As summer approaches, it's time to don those shorts and skirts and head out for some daytime drinking under the (occasional) sun. We already told you about the best waterfront bars in the city. But if the piers aren't your scene, check out the following best bars in San Francisco with an outdoor oasis.
ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT
One of the most tranquil and least talked about oases in the city is the patio in back of Arlequin and Absinthe, off Hayes. Any given day you can grab a glass, or a whole bottle of wine at Arlequin and take it out back to this secluded garden. If the weather's right, it's a pretty perfect date spot. Not to mention the fact that you've got easy access to food too, since the wine bar has a full lunch counter. Try to come here on a sunny Saturday or Sunday, though, and you will likely be hard-pressed to find a seat or free table.
With the hustle of the Tenderloin just outside the walls of the Phoenix Hotel's SoCal-glam courtyard, Chambers Eat & Drink is a bit of a rhinestone in the rough. Like a good power ballad, the cocktails on the menu are more complex than their simple names let on ("Whiskey Drink," "Vodka Drink," etc), but the bar really shines on a nice evening when the two bars spill out onto the poolside patio.
601 Eddy (at Larkin)
Photo: Andrew Dalton/SFist
EL TECHO DE LOLINDA
The Mission rooftop oasis formerly known as Medjool is now a popular spot for after-work margaritas and quesadillas, now complete with glass wind guards along the railings. The limited menu doesn't make for much of a dinner more like drinking snacks but there is a tasty fried chicken thigh on there. And on sunny days you can expect minor scuffles to break out over the tables along the perimeter. Pro tip: They do take reservations for brunch.
2518 Mission Street (at 21st)
(Photo credit: Robb/Wolftag)
This classic, arguably historic example of a SoMa leather bar, which opened in the early 1980s, boasts one of the biggest bar patios in the city. In fact, most people only come here for the patio, specifically for Sunday beer busts which benefit various gay organizations around the city. On sunny days, the outdoor part of The Eagle will be packed with men of different ages and stripes, and it helps that the patio is flanked by bars on two sides, for easy beer access. An added bonus: This is a regular stop on the route of The Tamale Lady.
398 12th Street (at Harrison)
The tranquility of Mars Bar. (photo: Mars Bar)
This SoMa spot is good for a convivial lunch or quick dinner, but the real draw is the tropical feel and always sunny side patio, where a legit tiki bar kicks into actions when the patio fills up. We're also fans of the u-shaped bar inside, where regulars and locals make up a refreshing non-scene.
798 Brannan (at Seventh Street)
Drake's Cuvee at the Sycamore. (photo: fred ross lord)
The Mission Street corner bar is blissfully mellow, with board games galore and an intimate vibe that's hard to find at most bars in the neighborhood. The best part? The oft-overlooked back patio, where beer lovers can sun on cozy picnic tables without fear of getting thrown out for minor infractions (ahem). The team behind the bar will be expanding their arboreal reach soon by putting new bar called The Willows in the old Mercury Lounge space.
2140 Mission (at 17th Street)
(photo: Jenner Davis)
WILD SIDE WEST
Wild Side West (one of the city's few remaining lesbian bars) has been around since 1962. But the real reason to trek up to the Bernal Heights is for the magical outdoor patio. In between trees and shrubbery, one can find secret and standout sculptures peeking out through the greenery, making it the perfect spot for a pint of beer and (if the mood should strike) some psychedelic mushrooms.
424 Cortland (at Andover)
Jay Barmann, Andrew Dalton, Rose Garrett and Brock Keeling contributed to this article.A slice of clam in the Tenderloin. (photo: Chambers)