AT&T Park (Home of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants)

AT&T Park (Home of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants)
24 Willie Mays Plaza (3rd & King Sts)
San Francisco Giants Schedule
MUNI: N, K/T, 10, 30, 45, 47, 76, 80, 81, 82, 91, 108
Caltrain 4th/King Station
sfgiants.com transportation page

I’m breaking this down into sections, as the location of AT&T Park (home of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants) offers many options for beer fans, one of which is a few feet away from the main gate at Willie Mays Plaza.

In the Neighborhood

Public House, beer bar
located at the ballpark; see below

21st Amendment, brewpub
It’s a five minute walk down 2nd Street from 21A to AT&T Park (home of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants). Full brewpub, usually with a handful of guest beers (and wines). No happy hour on game days, and they can be weird about seating people inside. Being so close to the ballpark (and on the way for those walking from downtown), expect crowds and occasionally surly staff. Best bet is to go out back to their patio on De Boom St and grab a few cans of house-made brews in the sun (or, equally likely, howling wind).

Thirsty Bear, brewpub
This is a fifteen minute walk down 3rd Street, with a full regiment of house brews, cocktails, entrées, tapas, and tons of room to consume them all. The plus side of its location is that it won’t be packed with fellow baseball fans; the down side is that it may be very well be packed with downtown happy hourers, who can be as obnoxious as Dodger fans (though less likely to stab you).

Gordon Biersch, brewpub
This is a fifteen minute walk down The Embarcadero- the boulevard that runs along the Bay, and under the Bay Bridge. GB has become a national brewpub chain, but it started down US-101 in Palo Alto.  It’s huge, with two large levels and a patio, and a big American menu with some nods to traditional Bavarian and German beer food, as well as a full bar with a happy hour.

Public House

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As you can see above, Public House (and taqueria/tequila bar Mijita) is actually in the same building as the ballpark; its heated patio is right there on Willie Mays Plaza (plaza of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants). It’s a standalone restaurant, so no game ticket is required, and it’s open year-round. There’s over 20 taps, 20 bottles, and 2 casks- one of which is a bitter made by Magnolia specifically for Public House. Being a tenant of MLB, they’re under contract to carry the usual fizzy yellow beer, but those are far outnumbered by breweries like Unibroue, Duvel, Rodenbach, and Allagash, as well as more local options like Speakeasy, Stone, Firestone Walker, and Lagunitas. The food is based on basic ballpark fare, classed up by local chef Traci des Jardins. (I’m no foodie but I do know that if you have a Wikipedia page, you’re Very Important.)  And don’t forget to get one last Billy Sunday Bitter in a to-go cup, as you’ll be allowed to bring it into the ballpark with you.

Inside the ballpark

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We’ve established that there’s plenty of places to grab a brew before and after the game, but surely it’s mostly crap once you’re actually in the stadium (stadium of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants), right?

Uh, well, kinda.  (There are some actual bars available to club & field level ticketholders, but screw those yuppies.)

However, as Draft Magazine notes, AT&T Park does have one of the better beer selections in Major League Baseball.  And as mentioned above, you can order something from Public House and bring it into the ballpark.

One both main levels, taps at the general hot-dog-and-pretzel windows are generally the usual macrobrews (though a handful have Gordon Biersch or Widmer).  But keep an eye on the opposite side of the walkway- many of the stand-alone beer carts will have better fare- Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, etc.

The best concentration of good beer will be on the Promenade (lower) level behind sections 112 & 119, on either edge of the press box.  Again, you’re not going to find Supplication, but you should be able to grab a Mirror Pond or a Prohibition.  Once you venture into foul territory (which will be on the main concourse level), you’ll find a handful of decent beers behind the scoreboard, in both the hot dog windows and the standalone beer carts.  In the View (top) deck, the best concentration of beer (and food) will be in an open plaza behind the plate.

Admittedly, once you’re in the stands, the beer scene isn’t hugely better than other ballparks, but there is good stuff to be found, and considering the plethora of options immediately surrounding the ballpark, I’d say any non-baseball fan beer geek would still be able to enjoy a day out at the yard (yard of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants).

