San Francisco is super fun with friends.
As my Seattle summer is coming to an end and I move on to the East Coast, I reflected on my trip to San Francisco. My first day was arriving at 8am, immediately trying to stay awake and exploring so much of the main “sights”. Checking things off a list and taking photos were my main goals. The rest of the trip, I spent time with my friend from college.
We are both huge fans of Anthony Bourdain. His books are hysterical, he has charisma on TV and has made a name as a chef, a television personality…and, well, he drinks like a fish. So we were inspired by Mr. Bourdain’s San Francisco episode of The Layover. We didn’t stay strictly on track, but my friend Sasha also had an ulterior motive for us to explore her favorite spots.
We went to this bar the day before our night out extravaganza, but it is mentioned in the special. They had great beer and it was dog friendly. I loved all the cute pups that were walking in. It reminded of the 5 Point in Seattle, photos and stickers all over the walls, even a bumper sticker from a Seattle bar, Shorty’s.
The Tonga Room
The Tonga Room is a tiki bar in the Fairmont Hotel. There was a large pool in the middle, where floating apparatus held the live band. There were large palm trees and two huge bars. This space was great for big parties, a wedding after-party joined the dance floor as we were leaving. The cocktails were good, you could get a goblet that was easily enough for two. I’m allergic to pineapples, a common ingredient in a tiki-stye bar, but there were plenty of options for me to drink without having my face puff up like a balloon.
Usually a tiki bar inside a hotel wouldn’t be my first choice, it seemed like it would be cheesy. But the music wasn’t bad and it was a surprisingly cool atmosphere.
Li Po Lounge
Deadly, deadly chinese mai tai’s. Goodness gracious these drinks were sweet. However you could definitely tell this place had its shtick, and stuck to it. The bar itself was small and cozy but we danced a bit and moved on to the next.
Walking through Chinatown, my friend took me through the Jack Kerouac Alley, which she figured that I would like, being a writer and all. At the end of the alley there was the Vesuvio Cafe. It was a quirky, fun bar that had tons of photos and funny things on the walls. This was my favorite of the night for sure, it felt before prohibition-esque. The second floor balcony made it easier to see everything.
After this point in our evening, we were getting to our last drinks. Let’s just say, it was time. We just had one more stop, the Comstock Saloon.
We ended our night at the Comstock Saloon. Great, prohibition-style cocktails and was a great way to end the evening on a mellow note. One of my favorite aspects of the bar was this decorative spinning contraption that we couldn’t keep our eyes off of. Unfortunately it was towards the end of our evening and the good travel blogger in me that should’ve taken photos had a dead phone and a few too many cocktails.
All in all, the city of San Francisco had so many great places to grab a drink with funky decor, delicious cocktails and skilled bartenders. We followed Mr. Bourdain’s path and had a fantastic night.