Union Square "hot" spots?
October 2, 2011 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Where to hang out and have fun in the union square area of San Francisco?

I'm in town for the Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne conference but I forsee a decent amount of free time in my future. I've been to San Francisco before so I don't need to do all the sight seeing or anything, but I'm interested in hearing about nice coffee shop, restaurant, and bar recommendations. I'll be on my own in the evenings so any ideas for nice friendly neighbourhood bars would be great - somewhere to grab a few at the end of the day and maybe chat with a local or two.

Anyone up for a drink?
posted by mbatch to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You could OccupySF. General Assembly every day at 6 pm.
posted by salvia at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dave's
House of Shields
Tunnel Top
I like Maxfield's a lot, which has always seemed laid back for a bar like that.

If you want sports, Dave's or Maxfield's.
posted by rhizome at 1:04 PM on October 2, 2011

For a bar, Rickhouse on Kearny and Bush is a great combination of slightly upscale and laid back.

For coffee and lunch, head to the Ferry Building, or try the Grove on Third and Mission.
posted by eugenen at 1:22 PM on October 2, 2011

Rickhouse, yes, +1.

There is the Redwood Room, I guess. It's always popular with the conference set.

The Sentinel has great sandwiches at lunch during weekdays. Highly recommended. Call ahead for faster service.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:47 PM on October 2, 2011

SF is a tiny city and Market St. Union Square is the hub of the city's public transportation options. Also, unless you're going far to the west or south, cab rides will be less than $10. Don't feel limited to the downtown area.

Decent stuff around Union Square:
- Ryoko's (Japanese/Sushi, expect to wait a few minutes)
- Owl Tree (bar that is simultaneously upscale and laid back)
- Pearl's Deluxe Burgers (try the onion rings)

Comments on stuff mentioned above:
- Redwood Room: bring money
- Tunnel Top: good spot but often have DJs at night of varying style. Check ahead of time.
posted by outlaw of averages at 6:49 PM on October 2, 2011

coffee: farm:table. Super tiny, excellent breakfast. They close pretty early, but it's worth it to get up early before any of your conference-y things get going.

drinks: Mister Lew's (I'll leave the full name to Yelp). Bourbon & Branch bartenders in a lovely Tenderloin setting--it's only a couple of blocks west of Union Square proper. Lew's is owned by the same people who do the aforementioned Rickhouse (which is also pretty good). Rye can also make you a good drink.

If you are in need of food at some point, Thirsty Bear in SOMA is also next door to all of the hoopla. Lunch is pretty good sandwich-fare, dinner is tapas and paella, and the beer is solid. The place is huge by SF-standards--conventions are their bread and butter. You shouldn't have much trouble getting in, especially if you did lunch at 1:45 or dinner at 8:30, for example.

+1 for the Ferry Building, The Sentinel (hell yes), and Pearl's.

I would avoid any "local"-seeming dive bars, unless you want to hang out with a bunch of bums, crazier-than-average regulars, line cooks shooting pool and getting wasted, or, well, me, in which case I'll probably be at the Nitecap.

Also, a random tip: take off your convention badge. I know this isn't at all fair, but speaking as a member of your local service community, Oracle smacks us around every year, and a lot of us reach this week with a pre-emptive "oh god not again"-attitude. Unless you're looking for your comrades, don't wear the badge. Hopefully this will weed out the bad apples who won't be nice to you because they'll never see you again. Anyway, enjoy your trip!
posted by hototogisu at 2:38 PM on October 3, 2011

Response by poster: hototogisu, taking the badge off is always the first thing I do. I ended up at Dave's a fair amount and hit the Irish Bank and Rickhouse, as well. Everyone was quite friendly and nobody begrudged my conference status. Swell folks all around.
posted by mbatch at 9:21 PM on October 7, 2011

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