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Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Rosamunde– beer bar
Mission District
2832 Mission Street @ 24th St St (Google Map)
Official site | TwitterYelp
Open M-F 7a-11p, Sat/Sun 8a-11p
BART: 24th St
Muni: 12, 14, 14L, 48, 49, 67

The name Rosamunde is well-known to San Francisco beer geeks, thanks to its original location in the same building as beer mecca Toronado.  They’ve been serving up sausages with all the fixins for years and have finally opened up a second, stand-alone location in the Mission District, right on top of BART.  They were also wise enough to pick the brain of their old landlord, as the Mission location offers not only 18 sausages (yes, hippies, they have a vegan option), but 23 rotating taps, and 35 bottles- not a one of them boring.  (You may feel like challenging me on the not-boring part but you’d be amazed how excited hipsters get over $1 PBR happy hours.) They don’t do a lot at Rosamunde, but what they do, they do quite well.

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There’s a fairly small bar just inside the entrance with maybe a dozen stools.  At the end of that is the menu board and the register.  Order your food, tell them which two free condiments (sauerkraut, beef chili, peppers, etc) you want, and get a number.  In the meantime, order a beer, find a seat at one of the picnic tables, or in the back at one of a few quieter tables.  When the loud tattooed man yells your number, grab your sausage, toss on some hot mustard & curry ketchup, and head back to your beer.  Finish, pee, and repeat.

It’s fairly large, and it closes early, so it won’t attract the mass of people most bars in the area would.  You might not get a seat on Friday night, but you won’t be smashed up against the ATM, either.  And you can’t beat the location- it’s especially great for a quick lunch on your way to the San Francisco Airport.

The beer selection is one of the more impressive ones for such a casual place.  Sometimes they don’t even bother with SF standards like Anchor Steam, Prohibition, and Sierra- instead, they regularly rotate taps pouring seasonals and specials from places Stone, Allagash, and Ommegang.

It’s not as “nice” as places like Monk’s Kettle or La Trappe, but it’s quick, it’s great food, and it’s great beer.

While you’re in the area…
Pi Bar, 1432 Valencia @ 25th St.

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North Beach Beer Crawl

Ah, North Beach. Best known to tourists for Italian food, Coit Tower, and cable cars. Best known to locals for strip clubs, complete lack of parking, and dudes who say “brah” a lot. But North Beach is a lot more complex than that, and one of the things adding to its appeal is a handful of downright spiffy beer-drinking establishments within a block of its main drag, Columbus Street.

You can start on either end of Columbus St. The northern end of the crawl is quite close to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and the Cable Car terminal, and the southern end is closer to the Financial District and Chinatown (as well as BART & Muni’s subway lines). Here, I’ll head north to south.


by Troy Holden

Jack’s Cannery Bar
441 Jefferson @ Hyde
Jack’s claims to have 68, 84, 85, and/or 110 taps, depending on the sign you happen to be looking at.  Basic pub grub is available, and there’s a patio, as well as more indoor seating than you’ll know what to do with.  The food and beer are indeed consumable, but neither is special.  The taps are generally filled with breweries you can find anywhere else in SF, but with more offerings from each.  So you’ll find Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA and a seasonal along with the ubiquitous Pale Ale, but you’re not going to find, say, Midas Touch or Harvest Ale.  Jack’s is conveniently located near the end of Columbus Street, which is also next to Hyde St’s Cable Car turnaround, a block west from Jack’s.  Poke around there, then head east half a block to where Columbus meets Beach and start walking toward the Pyramid.

Kennedy’s
1040 Columbus @ Chestnut & Taylor
Kennedy’s is an odd place.  It’s an Irish-pub-slash-Indian-restaurant with air hockey, foosball, pool, a patio, and $2 Guinness at happy hour.  There’s a smallish Irish bar with a fairly big, and surprisingly decent beer selection, a counter where you can get Indian food to go, as well as a full-service dining room.  Past that, there’s a game room, and beyond that, there’s one of the few usually-sunny patios in a San Francisco drinking establishment.

La Trappe
800 Greenwich @ Mason & Columbus
Here’s where the real fun begins.  Jack’s and Kennedy’s have about 140 taps between them, but you’re not going to find anything that’ll really blow your socks off.  La Trappe, on the other hand, has 15 taps and 400 bottles- mostly Belgian- listed in a well-organized binder, complete with a table of contents.  There’s a dining room at ground level, but you’ll want to head down the dark and perilous staircase to the beer cave below, which has the bar and more tables.  There’s a full, high-quality dinner menu as well.

