the American, Australian, and even Japanese versions of, melt in your mouth.
  • There's also House of Prime Rib, which is really good, too.

For drinks, here are some of my favorite places:

  • The Barrel Room -- really cool, unpretentious place to grab a glass of wine or a flight.  It's hidden in the lobby of a hotel, yet doesn't feel at all like hotel bar.
  • 15 Romolo is a really neat speakeasy'ish spot up some stairs in an alley in North Beach.  Don't mind the strip clubs around the corner.  The area is surprisingly not sketch at all considering. 

  • Another great speakeasy spot is Rickhouse.  They have a photo album-sized menu of cocktails.  True mixologists

For some good night life, walk around the Mission District for a more divey hipster feel, the The Marina District for more higher end, or Polk Street for a mix of both.  Wander into any cool bar you see or any place playing music.  Stop into random restaurants for apps/snacks.

And whatever you do, no matter how much you've eaten or drank, you must finish the night off splitting a quesadilla suiza (or a quesadilla suiza para dos if you're feeling gluttonous) at El Farolito like a true San Franciscan.  There's a reason they're open till 3:30 AM on Saturday nights.  

You'll probably hate yourself for it the next morning, but it will be delicious while you're stuffing your face, AND -- you can say you went to El Farolito in San Francisco :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fleur de Lys (restaurant)
  2. Gitane (restaurant)
  3. La Fusion (restaurant)
  4. Zuni Cafe (restaurant)
  5. Colibrí Mexican Bistro (restaurant)
  6. Harris' Restaurant (attraction)
  7. House of Prime Rib (restaurant)
  8. The Barrel Room (attraction)
  9. 15 Romolo (attraction)
  10. Rickhouse (attraction)
  11. Mission District (neighborhood)
  12. The Marina District (attraction)
  13. Polk Street (attraction)
  14. El Farolito (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by

Agree with Debbie - forget the car . San Francisco is a drag to drive in. Public transportation is pretty good.

I'm a beer aficionado and I like Monk’s Kettle in the Mission District - which is also a good restaurant

Toronado- Lower Haight- divey but entertaining

La Trappe- Russian Hill and ThirstyBear Brewing Company - Financial District.

All good food except Toronado. Many praise Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery in the Haight but I haven't been there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Monk’s Kettle (restaurant)
  2. Toronado (restaurant)
  3. La Trappe (attraction)
  4. ThirstyBear Brewing Company (attraction)
  5. Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

My dinner reqs are Bar Crudo or The Alembicbut for one of the better (and most fun) listings check out 7X7's 100 things to eat in San Francisco before you die.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bar Crudo (restaurant)
  2. The Alembic (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

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