Indulging in a glass of wine while enjoying the company of friends is a cherished pastime of mine in San Francisco. The city offers numerous establishments where one can savor a fine glass of wine, but which ones are truly exceptional?
This compilation of recommendations for San Francisco wine bars comprises the establishments I frequent most often. You’ll find these venues scattered throughout the city, allowing you to explore various districts while sampling exquisite wines from around the globe.
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Vinoteca is an enchanting wine bar and store situated in the historic Ferry Building along the waterfront. It boasts an extensive assortment of wines available by the glass.
Additionally, you can purchase a bottle from their shop and enjoy it within their bar. It’s a delightful way to spend a few hours before, after, or during a shopping excursion in the Ferry Building.
Vinoteca’s selection of wines changes regularly. They also offer different serving sizes, enabling you to taste (2 ounces), have a glass (5 ounces), or share a carafe (375 milliliters) with friends.
The establishment offers one to two flights where you can sample three to four wines simultaneously.
Would you like to complement your wine with some cheese or bread? You can either order from their menu or acquire some delectable treats from the other stores within the Ferry Building and relish them right in the bar.
Address: One Ferry Building, Shop 23
District: Financial District/Embarcadero
Ideal for: Relaxed afternoons, socializing with friends, and individuals catching the ferry across the bay.
Wine Society This relatively new wine bar in San Francisco has taken the place of my previous favorite spot, Hidden Vine, at the same cozy red-brick location in the Financial District.
They offer a splendid variety of wines, and the ambiance is perfectly suited for a casual evening out. Among their creative tasting flights, you’ll find “Unusual Suspects,” “Dual Monarchy,” and “Italian the Stallion,” each with its own captivating story.
If you feel like dropping by for some outdoor fun, they are also open in the afternoon, featuring a bocce court on the patio.
Their menu boasts delicious bites, including a delightful charcuterie and cheese plate. And if you have a sweet tooth, their famous nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies are a must-try.
Address: 408 Merchant Street
District: Financial District
Ideal for: Post-work gatherings or a night out with friends.
The Secret Cellar
This hidden gem of a wine bar truly embraces the speakeasy concept. Its name, The Secret Cellar, is derived from its entrance, cleverly disguised as a pawn shop, where you must engage with the pawn master to gain entry.
If you initially feel like you’ve stumbled upon the wrong place, fear not! Once you traverse the secret entrance, you’re in for an enchanting and entertaining evening.
The food served here follows a tapas-style approach, offering Spanish-inspired small plates that are sophisticated, flavorful, and vegetarian-friendly.
The drink selection mirrors this approach, featuring a variety of sangria, delightful cocktails, and a fantastic array of wines, primarily hailing from Spain, France, Italy, and local vineyards.
Address: 993 Mission Street
District: SOMA/Theater District
Ideal for: Intimate date nights or pre- and post-theater excursions.
Cafe Meuse wine bar holds a special place in the hearts of locals, often bustling with activity and exuding a warm, lively ambiance. Situated at the corner of Pacific and Hyde, it offers patrons the opportunity to observe the passing cable cars while savoring their wine in a cozy setting.
Their wine menu showcases an exceptional selection from around the world. You can delight in wines from New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Austria, and numerous other countries, as well as local wines from Sonoma County and the Russian River Valley.
Moreover, Cafe Meuse serves delectable small plates and desserts, such as Vic’s white truffle mac n’ cheese and warm cable car apple crisp.
Address: 1440 Pacific Avenue
District: Russian Hill
Ideal for: Intimate dates or relaxed evenings with a close-knit group of friends.
This wine bar and Italian restaurant will transport you straight to Italy. From the lively conversations in the family-style dining room to the amiable service provided by the staff, you’ll instantly feel at home in VinoTerra.
Not only does it offer delicious and authentic Tuscan cuisine, but the establishment also boasts an impressive knowledge of their wine selection.
