It seems as though San Francisco opens a new hot spot every week. From sports bars and don't-miss dives to elegant cocktail lounges and brand new breweries - there's plenty of fresh choices already in 2012. Read on below for MetroWize's picks for the best new bars in 2012 (so far).
Get down home with the new wild west bar on mid-market. Slathered in cowhide and Wild Turkey Whiskey signs, this meant-to-be pop-up bar is putting some serious South in your mouth. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for twang-laden live concerts a few nights a week. And depending on how much tequila you consume… there's also a stripper pole.
Website: Facebook Page
Address: 1108 Market St (between 7th St & Jones St)
Neighborhood: Civic Center
The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee
Hot on the heels of Dear Mom success, the same masterminds have pushed towards the Potrero with the boldly named bar, The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee. With eight tasty taps, pop up snacks, and plenty of pinball and pool to keep you entertained, this saloon-style dive bar is worth the trek.
Website: Facebook Page
Address: 491 Potrero St
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill
Making over the old Kimo's space, Playland ditches the dirt and dive vibe of the old music venue in a favor of an elegant carnival-inspired funhouse. Named after an old 10-acre seaside amusement park along Ocean Beach, Playland pays homage to the days of yore with their decorations (they have a smoking bull's head imported from Guadalajara) and drinks like the Cotton Candy Cosmo.
Address: 1351 Polk St (between Austin St & Pine St)
Neighborhood: Polk Gulch
Southern Pacific Brewing
San Francisco is a city that loves its beer… and it's a city that loves local beer even more. Enter Southern Pacific, a hot new brewery out in the warehouse district of the Mission. With an industrial feel and massive space (finally a place to take the whole group!), SPB offers a wide variety of house and guest brews plus signature cocktails and a hearty menu of gourmet bar bites.
Address: 620 Treat Ave (between 19th St & Mistral St)
The Rock Bar
Set up along the La Lengua stretch between the Mission and Bernal Heights, The Rock Bar is one dive bar you don't want to ignore. Owned by the soulful folks at The Front Porch - and conveniently across the street for easy take-out - the bar specializes in brilliant craft cocktails for impressively cheap prices. Order a Real Thunderberg (Makers, Bunderberg Ginger, Underberg) for spice or a Basil Mudstone (Bulliet Rye, Pineau, Basil, Lemon Bitters) in warmer weather.
Address: 80 29th St (between Tiffany Ave & San Jose Ave)
Neighborhood: "La Lengua" (Mission/Bernal Heights)
San Francisco's been hurting for a new sports bar for a while and Rumors takes on the challenge in style. Stocked full of darts, plenty of flat screens, game time grub and pool, this SOMA spot is what we've all been waiting for. Chow down on Nippon French Fries coated in shiitake mushrooms and melted brie, or keep is classic with a Slider Trio. Then wash it down with a drink from the full bar. Stop by during happy hour from 4 - 8pm for $3 beers, $4 wells and beer/shot combos to get your night started.
Address: 398 7th St (between Harrison St & Cleveland St)
Cerveceria de MateVeza
It's about time Dolores Park got a bar (er… besides the park that is) and MateVeza offers the perfect respite. Small in size, this baby brewery serves unique house beers infused with mate along with delicious empanadas and Argentinian cuisine. The bartenders are eager to lend a hand with free tastings of their draft beers before you commit to a pint. On sunny days, browse their wide bottle selection and grab something classy for the park.
Address: 3801 18th St (between Sanchez St & Church St)
The cocktail savvy minds behind Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse are at it again with a new spin on cocktail culture in SF. Meet Local Edition, San Francisco's latest mixology bar. Nestled in the basement of the old Hearst Building, Local Edition captures the unusual charm of the newspaper business during the '50s and '60s. No secret passwords. No prohibition-themed menu. Just good ol' drinks - hot off the press.
Address: 691 Market St. (between Kearny St & 3rd St)
Gold Star Bar
Decked out with chalkboards, retro school desks, and vintage globes, this San Francisco spot quenches your thirst with crafty cocktails and childhood charm. Shoot some free pool in the back, catch the game on one of their flatscreen TVs, or check the calendar for their soon-to-be infamous "Drinktionary" tournaments. With wells starting at a reasonable $4 and beers starting at $3, this no-frills bar may be you new favorite haunt.
Website: Gold Star's Facebook Page
Address: 1548 California St (between Polk St & Larkin St)
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
With a vibe that smoothly blends antique and modern aesthetics, Raven invites revelers in to sip premium cocktails in their subtly lit lounge. Try a taste of the Velvet Death (Death Door's Gin, Velvet Falernum, Lemon Juice, Absinthe, Basil) or the Caipirinha Noir (Cachaca, Bitch Grenache, Simple Syrup, Grapefruit Juice, Muddled Lime). Then pop out for a smoke on their outdoor patio or venture upstairs for a livelier dance party come the weekend. Raven's happy hour is not to miss, featuring $4 wells, $4 drafts and $5 wine with a food menu provided by the neighboring Triptych.
Address: 1151 Folsom St (between Rausch St & Hallam St)
Subtle, yet stylish - SOMA's new addition is bringing the downtown crowd underground with a swanky new speakeasy. Tucked beneath the floorboards of Brazilian restaurant Bossa Nova, Sofa joins the cocktail craze with an intimate, Prohibition-themed lounge. Once an authentic speakeasy back in the 20s, Sofa retains that bootleg charm with a secret side entrance and intimate candlelit nooks. With Caipirinhas and Mojitos starting at $5.50, the hooch ain't too bad (and neither is the exotically sexy staff). Order up a pitcher of your favorite cocktail or browse their whiskey and rum lists to up your game.
Address: 139 8th St (between Natoma St & Minna St)
Big may not live up to its name in size (the intimate bar holds just a handful of people), but the drinks these bartenders sling more than make up for it. It's good to keep in mind from the get-go that this isn't your ordinary cocktail bar. Don't bother searching for a menu because Big doesn't have one. Rather, the bartenders concoct on the spot after a few quick questions on what you love and hate in a drink. Always a surprise, Big's one place any libation lover should try.
Address: 761 Post St
Neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin
Is there a bar we missed? Let us know below!
Popular San Francisco Content
• San Francisco Festivals Guide
• San Francisco Happy Hour Guide
• SF's Best Mixology & Craft Cocktail Bars
• SF's Booziest Liquor Stores
• Hip Hotel Guide to San Francisco
• 15 Epic Summer Parties in SF
• San Francisco's Sushi & Sake Sanctuaries
• SF's Best Rooftop Bars
• San Francisco Brewery Guide
• This Week in SF: Concerts, Festivals & Parties
• Hosted Bar Parties in SF
• Win a $1000 Bar Tab