San Francisco is stupid with great cocktail bars — though sadly we have fewer than when a pandemic decided to kill some off. But how many actually double as great date spots where you can sit down, hear each other, and get a complete meal?

Chef Seth Stowaway appears to have created a hit fine-dining restaurant with Osito, his ode to live-fire cooking and some of his own food obsessions — a recent menu focused on childhood memories finished with a Texas-inflected barbecue course. With its lively communal-table setup and nightly soundtrack of alt-rock and vintage pop, it's a unique fine-dining experience for SF — but with tasting menus that start at $215 per person, it's going to be a special-occasion spot for most.

Not so with next-door, attached bar/lounge Liliana, which enjoys the use of many of the same ingredients and farmers' market bounty being used on the Osito menu, but also a full list of thoughtful, delightfully balanced cocktails from Beverage Director Uzziel Pulido.

The cocktail menu features a few plays on classics, like a Gibson that's tarted up with some brine from ramp pickles, and a white Negroni with fennel-infused gin, blanc vermouth, and garnished with dill flower.

Photo: Jay Barmann/SFist

Pulido also decided to play with the classic Espresso Martini — a drink that's been having a comeback moment for a couple of years – adding cacao-infused sweet vermouth and cassis, and garnishing with dehydrated blueberry dust from the restaurant's larder.

There is also a rotating spot for a clarified milk punch on the menu — the current version features rum, a 'Chapparal' amaro from local brand Brucato, Cocchi Americano bianco, lime, honey, and herbs. And a mezcal flip called the Market Run, which currently features stone fruits, olive oil, and several types of basil.

The Market Run cocktail. Photo: Jay Barmann/SFist

The food, which comes out of the Osito kitchen, is a collaborative effort led by Sous Chef Cameron Sycks, and it is pretty next-level as cocktail-bar food goes.

The seasonally driven menu has, during late summer and early fall, featured dishes highlighting tomatoes and perfect summer melons. And there is a charcuterie board on the menu that makes use of whole animals that have come through the kitchen, currently featuring a delicious ciccioli and house-made coppa.

Another smaller but hearty dish is a buttermilk biscuit with fresh ham, summer peppers, house-made butter, and peach jam.

Country pate at Liliana. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux

The mains are sizable — again, especially for what seems like a cocktail lounge — with a whole grilled Mt. Lassen trout, a grilled half-chicken, and a $75 grass-fed ribeye with salsa verde. And there's a barbecued romanesco dish for vegetarians as well, served with pickles and farro.

After a few cocktails and a few dishes, this may not be the cheapest of dates. But it is bound to impress — and being able to hear yourself talk and not having to elbow your way to a bar (like at nearby Trick Dog) are definitely pluses!

Liliana features a half dozen seats at its bar, as well as a handful of small tables, so reservations are recommended. But for the moment, walking in for a bar seat or a table remains a decent option most weeknights.

You could also just pop by for a dessert date with an Espresso Martini.

Liliana - 2875 18th Street near Florida Street - Open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For budgetary reasons, SFist editors and contributors occasionally accept complimentary meals from restaurants and their publicists. More often, we pay out of pocket for our meals. While we mostly refrain from writing formal reviews, we make every effort when giving opinions about restaurants to be objective, and to focus more on food and ambiance than service in order to make up for any possible bias.