Choose from over 30 Italian wine varieties, available by the glass or half-glass, and explore more than 100 wines from smaller producers, emphasizing biodynamic wines and indigenous varietals.
Address: 108B Carl Street
District: Cole Valley
Ideal for: Memorable wine and dining experiences on special occasions.
Vic’s Winehouse on Fillmore
One of San Francisco’s most exceptional new wine bars is Vic’s Winehouse on Fillmore. This charming establishment showcases unique wines, mouthwatering empanadas, and live music.
Vic’s Winehouse features lesser-known wines from wineries around the world, presenting top picks from Sonoma, Paso Robles, Argentina, Portugal, and beyond. You can order wines by the glass or the bottle, and I highly recommend trying their flight options to sample a range of distinct wines at once.
It’s worth noting that they also offer a selection of beers and sake for those who may not be as fond of wine.
Happy Hour extends throughout the entire day on Tuesdays and from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm every Wednesday to Friday. The establishment is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Address: 1870 Fillmore Street
District: Lower Nob Hill
Ideal for: Casual evenings out in town, providing a more local atmosphere.
Le Charm is a local wine bar nestled within San Francisco’s Nob Hill district. During my time living just a block or two away, I frequented this venue extensively.
While it may not be the most spacious establishment, arriving early ensures no difficulty in securing a small table or a seat at the bar. However, be aware that the place has gained immense popularity, making it challenging to find seating after 8 pm most nights.
Their wine menu showcases a diverse array of selections from around the world, regularly updated with new and enticing options.
I particularly relish their cheese plate, offering a variety of cheeses to choose from. If you find yourself unsure which cheeses pair best with your chosen wines, the wait staff will gladly assist in finding delightful combinations.
Address: 1754 Polk Street
District: Nob Hill
Ideal for: Nights out on the town with friends.
Grape & Bloom
Grape & Bloom stands out among the finest wine bars in San Francisco. Stepping inside feels like entering someone’s cozy living room, creating the perfect setting for savoring exceptional wines.
In addition to their excellent wine selection, Grape & Bloom also offers an assortment of delectable beers and small bites. Their meat and cheese trays provide just enough to satisfy your palate until dinner.
Address: 313 Ivy Street
District: Hayes Valley
Ideal for: Early evening wine tastings.
Maison du Vin
Maison du Vin is a cozy wine bar nestled within San Francisco’s vibrant Hayes Valley district. I enjoy visiting this venue on date nights or when hosting friends from out of town. The atmosphere is charming and remains relatively uncrowded until the late-night crowd arrives.
They offer a modest selection of wines by the glass, but their impressive collection of bottles is where Maison du Vin truly shines. With a wide range of wines hailing from the US, Spain, France, Italy, and more, you’ll have no trouble finding an exquisite wine to satisfy your taste.
Address: 45 Rose Street
District: Hayes Valley
Ideal for: Early evening wine tastings and intimate date nights.
The Cellar Door
The Cellar Door, located in San Francisco’s Financial District, is the final wine bar on my list. This intimate establishment offers a generous happy hour from 4 pm to 5:30 pm, where you can enjoy small bites or indulge in a glass of house wine for just $7.
While I personally enjoy The Cellar Door for its wine selection, its inclusion on this list is primarily due to its informative classes and educational seminars. The venue regularly hosts tastings that feature a captivating selection of new and intriguing wines.
Address: 415 Sansome Street
District: Financial District
Ideal for: Serious wine enthusiasts and those eager to expand their knowledge.
Hello there! I’m Dennis, and I am delighted to welcome you to San Francisco Discovery Guide. As a lifelong resident of this magnificent city, I am thrilled to share my love and knowledge of San Francisco with fellow adventurers like yourself.
Growing up amidst the breathtaking landscapes, eclectic neighborhoods, and vibrant culture of San Francisco, I developed a deep appreciation for the city’s unique charm. Over the years, I’ve explored its nooks and crannies, uncovered hidden gems, and created countless unforgettable memories.