San Francisco Wine Bar Recommendations: Ten of the Best Places to Grab a Glass of Red or White in SF

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Sipping a glass of wine while hanging out with friends is one of my favorite pastimes in San Francisco. There are dozens of places to grab a glass of wine in the city, but which are the best?

This list of San Francisco wine bar recommendations features the places I go to most often. You will find them throughout the city, so you can explore different districts as you sample some amazing wines from around the world.

Me enjoying a glass of rose at Cafe Claude in San Francisco.This is me enjoying a lovely French Rose at Cafe Claude near Union Square.

1. The Hidden Vine (Closed)

Though this list is not exactly in order of rank, the Hidden Vine is my favorite San Francisco wine bar. A few years ago, they moved into an amazing new space. They also updated their menu to increase their selection.

They are still slightly hidden, but easy enough to find if you have a map of the location.

I love the fact that they offer glasses of wine from countries and regions that are not as common. During my last visit, I enjoyed a nice red from Greece.

If you want to sample a variety of wines, check out their flights on the back page of their menu. It's a great way to find something new.

Address: 408 Merchant Street

District: Financial District

Best For: After work, or a night out with friends

2. Wine Merchant

Wine Merchant is a cute wine bar and store in the historic Ferry Building along the waterfront. They offer a large selection of wines by the glass.

You can also purchase a bottle from their shop and drink it in their bar. It's a fun way to spend a few hours before, after, or during some shopping in the Ferry Building.

The Wine Merchant's selection changes frequently. They also offer different serving sizes so you can taste (2 oz.), have a glass (5 oz.), or split a carafe (375 ml) with friends.

They also offer one to two flights where you can sample three to four wines at the same time.

Do you want to sample some cheese or bread with your wine too? You can order from their menu or pick up some delicious treats from the other stores within the Ferry Building and enjoy them right in the bar.

Address: One Ferry Building, Shop 23

District: Financial District/Embarcadero

Best For: Casual afternoons, drinks with friends, & those picking up the ferry to head across the bay

3. Pause Wine Bar (Closed)

Pause Wine Bar is a cute and cozy San Francisco wine bar on Market Street near Hayes Valley. It's the perfect place to grab a glass of wine after dinner or before a performance in the Civic Center District.

The reason I love this place is that they support sustainable wine making. Most of their wines are from family owned and operated wineries. This means you will find an unbelievable selection and have the chance to try many wines that you've never tried before.

You will find many rare and unique wines on their list. It's also exciting to see several wines that are exclusive to Pause Wine Bar (and their sister bar, Yield).

Address: 1666 Market Street

District: Hayes Valley

Best For: Afternoon drinks, or before or after attending a cultural event in the Civic Center

4. Cafe Meuse

Cafe Meuse wine bar is a local favorite that tends to be busy and always has a warm, lively vibe. Right at the corner of Pacific and Hyde, you can watch the cable cars go by while sipping your wine in this cozy place.

The wine menu offers a great selection from around the world. You can taste wines from New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Austria, and many other countries, as well as local wines from Sonoma County, the Russian River Valley, and more.

In addition, Cafe Meuse serves wonderful 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

Best For: Dates or a relaxed evening with an intimate group of friends

5. Bluxome Street Winery (Closed)

The Bluxome Street Winery is more of a tasting room than a San Francisco wine bar. However, you can buy wines from the glass and even enjoy a little food on the side.

The selection here is Bluxome Street Winery wines, mostly from Northern California. They range from Russian River Valley pinot noir to sauvignon blanc from the same region.

They are open Tuesday - Sunday from 12pm to 7pm, so it's best to head over early.

Address: 53 Bluxome Street

District: SoMa/Mission Bay

Best For: Afternoon fun

6. Cafe Claude

Cafe Claude is more of a restaurant than a San Francisco wine bar, but they offer an amazing selection of French wines, which is why they are on my list.

It's as close to a Paris cafe as you will find in SF. It has outdoor seating (with heaters when it's cooler) and free jazz music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

You can grab a drink at the bar or a table for dinner. It's cute and fun, and I've always had great service.

Address: 7 Claude Lane

District: Financial District/Union Square

Best For: Special night on the town, sunny afternoons

7. Amelie

Amelie is a local San Francisco wine bar in the Nob Hill district. I used to go here all the time when I was just a block or two away.

It's decent sized but has only a little bit of seating. If you arrive early, you will have no problems grabbing a small table or a seat at the bar. However, this place is now so popular that it is tough to grab a seat after 8pm most nights.

Their wine menu includes selections from around the world and it changes as they find better options.

I also love their cheese plate. You can select from a variety of cheeses. If you aren't sure which matches best with the wines you are enjoying, then just ask the wait staff. They will help you find some great options.

Address: 1754 Polk Street

District: Nob Hill

Best For: Nights out on the town with friends

8. Fig & Thistle

Another one of the great San Francisco wine bars is the Fig & Thistle. When you step inside, you will feel like you stepped into someone's living room. It's cozy and the perfect place to sample amazing wines.

In addition to a great wine selection, they also have some great beers and small bites. Their meat and cheese trays will give you just enough to tide you over until dinner.

You will find the Fig & Thistle on Ivy Street in Hayes Valley.

Address: 313 Ivy Street

District: Hayes Valley

Best For: Early evening wine tasting

9. Hotel Biron

This is a cozy wine bar in SF's hot Hayes Valley District. I love heading here on date nights or when I have friends in town. It's cute and not overly crowded until the late-night crowd starts to roll in.

They offer a small selection of wines by the glass. We typically order a bottle to share, as they have an amazing selection. Most are from the US, Spain, France, and Italy. I never have a problem finding something amazing to drink.

Address: 45 Rose Street

District: Hayes Valley

Best For: Early evening wine tasting, date nights

10. The Barrel Room

The final San Francisco wine bar on my list is the Barrel Room in the Financial District. This intimate wine bar offers a decent happy hour from 4pm to 5:30pm. You can order some small bites or a glass of house wine for just $7.

Although I like coming here for a glass of wine, the real reason they are on my list is their classes and education seminars. They typically have a tasting each week that features a new and interesting selection of wines.

Address: 415 Sansome

District: Financial District

Best For: Serious wine lovers and those who want to learn more

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