Rogue (GGBB)
673 Union @ Powell
Rogue is a fairly typical pub kind of a place, with a slightly more upscale menu and a full lineup of Rogue beers as well as a roughly equal amount of guest beers, mostly from the west coast.  Rogue Spirits are also available, and several times a year they clear out their bottle inventory by selling them super cheap.  Slightly upscale American menu, and there’s a dog-friendly patio in the back, as well as two large dining rooms inside (plus, of course, a bar).

Church Key
1402 Grant @ Green
Church Key’s a great little lounge with a great not-so-little beer list.  It’s small, cozy, and red, with a nice window booth and barely enough room for a bar downstairs, and an upstairs lounge area with waitress service at peak times.  There’s ten taps and 50+ bottles available, with a little bit of everything represented.  Highlights include pot pies and “Grampa’s Suds” served in a champagne flute.

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Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

Magnolia Gastroub & Brewery– brewpub
Haight-Ashbury
1398 Haight St @ Masonic (Google Map)
Official Site | TwitterYelp | BeerAdvocate
House microbrew: $6, with a standing “$3 Tuesdays” promotion
Open Mon-Thu noon-mid, Fri noon-1, Sat 10-1 , Sun 10-mid
MUNI: N, 6, 7, 33, 37, 43, 66, 71, 71L
Part of the Haight Beer Crawl

If you’re going to San Francisco [pause for Scott McKenzie reference], you’re probably going to the Haight-Ashbury.  And after wandering the aisles of Amoeba and ducking panhandlers for a few hours, you’ll probably find yourself a bit thirsty.  That’s where Magnolia comes in.

It’s on the corner of Haight & Masonic, one block east of the famous intersection of Haight & Ashbury (which thankfully, has rid itself of The GAP).  You might expect a brewpub in the Haight to be full of heavy-eyed bearded dudes and Jerry Garcia tributes, where hops and other Cannabaceae run free.  And a few years ago, you would have been more-or-less right.  But a few years ago, Magnolia ditched the poncho, cut the hair, and picked a few things up at the aforementioned GAP.  The result is a decidedly more button-downed gastropub that bears little resemblance to its namesake, but still provides San Francisco (not the mention the GABF) with some of the best beer around, in my humble opinion.

It’s not a huge place, so I recommend going in the afternoon if you can.  There are four booths in the middle of the room, surrounded by eight tables, and there’s a large community table along the Masonic Ave window.  There’s a small bar at the back, split in half by a beam that proudly displays Magnolia’s GABF medals (including 2009’s Gold for English Mild Ale “Sara’s Ruby Mild”).  This bar usually- but not quite always- features a bartender.  The community table is often the best bet for a seat or two in the evenings, but service can be spotty there. (Magnolia’s service here could be described as downright infamous in places like Yelp, but in my experience it’s been adequate.)

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photo by Troy McClure SF

The menu is what you might call the next generation of pub grub, if you will.  Upscale New American food dominates, with careful attention paid to keeping ingredients organic and local.  There’s a little something for everyone, with sausage, seafood, salads, and steaks, and the menu rotates so much I wouldn’t even bother trying to look it up anywhere but Magnolia’s own site.

As mentioned above, the beer has amassed a healthy collection of medals in Denver, as well as hardware from other events, like the Proving Ground IPA which happens to be among this author’s all-time favorites (especially on cask).  They’ll generally have around a dozen taps going, with four guest taps (often from partner 21st Amendment), as well as a pair of cask engines (and a handful of wines).  They don’t bottle, but growlers are available, and can be a welcome addition to a picnic in nearby Golden Gate Park, Buena Vista Park, or the Panhandle, if such a thing would interest you.


photo by jen_maiser

One thing that stands out about Magnolia is that they collaborate often with other SF craft brewers for special events, most notably with 21st Amendment for the annual Strong Beer Month and 2009’s BRU/SFO Project, and you can often find them at the Bay Area’s big beer events.  You generally will not find them, however, regularly on tap at other bars in San Francisco, two occasional exceptions being fellow Haight area drinkeries The Page and Toronado, and Magnolia’s own cocktail-focused Alembic Bar, four blocks away, which carries several of Magnolia’s beers.

