MISSION District, San Francisco
There's nothing better after a long days work than plopping down on a barstool in an dingy, dark, empty bar, lighting up an illegal cigarette and watching an Irish bartender named Elvis pour 90% vodka into a glass, top it with a sprinkle of soda and call it a mixed drink.
If that's your cup of tea too, meet me at the Mission Bar or Dovre. But if you'd rather sip on an $9 mojito and mingle in a packed bar with the pretty folk .... well, you'd be better off "slumming" it at Medjool or Blondie's, you yuppie.
The pic is of JP and Atousa. JP is modeling some Shamrock tin foil thing that he pulled down from the wall and put on his head. Atousa says "beleaeadljgreoaljsl!!!!!" in support. See, if you were here, you'd be having this much fun too.
The key to Skylark is its ambiance: glittery-gold plastic booths, velvet curtains, and candles. The high ceiling, bedecked with an elaborate mural of mermaids swimming around a martini glass, adds a certain high-class feel to the bar, and low lighting and crescent-shaped wooden booths along the wall create some intimate pockets of space to sink into.
A good place to go for a couple of drinks before hitting up a Dance Club.
Dress Code: Sharp.
Keep an eye out for the small sign and the bouncer out front, otherwise you might drive or walk right by this funky bar. Low-key yet happening, Liquid is a mere block away from the bar-hopping scene around 16th and Valencia streets.
A friendly, relaxed, refreshingly mixed crowd pools into Liquid just about every night of the week, and no one bothers to cop an attitude.
Friendly bartenders pour liberally while DJs spin sing-a-long club anthems and groovy tunes that get the crowd up and moving on the small dancefloor
Dress Code: Trendy.
The well-decorated bar looks somewhat alien to those of us used to the typical brass-rail hot box. Tubes protrude from the strangely silent patrons' orifices. Spacey tunes drift out of the speakers over large sectional sofas
The oxygen served is meant to cleanse and re-energize, with "flavors" ranging from "Relax" and "Aphrodisiac" to "Euphoric"
This is an old Beauty Parlour which has been converted into a Bar. The Bar is the old Hair - Cutting Counter. They've also retained the chairs with the domed hair dryers attached that have like a space-like look. It's quite a visual treat.
Wednesday Nights are the best.
This was on Zagat's top 10 Nightlife spots in SF.
Dress Code: Trendy. If your going to wear jeans and a shirt try and make it look good.
Amnesia is your typical mission bar - small, good beer, cash only, illuminated by red lights and full of weird chotchkies hung from the ceiling. Oh and maybe some left over Christmas decorations. What I really love about Amnesia (in addition to the beer they have on tap) is the music/djs they have here. Many nights it's local old time jazz/blues. Now, let's not get the wrong idea here. This is not music to calm you down and make your elevator ride nice. This is music that makes you stop that elevator and make out in it. Check out local bands like Gaucho, Tin Cup Serenade, festivals like the Hornucopia Festival (http://www.hornucopiafestival.org/Hornucopia_Festival/Hornucopia_Festival_-_Lineup.html) and often great DJs take over on Fridays and Saturdays to make that booty bounce.
One last note on the scene in SF. I'm gonna put it out there that the indie music and electronic music scene are not the most cutting edge in SF. There are a TON of great bands that come through SF, but not really so many FROM SF. However, the one scene that is entirely off the hook, hip, fun and unpretentious in this city is the old timey music scene, and Amnesia is at the very heart of that.
Dress Code: ha, NONE
An interesting bar in the middle of the Mission district. With paintings of nude women on the walls, this is a lounge that was packed on even the mid-fall weekday that I visited it.
Dress Code: none that i know of.