Chron Unveils Their Top 100 Bars, Snubs Alembic, Blackbird, Cantina

Photo: Camper English/Facebook

San Francisco, as the Irish bar-owner father of a friend once told us, has always been “the most drinkin-est town” he knows. We may not have the most bars per capita in the nation — that title goes to Hurley, Wisconsin, with a bar for every 47 residents — but we have a hell of a lot of them. The Bay Area boasts a bevy of world-class dives, the OGs of the Tiki craze, and the cocktail culture here has gotten to the point where an armchair critic is as likely to judge a restaurant on the ratios in their Aviation as they are the pinkness of their medium-rare ribeye. So, it’s about time that the Chronicle decided to whip out a list of the Top 100 Bars around the Bay to go with their Top 100 Restaurants and Top 100 Wines lists.

As with any such lists, there are going to be omissions that were based on the subjectivity of the staff — or in order to make room for some outer-Bay Area picks, so as to keep Walnut Creek readers from whining too much. A few obvious snubs catch our attention, as they’re among our favorite bars in town: The Alembic in the Upper Haight is a mainstay on best bar lists, and besides having a well curated whiskey selection (putting them in the spirits-curator category), there’s also good food (putting them in the food-centric category), and the bartenders have always been known to mix some interesting new and classic cocktails. Among other snubs here are Cantina, Bourbon & Branch, Range, both Blackbird and Twin Peaks in the Castro, and in the dive-bar category, the 500 Club. Expect a snubs list like we do with the Top 100 Restaurants each year later in the day. But for now, their full list, below.

Also, note that like Bauer’s Top 100 Restaurants list, the Top 100 bar list will be becoming an iPhone app shortly.

Click the linked category titles for expanded descriptions and must-have drinks.

Aub Zam Zam
Big 4
Buena Vista Cafe
Harry Denton’s Starlight Room
Joe’s of Westlake (Daly City)
Pier 23 Cafe
The Saloon
Sam’s Anchor Cafe (Tiburon)
Tadich Grill
Zuni Cafe

Cocktail Masters
15 Romolo
Bar Agricole
Comstock Saloon
Fifth Floor
Goose & Gander (St. Helena)
Heaven’s Dog
The Hideout at Dalva
Hotsy Totsy Club (Albany)
Jasper’s Corner Tap
Michael Mina
Plum Bar (Oakland)
Prizefighter (Emeryville)
Spoonbar (Healdsburg)
Two Sisters Bar & Books
Wilson & Wilson at Bourbon & Branch

Beer Specialists
Albatross Pub (Berkeley)
Beer Revolution (Oakland)
City Beer Store
Lagunitas Tap Room & Beer Sanctuary (Petaluma)
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
Monk’s Kettle
OL Beercafe and Bottle Shop (Walnut Creek)
Russian River Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa)
Southern Pacific Brewing Co.
The Trappist (Oakland)

Antonio’s Nut House (Palo Alto)
Broken Record
Cafe Van Kleef (Oakland)
Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon (Oakland)
Hotel Utah
Kennedy’s Irish Pub & Curry House
Molloy’s Tavern (South San Francisco)
Mr. Bing’s
The Ramp
Sam Jordan’s
Tee Off Bar & Grill (Clement and 32nd Avenue, SF)
Wild West Side (424 Cortland, SF)

Adesso (Oakland)
Boot & Shoe Service (Oakland)
Bottega (Yountville)
Corners Tavern (Corners Tavern)
Epic Roasthouse
Hog & Rocks
Marinitas (San Anselmo)
Martin’s West (Redwood City)
Oenotri (Napa)
Original Joe’s
The Refuge (San Carlos)
Under Attic (San Mateo)

Spirits Curators
La Bodeguita de Medio (Palo Alto)
Pican (Oakland)
Nihon Whiskey Lounge
Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant
Walnut Creek Yacht Club

Wine Bars
123 Bolinas
Bergamot Alley (Healdsburg)
Bounty Hunter (Napa)
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Uva Enoteca
Va de Vi (Walnut Creek)
Willi’s Wine Bar (Santa Rosa)

Sports Bars
Kezar Pub
Public House
Ricky’s Sports Theatre and Grill (San Leandro)
The Taco Shop at Underdogs

Forbidden Island (Alameda)
Smuggler’s Cove
The Tonga Room
Trad’r Sam
Trader Vic’s (Emeryville)

Bay Area’s Top 100 Bars [Chron]

Chron Unveils Their Top 100 Bars, Snubs Alembic, Blackbird, Cantina