Winter in San Francisco can mean ice skating in Union Square, taking in the twinkling lights of the Embarcadero, or sipping cocktails all over town to help you deal with visiting relatives and tourist crowds. Celebrate the season with a rum-spiked drink at any of these 10 festive spots around the city.Read More
San Francisco’s Most Festive Spots for the Winter
So many places to drink in the season.
If you’re looking to dance away the cold this year, then Beaux is exactly where you want to be. Located in the heart of the Castro, this LGBT+-friendly bar and club boasts a roster of bartenders mixing signature cocktails like the Mint to Be, a blend of BACARDÍ, muddled mint, coconut water, lime, and soda that is sure to keep you dancing through the winter.
Even though the Atwater Tavern only dates back to 2014, the bayside restaurant and bar pays homage to the old school dishes and drinks that made San Francisco famous. Think fresh, local seafood like west coast oysters, local cod, and that classic winter warmer cioppino, a rich seafood stew created by Italian immigrants in San Francisco in the 19th century. Pair with a BACARDÍ Superior cocktail, Atwater’s incredible views of San Francisco bay, and enjoy.
One Market Restaurant
Sometimes the season calls for getting dressed up, gathering your closest friends and family, and treating each other to a special meal. And for that, Embarcadero staple One Market has you covered. Start off your evening with a Hemingway Daiquiri, a far cry from the overly sweet frozen slush you might be used to. Made from BACARDÍ Superior, fresh lime, and house-squeezed grapefruit, it’s a refreshing way to kick off your meal. Then treat yourself to bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin or pan-seared scallops, or go all out with the chef’s tasting menu — come on, you’re celebrating!
If you’re wandering the Marina looking for a place to settle in after a cold day, look no further than The Brixton, Union Street’s gastropub named for the storied rock ‘n’ roll venue in London. The rock vibe permeates the space, from the regalia on the walls to the leather accents to the stiff drinks. Get yourself a cocktail, order some pretzel knots and fiery mac and cheese, and scroll through your boat parade pics to see what makes the Instagram cut.
Fairmont San Francisco
Visitors to San Francisco’s famed Fairmont Hotel have two choices for escaping the winter blues: Go the traditional route (if you can call a life-size gingerbread house “traditional”) with a stop in the hotel’s lobby, or transport yourself to a tiki-lover’s paradise in the Tonga Room. The lobby’s two-story gingerbread creation, made from 10,000+ gingerbread bricks, even houses a private dining room for those seeking the ultimate winter meal (and a ton of Instagram likes…). If you’re looking for a tropical vibe, in the legendary Tonga Room you can groove to the sounds of the house band while you sip on the bar’s 1934, made with BACARDÍ 8 Year Rum, or the Rainmaker tiki bowl, and let the rum help you pretend the rain showers over the “lagoon” are really tropical downpours on a white-sand beach.
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Twenty-one floors up, the Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel has some of the best views in town, especially during the winter when you can look out on Union Square’s massive ice-skating rink. Order yourself a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, snag a space by the window, and take in the twinkling lights from a place that’s not short on sparkle itself — check out those chandeliers!
Iron Horse Cocktails
Paying tribute to the legendary Iron Horse Restaurant that once stood on Maiden Lane, Iron Horse Cocktails blends the best of the old school with the new in digs that are simultaneously cozy and festive, a great mix for that happy hour. Think cocktails concocted by some of San Francisco’s mixologists and decor that will transport you back to another era.
Bay Area music fans may know August Hall as a place to catch their favorite acts when they come through town, but the venue’s worst-kept secret could be the real star of the show. This season, music-lovers can catch sets from White Panda or Roosevelt and then slip upstairs, through the door that says “Relief from the glare of the stage,” and indulge in a cocktail and some quieter conversation in the Green Room. After the show, head next door (it’s connected so no need to go outside) to Fifth Arrow. Try the Dogtooth Cocktail, made with white rum, pisco, citrus, and fortified wine, for a perfect post-concert sip.
The basement of Monarch is where you go when you want to dance, but the upstairs lounge is where you go to get a world-class cocktail. The Victorian, steampunk-inspired décor is amped up around winter season, so take a breather from the dance floor with a festive cocktail. And waiting to order a High Seas Cocktail at the vintage redwood bar isn’t as annoying as at most other spots — thanks in large part to the aerial performers stationed above the bottles of booze.