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Pi Bar

Pi Bar– beer bar
Mission District
1432 Valencia St @ 25th St (Google Map)
Official SiteYelp | BeerAdvocate
Local microbrew: $5
Open every day 3pm-midnight
MUNI: 12, 14, 26, 27, 48, 49, 67
BART: 24th St/Mission

π, as I will goddamn insist upon calling it, as that’s what’s on the sign out front, is one of the newer additions to San Francisco’s beer scene, and as it is in the trendy Mission district, it got a lot of attention in the weeks up to its unveiling.  As I hate everything trendy (aside from the beer renaissance San Francisco seems to be in the middle of) I approached π with one eye squinted, but ended up honestly digging the place.

Locals know that new hipster joints can be woefully pretentious, but you may be pleased to find that π is not at all pretentious (nor really even a hipster joint, if you’re one of those allergic to skinny jeans).  Entering the place, you’ll find a large communal table along the Valencia St window and several tables along the right side and in the back.  But the pièce de résistance is the huge bar spanning the whole left side of the space.  Seriously, you could choreograph a tap number on the bar.  Unfortunately, the size of π’s bar prevents there from being another row of tables, so you might not find a seat immediately if there’s more than two or three of you, so shoot for happy hour, as the seats may all be spoken for by about 8pm.  (That was the case on my last visit, but it’s worth nothing that the Chronicle and SFist both wrote the place up that morning, so I suppose 8pm is pretty good.)  That extra room does make the place feel wide open, but the lights are dimmed on the light walls just enough to keep things comfortable.


by Hopp

The food & beer menus on their website would lead you to beleive they have a dozen bottles available, but that website is happily outdated, as they’re actually up to 30 bottle at present, along with six taps.  The taps focus on special and not-so-special releases from the West Coast. Anchor’s Humming Ale was on tap shortly after its release, and they’ll often have at least one non-Pliny offering from RRBC.  The bottle list is quite varied and interesting, and you’ll likely to find several beers you may not have even heard of before.  Lots of Belgians and other European brews, with surprising attention to glassware.

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by Troy McClure SF

Even I was a bit overwhelmed by the choices, so I and my friends turned to the bartenders for guidance, and were not disappointed. With a starting point, they were able to recommend  several beers, as well as a tasting order and food pairings.  (I should mention that I know one of the bartenders here from another bar, but my interactions with the other five bartenders & waitresses over two visits have been fantastic across the board.)

Oh yeah, the pizza. The owner’s from Brooklyn and is the latest in a long line of East Coast transplants who think SF pizza sucks. But to his credit, he’s actually trying to do something about it besides write five-paragraph tirades about it on Arinell’s Yelp page.  (Seriously, New Yorkers, if we admit that New York pizza is the bestest pizza in the whole wide world forever and ever amen*, will you shut the fuck up about it?)  Pizza is the obvious focus of the kitchen, as there are but a handful of other food options.  A slice is 3.14 and the 2πR Happy Hour special is a pint & a slice for $6.28.  All in all, it’s a pretty nifty spot to check out.

*-Chicagoans- Between me and you, this, obviously, is a lie.

While you’re in the area…

Rosamunde Sausage Grill, 2832 Mission St @ 24th

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Pacific Coast Brewing Co

Pacific Coast Brewing Co – brewpub
Downtown Oakland
906 Washington St, Oakland (Google Map)
Official Site | Twitter | BeerAdvocate | Yelp
House microbrew: $5
Open 11am, closes midnight Mon-Thu, 1am Fri-Sat, 11p Sun
BART: 12th St Oakland City Center

“Oakland’s Best Brewpub” isn’t a place that gets a lot of press in the Bay Area, nor are they found at the many beer events in the vicinity (though with the dawn of SF Beer Week 2010, that’s changing).  In fact, I didn’t even know it was there until I spotted their big “Brewpub!” sign from Oakland’s main downtown street, Broadway, on my way elsewhere.  I eventually paid them a visit to find it’s a solid, friendly little brewpub, right there in the middle of downtown Oakland.

The layout is nice, but unspectacular for a brewpub… smallish bar, lots of dark wood & brick, a pair of large dining rooms, and a decently-sized heated patio facing the rest of downtown Oakland.  There’s three moderately-sized TVs showing the A’s & Raiders.  There’s a dartboard, and I think they could probably scrounge up some darts if you ask nicely.  The crowd is typical downtown lunchers and Happy Hourers, until a little later in the evening, when it becomes a bit of a sports bar.

