One of the best things about living and working in a place like San Francisco is the year-round temperate weather. When we have a nice day it means it’s in the upper 60s or low 70s and there’s a nice breeze. No stifling dry heat, no uncomfortable wet mugginess to contend with. This makes al fresco dining not only highly sought-after, but also a pretty safe bet most of the time, which is why we’re always looking for an opportunity to eat outdoors and enjoy some sun while we enjoy our meals. Even better when it means a liberally extended lunch hour or one of those clever “work meetings.”
B Restaurant and Bar, a hidden oasis in SOMA, opened a little over a year ago and you have to know it’s there to enjoy it, but once you do it’s a great urban retreat. Its smart rooftop location overlooking Yerba Buena gardens gives it a leg up on other patios in the city not to mention the hip yet serene infinity fountain and the abundance of varying outdoor seating arrangements (tables, benches, makeshift fountain-side lounge); it’s hard not to have a crush on this place. We asked Paul, our friendly daytime bartender, what to expect of the clientele and he said 1/3 locals, 1/3 working professionals (think suits, not SOMA techies) and 1/3 visitors staying at the surrounding hotels. Interesting crowd, yes? And you can bet it makes for some yummy eye candy between courses or rounds.
Happy hour is definitely the scene, with the somewhat spendy specialty cocktails being reasonably priced. On our first visit during a happy hour one particularly warm Friday, the bar was three people deep. The bar/restaurant itself is situated in an airy, modern glass building which gives you the feeling of sitting outside even if the SF wind is a bit much to take advantage of real al fresco dining.
Other Observations: The sangria is subtle and mellow and most of the cocktails we’ve tried seem to have a similar low-key feel probably due to the vodka-happy cocktail menu. The food seems to take advantage of the setting with the focus being light, airy, fresh fare–think spa menus and California cuisine. We had the asparagus entree with a poached egg, which was good and fresh, but definitely on the expensive side–4 stalks of asparagus and the poached egg put us $11 in the hole. Our dining companion had the Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, which looked like a considerably larger portion size, but it still put a nice little dent in the wallet considering it was lunch.
Overall, we would recommend B for happy hour. $6 cocktails with all the pomp and circumstance of cocktail lounge darlings Bourbon and Branch and the Orbit Room at half the price and the perfect view. We, personally, couldn’t B happier.
B Restaurant and Bar [Official Site]
[Photo via Franco Folini/Flickr]