Modern Nomad is a weekly column dedicated to mobile gear, must-see world destinations, tips for life on the road, and traveling better through technology.
No one can deny that San Francisco has long been a great drinking town. Over the last two decades, craft beer bars and one-off artisan cocktail lounges have seemingly taken over every street corner. But, until recently, there’s been a noticeable dearth of great hotel bars in the city. Here are just a few of our favorite hotel watering holes in one of our favorite California cities:
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen (Hotel Serrano)
Just a short walk from Union Square, the boutique Hotel Serrano is a worthy destination in its own right, even for locals. So it’s no surprise such a great hotel has an equally worthy hotel bar. In just a few short years, Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen has fast become one of the city’s best gourmet beer bars. The atmosphere is a neat blend of sophisticated brasserie and traditional gastropub. It offers all the expected essentials of both — great food and a carefully culled selection of West Coast craft beers. The Oh Canada! Poutine (fries, herb gravy, artisanal cheese curds), in particular, pairs nicely with almost any one of Jasper’s 18 continually rotating draft beer selections.
Top of the Mark (Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco)
Since its opening more than sixty years ago, Top of the Mark has stood as an icon of San Francisco’s bar scene. Perched on the 19th floor of the city’s Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, this classic lounge arguably offers the best views in the entire city. Among other sophisticated tipple, the cocktail menu features a long list of 100 bespoke martinis and plenty of small plates to boot. Check out the live music every weekend and know the brief wait and $10 cover charge is more than worth it.
The View Lounge (San Francisco Marriott Marquis)
While you may not think of Marriott as a “hip” hotel brand, the The View Lounge at San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis is something altogether different. The throngs of businessmen and conference-goers may be exactly what you’d expect of a traditional hotel bar, but the stunning 360-degree views from this 39th floor perch are nothing short of spectacular. Coupled with a solid cocktail menu and a surprisingly decent selection of small and large plates (the braised pork belly is especially noteworthy), it’s an ideal go-to destination for couples.