Cocktails at the Tonga Room

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August 23, 2016
Cocktails at the Tonga Room

12 San Francisco Hotel Bars That Make an Amazing Cocktail

San Francisco is full of places to find a great cocktail — after all, this is the city where the martini was invented. But did you know you might not have to stray far from your hotel room to enjoy great cocktails? It’s true. Over the last few years, many San Francisco hotel bars have been attracting renowned mixologists and garnering awards. So forget the hotel room minibar and change out of that plush bathrobe. One of these 12 San Francisco hotel bars you need to drink a cocktail at may be located just a short elevator ride away.

The Americano at the Vitale (8 Mission St.)
Just off the bay, with the Embarcadero and Bay Bridge as the backdrop, the Americano offers wide-open views of the water from a circular lounge and outdoor patio. Besides its flawless martinis and $5 cocktails during Happy Hour, many cocktails here are made with Italian classics such as Campari and prosecco. For a change, try the Ultima, made with gin, green chartreuse, lemon and grapefruit juices, and maraschino liqueur. www.americanorestaurant.com

Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel (495 Geary St.)
Like the 2,000-year-old redwood said to have been used for Clift’s famous Redwood Room, this hotel bar towers over others in ambiance and class. Recently voted one of 10Best’s Best Hotel Bars, its menu of 15 cocktails offers enticing twists on classics. Try the Irish Mule, with Jameson Black Barrel standing in for vodka, or the Clift Painkiller, combining Bacardi rum with pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut and rocks of nutmeg. Don't forget to check out Ray and Charles Eames' Chair in the lobby. www.clifthotel.com

Dirty Habit at Hotel Zelos (12 Fourth St.)
Located on the fifth floor of the Hotel Zelos, Dirty Habit specializes in cocktails emphasizing rare brown spirits. Grab a chair inside the film noir-inspired dining room or outside on the heated patio, and peruse a selection of cocktails with names so bad they’re good. Bring along a couple of friends so you can try the Pick & Plonk, Break the Bank and Get Me a Juice Box! cocktails. If sharing isn't your thing, try any of the other cocktail selections, including three unique drinks aged for three to five months. This place is a must if you're eating your way through SOMA. www.dirtyhabitsf.com

The View at the Marriott Marquis (780 Mission St.)
The View sky lounge is a 4,500-square-foot space with jaw-dropping panoramic city views. Situated on the Marquis’ 39th floor, the View’s centerpiece is its floor-to-ceiling starburst windows in the main room. Its smaller rooms feature more intimate city views, especially at sunset. Cocktails include standards as well as city-inspired offerings such as the Golden Gate (Jameson’s, St. Germain, cranberry, ginger ale) and the Van Ness Press (Tanqueray, raspberries, mint and citrus). www.sfviewlounge.com

Chesty's Bar at the Marine's Memorial Hotel (609 Sutter St.)
For a place both classy and intimate, take the elevators to the 12th floor of the Marine’s Memorial Hotel. While you don’t have to be a Marine to eat or drink here, there is a dress code, along with an inherent sense of patriotism you’ll get from rubbing elbows with active and veteran servicemen. Enjoy the lush sounds of the piano while sipping one of a variety of classic cocktails. www.marineclub.com

Puccini & Pinetti at Hotel Abri (129 Ellis St.)
Puccini & Pinetti, located on the ground floor of Hotel Abri in Union Square, has an extensive menu of signature cocktails. Beatles fans will want the Abbey Road (London dry gin, Pimm's #1, St. Germain, ginger beer); otherwise, stick with the Italian theme and go for the Margarita Italiano (Corralejo Silver, Tuaca, Triple Sec, simple syrup, lime, lemon) or Italian Love Affair (vodka, Chambord, splash of Amaretto). www.pucciniandpinetti.com

The Cavalier at Hotel Zetta (360 Jessie St.)
Anglophiles will feel right at home in The Cavalier. The food is British-inspired and cocktails come under headings of “The Classics,” “Bright Young Things” (inspired by 1920s' “It” girls), and “Club Cocktails,” first mixed at London clubs. The Pimm’s Cup (gin, Pimm’s No. 1, ginger beer, cucumber, mint and lemon) is a favorite, but the Highland Fling (Scotch, Benedictine, sherry, peach bitters and ginger ale) and Blue Bar Old Fashioned (rye, Averna and citrus demerara syrup) beckon.

The Burritt Room at the Mystic (417 Stockton St.)
Listed in Zagat’s “San Francisco Tourist Trap Survival Guide,” the film noir-inspired Burritt Room in Union Square has cocktails down cold and features great local art. Try the Night Train (bourbon, Amontillado, espresso, cocoa and mole orange) and support a local distillery, or pick another uniquely Burritt cocktail. Feel free to ask for something new and check for seasonal-inspired offerings, too. www.burritttavern.com

Tonga Room and Laurel Court at the Fairmont (950 Mason St.)
The Fairmont San Francisco houses both the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar and Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar. Head to the Laurel if you’re craving classic cocktails "reimagined," including a Pomegranate Paloma or a Manhattan. Leave the business attire behind and relax at the Polynesian-inspired Tonga and Hurricane Bar. Sip on tropical cocktails such as the Singapore Sling and Lychee Martini, or share rum punch bowls for two or more. www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco

Big 4 at the Scarlet Huntington (1075 California St.)
This Nob Hill stalwart, Big 4, is named after four locals who became railroad tycoons in the late 1800s, and its décor evokes that same period. Come here for a business meeting or upscale date, and try a cocktail named for San Francisco’s Golden Era — such as the Golden Spike (scotch, apricot liqueur and Licor 43) or the Copper Mine Shaft (rye, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and walnut bitters). Barrel-aged cocktails are also on the menu. www.big4restaurant.com

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins (999 California St.)
The Top of the Mark, on the 19th floor, has been giving locals and visitors 360-degree views of San Francisco since 1939. Martinis are the cocktail of choice, with a signature martini menu featuring 10 different variations. The drink menu also includes “InterContinental” cocktails such as the Tiramisu Martini (amaretto, Kahlua and cream). www.topofthemark.com

The MKT at the Four Seasons (217 Stevenson St.)
The fifth floor of the Four Seasons San Francisco is the home of MKT, a market-to-table restaurant and bar. This is the place for creative specialty cocktails, with ingredients sourced within 100 miles. MKT Signature drinks include a red sangria made to order; Seasonal Smash with bourbon, lemon, mint, agave, and seasonal fruits; and The Earl, an Old Fashioned made with rye, bitters and Earl Grey-infused simple syrup. www.mktrestaurantandbar.com

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