Their beer is solid, but unspectacular.  They generally have seven or eight house brews, spanning from Imperial Stout to IPA.  None of them blew the socks off my companions or me, but they weren’t bad, either.  They do have a hand-pump, which is a very nice touch.  More impressive is their guest tap selection.  There’s a dozen taps dedicated to a rather impressive selection of other American crafts brews- Avery & RRBC’s Collaboration, RRBC’s Pliny the Younger, and Uncommon’s Siamese Twin were among the selections last time I went.  Not mind-blowing, but definitely beyond what you’d expect from an otherwise-unimpressive brewpub.  A handful of Belgian bottles, a pair of ciders, and nine wines round the hooch.

The food is good but, again, unspectacular- Pizza, popcorn shrimp, fish tacos, chicken breast sandwiches, etc- basic American food.  Daily specials abound, usually posted on Twitter.  Again, nothing to update your Facebook status about, but you won’t wish Yelp had negative stars so you could TOTALLY GIVE THEM NEGATIVE STARS either.

I kinda think of this place like I do Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  You know exactly what you’re getting, it’s a solid choice, but you wouldn’t go out of your way for it.  It ain’t fine dining but it’s great for lunch or Happy Hour.  I occasionally have to attend meetings down Broadway a bit, and it’s proven to be a spiffy place to grab a meal and a few brews before hopping on BART for an area that doesn’t suck. (I kid, Oakland, I kid.)

While you’re in the area…
The Trappist, 480 6th Street, Oakland

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The Page

The Page– beer bar
Lower Haight
298 Divisadero @ Page (Google Map)
Official Site | Twitter | BeerAdvocate | Yelp
Open Mon-Thu 5p-2a, Fri-Sun 4p-2a, plus afternoon hours during NFL season
MUNI: N, 6, 7, 21, 24, 37, 71
Part of the Haight Beer Crawl

“Many think playing Journey is clever, but it is not.”  Thus reads the Page’s FAQ.  It’s a place with some personality.  And much like the bartenders there, it’s downright sexy- but never contrived. You’ll never whisper to a friend “seems like they’re trying too hard coughBourbon&Branchcough“.  It just is.

It’s laid out like many SF bars- a long bar along the right, with tables & chairs along the windows on the left.  A gaudy internet jukebox welcomes you just inside the door.  All the red leather seats & barstools are exceptionally big and comfy, and the whole place is carpeted. You may assume there’s a fireplace just from the warmth of the place, but there isn’t.  At the end of the bar, there’s a pool table and wee tiny restrooms, and beyond those, a stairway will open up to the back room, which holds another pool table and a bona fide foosball table.

The presence of the back room (mostly) prevents the Page from getting too crowded, though Friday and Saturday nights can of course test that theory, especially along the bar.  The crowd varies wildly night to night and hour to hour, much like the rest of the Divisadero corridor.  I’ve been here on a Friday night where it looked like Bar None bussed everyone in from a beer pong tournament, and Saturday nights when it was the most comfortable, mellow neighborhood bar imaginable.  Thankfully it tends to lean more toward the latter.  Afternoons and early evenings hold pretty true to a crowd of neighbors and regulars, and make this one of the best after-work spots in the City.  The staff works quickly and… friendily, even when you grump about it being cash-only (cross Divis for an ATM).

The Page

The beer list can’t hold a candle to, say, Toronado, but it is especially impressive for a mostly-quiet neighborhood bar.  There’s 23 taps, mostly craft brews from all over America (including those from Magnolia), and 16 bottles (and cans), ranging from Duvel to Hamm’s, and an impressive selection of whiskeys.  The beer list is not online, though their fairly-new Twitter account seems to be a good place to keep abreast of goings-on.

Events aren’t too common these days, but they’re not unheard of, usually involving a local distillery coming in for a whiskey tasting.  There’s no kitchen, but burritos, sandwiches, and (seriously bad) pizza are available on Divisadero without even crossing the street, and you’re welcome to bring it back into the bar.

I debated even including the Page on this site, as it’s not what one would normally call a beer bar (though as mentioned, the selection is nothing to sniff at), and I’m not sure I could honestly call it a “destination” for a beer tourist.  So while I wouldn’t recommend a special trip just for the Page, it’s a neighborhood with a lot of character (and a lot of beer), so if you’re around, go ahead and poke your head in.  It really is one of those great little bars that every neighborhood wishes they had.  You can watch sports, but it’s not a sports bar; you can play foosball without being expected to do a Jaeger shot, or you can just saddle up to the bar in a big comfy chair and have some pretty damn good beer.

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