first of all, are you staying at the W Hotel? If not, it is next to Moscone and the bar in there called XYZ is really great - and the hotel a nice place if you can stay there. Around the downtown area, for lunch especially an SF tradition is Tadich's Bar and Grill - old Czech family run place since prohibition when my grandfather used to pick up gin there in the 1920s to bring down to university! Quite the mob deal then. But they have great ciopinno- and seafood. Also for lunch head up into North Beach (Italian town, next to Chinatown) and have a coffee at Cafe Trieste- off Colombus Street (I think on Green Street) and try lunch at Rosa Pistola- really great food, packed but worth it. Dont go to any other touristy places there, not worth it except the most famous and MUST DO bars at night are Vusuvios (where Ken Kesey, all the beatnics hung out), and Tosca (hard to get into, but worth it if you can get in the door). I also like some of the bars around the strip clubs on Broadway- but I forget the names, they are hard to get into too but if you go early is ok. Great indie music and really local place - "The bottom of the hill" it is in Potrero Hill which is also very local, but close area to your hotel, quick cab ride- sort of grunge scene, but will likely go under as Indie Music bars are a dying breed. If you want to head to Fishermans Wharf and try traditional SF crab, go to Scomas, no other place down there I suggest, too touristy, but Pier 23 is cool- it is up towards South Beach and has live music and local scene, esp. thurs- sat nights,but not sure if the music is that great anymore. For going out- I suggest the Mission which is more like Brixton and Soho mixed here with more of the West End when you enter the door- but great clubs - esp. Starlight Lounge (on 16th Street, near Valencia), real Mexican feast and best margaritas at Puerto Allegre (on Valencia St. between 16th and 17th), best sushi in town (hard to get into but worth the wait and BEST cocktails) is called Blowfish Sushi I think it is on Bryant st, in the Mission also. Then there is very popular and swanky bar also- Foreign Cinema with the bar inside called Lazlos- and across the street is classic place called Docs Clock with shuffleboard and strongest cocktails (in pint glasses) one margarita will kick your ass. Nicolas Cage hangs out there. Also the Make Out Room is a good bar with live music over on 22nd st, near Valencia. If you want more upscale the 'Marina' people- the girls that wear pearls and suits or whatever- then go to Russian Hill or Nob Hill- there are great places, esp. for a laugh the Tonga Room- an old 50s Hawaiian theme tiki lounge- one of the last remaining in the country- in the Fairmont Hotel and the Red Room is near there, also Gary Danko- very expensive, best food in town. To head out to the beach which you must do and please check the surf for me at Ocean beach and drink beer is at the end of Golden Gate park in the Avenues and I forget the name, but it is the only restaurant there- they make their own beer too.
Paul Clarke's weblog - I live in Hythe in the far South. Wed + dad to 2, I'm a full stack web engineer, + I do js / Node, some ruby, other languages etc. I like pubbing, running, eating, home automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.