San Francisco, the city by the bay with its rolling fog, impossibly steep streets, cable cars and wharves. That’s what most people think of when they think of this city, but San Francisco also has a thriving brunch scene, believe it or not. We have a guest blogger in the ginandjuicing house to tell us all about the boozy brunches San Fransisco has to offer…
Alex Willen has spent the last decade living in and around San Francisco, and he’s currently on a quest to try all the bottomless mimosa brunches in the city. You can follow his progress and read his reviews at sfbrunchclub.com.
Unfortunately, San Francisco isn’t known for its sun. Quite the opposite, in fact – it’s so well known for its fog that said fog even has a name (Karl) and a Twitter account. That said, every once in a while we find ourselves in the midst of an actual warm, sunny day, and their rarity means they aren’t to be wasted. Luckily, there are plenty of places to enjoy the sun here, from Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach. Of course, if you’re a true San Franciscan, you’ll want to spend your sunny days like you do your foggy ones, enjoying the best thing the city has to offer – food. There are more than a few places that have patios and rooftop decks, but these are the absolute best.
It’s tough to beat Mission Rock, with its outdoor deck that sits right on the water. Grab a table by the edge and keep your eyes peeled – it’s not uncommon for seals and other marine life to make appearances nearby.
Of course, Mission Rock isn’t just great because of the view – they also have fantastic fresh seafood. If you’re coming with a group, start with one of their Shellfish Plateaus and enjoy fresh shrimp, oysters, ceviche and more. I would also be remiss not to mention that they offer bottomless mimosa brunch, so get out there early on a Saturday and start your day off with some champagne!
Located in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, El Techo offers an upscale Mexican menu and some fantastic cocktails. If you’re going for brunch, start with the Buñuelos (a Mexican twist on beignets), and no matter what time of day you’re there try their palomas. They’re made of tequila with grapefruit, agave and soda water and are incredibly refreshing on a sunny day. Just go ahead and order by the pitcher.
Besides the food, El Techo is known for the fact that it’s on a rooftop, and every table is outside. If you just want a quick drink, you can stand by the edge of the rooftop and look out onto the city, and if you’re looking for a full meal there are plenty of tables for that as well. Either way, you’ll get top-notch service from the friendly waitstaff.
Biergarten isn’t fancy, but it’s still an amazing place to be on a sunny day. Located in Hayes Valley, it’s really just a big, fenced off patch of asphalt with a lot of tables and a few shipping containers converted into a bar and kitchen. As you might guess from the name, this is a German-style beer garden. That means you’ll find a ton of amazing beers on tap, along with a few ciders and wines. The food is simple, and all of it pairs well with beer. They’ve got bratwurst and pretzels along with sandwiches and some excellent sliders (get the pork belly ones).
The most important thing to know about Biergarten is that everyone knows about Biergarten, which means that when it’s sunny, out, it gets packed. You’ll want to get there before it opens, and even when you do you’ll see a line around the block. Don’t be intimidated – it’s a big space, so most folks in the line get right in. It’ll take a little while to get your first round, but after that, things speed up nicely.
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because this bar is named after a rock band from the Muppets. Don’t worry, though, it’s definitely not designed for that show’s audience.
When you enter, you’ll note that it looks just like another dark bar, but fear not – salvation is straight through to the back, where you’ll find an outdoor patio with tons of seating. It’s first come, first serve, but it’s usually easy to find space, even with a big group. In the very back, you’ll find a cornhole set, so if that’s your thing try to grab a table nearby (and once you’ve had a few, make sure you don’t hit anybody with the beanbags).
This is another one that serves bottomless mimosa brunch (you’ll start to notice a pattern here in how I select my restaurants). If you’re doing that, I highly recommend going for maximum indulgence and ordering the donut sandwich.
Sam’s isn’t actually in San Francisco, but it’s right across the bay in Tiburon, and getting there is half the fun. Head to Pier 41 and grab a ticket for the ferry to Tiburon, then enjoy the ride! Once you get there, it’s a short walk to the restaurant. One of the oldest restaurants in the area, Sam’s was founded in 1920 and has stayed in business for almost a century because of great food, friendly staff and a huge, amazing patio that’s right on the water. Definitely have a Bloody Mary while you’re there, and give the deviled eggs a try too.
If you’re not convinced, take a gander at Sam’s Cam, a live feed of the patio. Open it up on a sunny day in SF and you’ll see a packed house – trust me, all those people can’t be wrong.
Mission Dolores Park
If you don’t want to spend money going to a fancy restaurant patio, pack yourself a picnic and head to Dolores Park. Its one of San Francisco’s most famous places (known largely for the guy who walks around selling weed truffles), and people flock to it when the sun’s out. Fear not, though – the park is huge, and there’s always space for one more group.
One important note – you’ll see lots of people drinking in the park, despite the fact that it’s illegal to have open containers of alcohol. Once in a blue moon, police will crack down on this and issue tickets, but that’s the rare exception, not the rule. If you are going to drink there, bring cans or plastic bottles, as glass is the one thing that really is frowned upon and is liable to get you in trouble.
If you’d like to see more guest blogs on ginandjuicing or if you’re a blogger and would like to contribute (or have me blog for you), then get in touch in the comments!
Tiffany from G&J xx