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San Francisco's Coziest Bars

(credit: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images)

As the temperature drops and umbrellas pop, there's nothing like settling into a warm, cozy bar for a rainy afternoon or a chilly evening. Here are some favorite San Francisco spots that will warm your body and wet your lips. Cheers!


Hotel Biron
45 Rose Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 703-0403
Hotel Biron

Duck your head into Hotel Biron and you'll feel like you've wandered into a tiny wine bar in old Prague. Hidden on a side alley, but near dining favorites like Zuni and Absinthe, Hotel Biron is a smallish wine bar featuring low lighting, sleek leather couches and exposed concrete walls. The wine list is extensive and unique, with price points for every budget. And a small snack menu is available if you're feeling a bit peckish. Keep an eye peeled for the ever-changing local art hanging on the walls. And if you can't find yourself a seat, just lean against the wall, sip your wine and look cool. That's what everyone else does.


Quiver Bar at Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California
(415) 369-9955
Quiver Bar at Epic Roasthouse

Quiver is the cozy and gorgeous bar located upstairs in Paul Kuleto's Epic Roasthouse. Featuring unparalleled views of the San Francisco Bay Bridge and beyond, Quiver's big, wooden bar offers anything your top-shelf heart might desire. If you can, snag a couple of the giant leather club chairs (I call them 'Teddy Roosevelt Chairs') and settle in for a rainy afternoon. The bar menu has something for everyone, from a basket of fancy fries to an array of $5 slider options. Or snag the special: a beer, a burger and a brownie for $20.

cafe de la presse

Café de la Presse
342 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94108-3607
(415) 398-2680
Café de la Presse

Café de la Press is located just off Union Square and could be categorizes as a French restaurant, newspaper stand, coffee shop and bar. We prefer sitting at the bar on a cold afternoon with a cocktail and a newspaper. Huge windows offer wonderful people watching, just across the street from the Chinatown gates, and should you run out of reading material, there's a fabulous international newsstand on the other side of the bar. A fun, French bar menu features charcuterie, quiche, sandwiches and delightful desserts.


Connecticut Yankee
100 Connecticut Street
San Francisco, CA (415) 552-4440
Connecticut Yankee

Head out to Potrero Hill to the Connecticut Yankee, a casual sports bar with a hilarious staff. All of the big games are featured on the multiple television screens throughout this surprisingly large bar, but unlike your standard sports spots, the Connecticut Yankee's old school vibe provides some serious personality. The perfect rainy day bar, the Connecticut Yankee offers a full menu of pub grub standards. The food can be hit or miss, but the cozy ambiance and fun crowd put this spot at the top of our Rainy Day Bar list.


242 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA
(415) 986-9651

If you're good at settling into an old Hollywood bar, playing it super-cool and ordering a "house cappuccino" next to Sean Penn, then you might want to swing by Tosca. This San Francisco institution is home to the who's who of the local film, literature and arts scene, and looks like the kind of place Humphrey Bogart would prefer not to be recognized in. The house cappuccino, by the way, is hot chocolate with brandy, and if you're lucky, sneak a peek of the famed back room. It's the favorite hangout of Oscar-winners in town.

spec's yelp

12 William Saroyan Pl
San Francisco, CA
(415) 421-4112

Just across the side alley from Tosca is Spec's, much more casual than it's neighbor but just as fascinating. The walls of Spec's will keep you enthralled for hours, but if you manage to make your way through those, sit at the bar and thumb your way through hundreds of postcards sent to Spec's from patrons all over the world. On the hottest day of the year, Spec's is deep and dark, so it's up there on our list of perfect places to warm up your winter.

The Big Four
1075 California Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 771-1140
The Big Four

The Huntington Hotel's legendary restaurant and bar is the perfect special occasion cozy bar. Dark mahogany and hunter green, candlelight tables for two, a massive fireplace and musician Michael Parsons tickling the ivories for over 20 years: the Big Four will transport you back to the time of San Francisco's big four industrialists with luxury and style. We recommend sitting at the bar, chatting up Ty the charming bartender and trying some of his award-winning concoctions.

royal oak from yelp

Royal Oak
2201 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-1815
(415) 928-2303
Royal Oak

The Royal Oak is a lively Polk Street bar, the kind of place that offers weathered velvet chairs and hanging ferns. It's a trip back in time, to the 70's specifically, when the 70's hadn't yet become totally tacky. The crowd is generally folks in their 20's and 30's, and can turn into a bit of a scene late on weekend nights. But for a cozy drink or two on this adorable stretch of San Francisco, the Royal Oak fits the bill beautifully.


Brazen Head
3166 Buchanan Street
San Francisco, CA (415) 921-7600
Brazen Head

The Brazen head is the Marina bar that's not a Marina bar. Off the beaten paths of Chestnut and Union Streets, this ye olde pub is the sort of place where you'll shake off your dripping overcoat and collapse onto a bar stool. The windows are stained glass and the wood is dark at the Brazen Head, sister of the livlier Liverpool Lil's just down the street. But to hide out, with a beer and a bowl of soup? The Brazen Head fits the bill nicely.

Beth Spotswood, CBS San Francisco

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