5 San Francisco Drinking Spots to Try This Holiday Season

Cold Drinks Bar (Photo courtesy of Cold Drinks Bar)

Cold Drinks Bar

Inspired by 1930s Shanghai but still oozing contemporary luxury, this cocktail bar radiates elegance and sophistication. One floor above China Live, Cold Drinks Bar serves up sleek, mysterious vibes and approachable Scotch-centric cocktails. Food and bites from Eight Tables by George Chen round out the experience with offerings like reserve caviar on prawn chips. Can’t make it to S.F.? Every third Thursday of the month, Marinites can pick up preordered food and drinks from Cold Drinks Bar at Green Jeans Garden Supply in Mill Valley. 644 Broadway, San Francisco

Drink to try: Sometimes Old Fashioned, which is composed of Peking duck fat–washed Glenmorangie X, George Dickel Rye, black pepper, mushroom, Peychaud bitters and lemon bitters.



Shuggie’s vibrant, neon monochromatic interior — half of the restaurant is an electric yellow, the other a sultry green — has been drawing in crowds since it opened earlier this year, but the food-waste-reduction-inspired menu also plays a huge part in the spot’s popularity. The interior screams maximalist fun house, with eye-catching murals and funky decor providing a party-like atmosphere. A selection of natural wines by bottle or glass complements the pizzas and shareables, which are nuanced yet unpretentious and sourced from off-cuts and blemished produce. 3349 23rd Street, San Francisco

Drink to try: Stonefruit Froze Slushie, a refreshing rotating wine slush made with blemished and surplus fruit.



If you’ve ever lamented the lack of rooftop bars in San Francisco, look no further than Charmaine’s. Atop the San Francisco Proper Hotel, Charmaine’s sits 120 feet above Market Street and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Chic European vibes meet California cool at this bar and lounge, with a tastefully decorated interior and plush terrace seats overlooking downtown. Don’t worry about the city’s often chilly weather dampening your fun: Charmaine’s boasts 16 fire pits, an indoor fireplace and extensive drink options to keep you toasty. 1100 Market Street, San Francisco

Drink to try: the Proper Cup, a refined but easy-drinking spin on a classic Pimm’s — with the addition of absinthe.

charmaine's san francisco rooftop bar overlooking evening city view
Charmaine’s (Photo by Manolo Yllera)


With a glamorous ambiance befitting the bar’s namesake Marianne Faithfull, this exclusive, private salon has a speakeasy vibe. Tucked away behind The Cavalier, Marianne’s sets the mood with dark hues and low lights. Everything from the doorman at the entrance to the artistically graffitied bathroom (inspired by the Rolling Stones album Beggars Banquet) and eclectic decor speak to the level of attention guests receive here. If you want to soak up the vintage rock-’n’-roll vibes that accompany the elevated drink and bite options, grab some friends and stay awhile. 360 Jessie Street, San Francisco

Drink to try: Angel of the North, which features Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve Scotch with a volcanic rock salt rim.


Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon’s top floor location offers striking views of Chinatown and the city skyline from three unique vantage points, all of which are incorporated into the interior design. Dim lighting and upbeat music make this opulent restaurant welcoming and lively, and the space blends modern design elements with restored original features like the intricately carved panels and the entrance’s original wooden pergola. And of course, Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon’s seasonal and modern Cantonese menu is sure to make a trip here even more memorable. 838 Grant Avenue, San Francisco

Drink to try: Too Damn Gorgeous, a vodka cocktail made with dragon fruit, chrysanthemum, rose, Calvados and lemon.