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Top 5 Whiskey Bars in San Francisco

Welcome to the spirited world of whiskey in the mesmerizing city of San Francisco, where connoisseurs and enthusiasts gather to savor the finest amber elixirs.

toast of glasses at San Francisco whiskey bars

From smooth bourbons to peaty single malts, the San Francisco area boasts an impressive array of whiskey bars that cater to the discerning palate.

In this guide, we’ll take you on a captivating journey through the best whiskey bars in San Francisco, where expert bartenders curate impressive collections and craft exquisite whiskey-based cocktails.


3200 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 552-1633
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Elixir is a historical yet highly trendy saloon near the popular Mission Dolores Park.

It’s seen as one of the best whiskey bars in San Francisco thanks to its longevity alone, as the site’s been running one of the oldest since 1858!

Although historical, the bar stays up-to-date with modern favorites when it comes to whiskey and other liquor, and it’s a great place to go for a lovely Old Fashioned or a more intriguing cocktail – like the “Golden Gate Fog.”

Bourbon & Branch

501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 346-1735
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Bourbon & Branch, in the Tenderloin area near the Tenderloin Museum, is where to get a drink if you’re looking for the best-handcrafted cocktails in the area.

It’s a highly popular spot, so I recommend making reservations if you want to go.

But it’s certainly worth the extra effort to get creative whisky cocktails like the Gould Ru-Sher, with bourbon and nocino, or the Illegal Drinker, with Bulleit and orange bitters.

Third Rail

628 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 252-7966
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Third Rail, located right by Crane Cove Park, is one of the most fun places to get drinks because of its unique, train-station-inspired decor, creative and well-presented drinks, and delicious beef jerky!

I recommend ordering some of their best whiskey cocktails, like the Levithan, the Bone Machine, and Argyle.

You can find a range of whiskey, scotch, bourbon, rye, and more at this spiffy establishment.

PABU Izakaya

101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 535-0184
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PABU Izakaya, in the Chinatown area, is one of my favorite spots for date night because of the upscale, sophisticated setting.

I enjoy walking into such a chic, sleek space with a cozy and unpretentious atmosphere.

It’s a lovely spot to enjoy Japanese cuisine and various Japanese whisky options with a special someone.

You can’t go wrong with the Davis sushi platter!


246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 398-2827
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One of the most fun places to go for whiskey is Rickhouse, a live music and craft cocktail bar near St. Mary’s Square.

It’s the perfect spot to head with coworkers post-work, especially if all your coworkers love whiskey, as there’s an extensive list to choose from.

I adore the setting, that’s both intimate and spacious, with a narrow pathway but high ceilings.

It feels warm yet balanced – sort of like a good whiskey!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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