Crystal Sykes

Warm-ups

What better way to recover from our chilly summer days than a hot cocktail? 

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culture@sfbg.com

COCKTAIL HOUR Yes, the rest of the country is sipping piña coladas and pink lemonade margaritas, while we shiver and pour whiskey into our hot tea. No problem: this is a primo time to ditch the sickly sweet and explore some solid bellywarmers in the cocktail category.

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Phone home

COCKTAIL HOUR: New bar the Willows will make you want to call your mom

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culture@sfbg.com

COCKTAIL HOUR I'm not sure whether it was completely unintended, but after my night at new SoMa gastropub the Willows, one thing was clear: I need to call my mother.Read more »

'A' for effort?

Don't judge new bar Novela by its gorgeous cover

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culture@sfbg.com

COCKTAILS Novela, the new literary-themed lounge in SoMa, is undoubtedly beautiful: plenty of window light pours in during the evening, highlighting tall black shelves packed full of color-coordinated books. The space, a collaboration between acclaimed bar stars Alex Smith and Kate Bolton, is littered with huge, cozy reading chairs as well as low comfy couches.

But my friend and I just somehow felt out of place.Read more »

Foggy holiday

A memorable barcrawl to Blarney Stone, Trick Dog, and Blackbird

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Friendly spirits

Carry a small snake and an appetite for drink to the new Southside Spirits House in SoMa

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culture@sfbg.com

COCKTAILS In San Francisco, there's a bar for practically every situation. Feeling high-class yet mysterious? Bourbon and Branch is right up your alley. Colorful and trendy? Go to Trick Dog. If you need to drown your sorrows in the dark, there are plenty of dive bars ready to pour you a heavy-handed drink.

But if you're just looking for a well-made cocktail in friendly spot after work, let me introduce you to Southside Spirit House, the newest bar to hit SoMa.Read more »

Kronnerburger

Downing Stranger Juice in the dark -- and biting into solid, juicy burgers at this Mission hotspot

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Coquettish

Michael Chiarello's new Coqueta seduces with Spanish flavors, intimate setting

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culture@sfbg.com

DINING When you name your restaurant Coqueta, Spanish for "flirt," you're really putting it all out there in terms of your food and atmosphere — playful yet unwavering, open but with a hint of mystery, and definitely attentive. After visiting Coqueta during its opening week, I'm confident celebrity chef Michael Chiarello's new venture will score.Read more »

Spring breakers

Warm weather + fresh and fruitful cocktails = an all-day drinking extravaganza

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culture@sfbg.com

DRINK San Francisco: the best bars, mixologists, and produce — not to mention drinkers — in the country. And once the weather warms up (fingers crossed), can a bloom of excellent fruity cocktails be far behind? In honor of the lengthening sunlight, here's a full day's selection of spring drinks picks.

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Home for brews

DIY suds culture thrives at Brewlab

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culture@sfbg.com

BEER My cab pulled up to an unassuming house on a quiet street in the Mission. An etched sign on the front porch bearing the words "Brewlab San Francisco" was my first greeting to the space. I entered, and after checking me in, a man in a green vintage Adidas tracksuit handed me a customized Mason jar and said, "Enjoy." It was time for a tasting at Brewlab (www.brewlabsf.com).Read more »