Winter Dark Corner Drinking: My Favorite Dive Bars

I’ve recently been approached more than usual for dive bar recommendations. I guess we’ve already shaken off the healthy eating resolutions. Not that we can’t eat well on top of our drinking. Here is a full list of my reviews for SFWeekly including dive bars with food, and a few more thrown in.

SF
The Tempest
Probably the only place in SOMA where you can avoid the techie takeover happy hour. A motley crew, cheap drinks, and a kitchen that makes chicken in waffles. Sometimes on weekends they play ’90s hits so loud you keep singing everything in the tune of deep-voiced Nate Dogg hooks for several days.

Buckshot Bar and Gameroom
DSC01537Things get weird here on the weekends. And by weird I mean clubby. Otherwise, this is an interesting mancave-like dorm room place to stop while in the Richmond. Get some skee-ball in, have a sloppy joe, but don’t order a stupid drink because according to their chalkboard it costs extra.

Sweeties
I recently visited this scrappy little ruby for the first time. It’s on a quiet street in North Beach, just far enough from the tourists, just close enough to pasta. The lettering outside looks like some ’50s generic island restaurant logo. Inside there’s a kitschy Buddha sculpture next to the lone pool table. The armchairs I sat in while looking out the window were plastic and sparkly red. I had a $3 anchor. A man standing outside actually opened the door for me. There was some truly funky art on the walls. I love this place.

East Bay
DSC01992Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon
Oakland’s oldest bar is a shack built from the timbers of an old whaling ship in 1880 and has noticeably slanted floors. So no, you’re not that drunk, it’s just the floor. Have another. If you go on a Sunday you can sit outside and enjoy snacks from the Jack London Farmer’s Market.

Hotsy Totsy Club
DSC01736
This place got a serious revamp a few years ago, so you can expect a little more from the cocktail menu. But you can still find a longtime regular, cheap drink specials, and some damn good tacos from El Autlense parked outside.

I’ll be back with more soon.

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