NIGHTLIFE
San Francisco
> Dogwood
Owner Alexeis Filipello slings cocktails and dishes charcuterie by the pound at Dogwood, a tiny space located right on the edge of Oakland's Uptown neighborhood. Step up to the reclaimed-wood bar and warm up with a Stone's Throw (Johnny Drum Bourbon, ginger syrup, ginger beer, lemon and orange bitters), then hit the meat counter for a plate of cured, hand-cut meats and cheeses before exploring the other liquid offerings. Warning: the Tequila-based Zona Rosa, which has a nice Cynar bite, goes too well with the duck salami to stop at just one.
—Lou Bustamente

Dogwood, 1644 Telegraph Ave. (at 17th St.), Oakland; 510-444-6669, bardogwood.com (reviewed W&S 10/11)

> Bar Terra

Photo by Hiro Sone

As part of a quick refresh of their iconic restaurant Terra, chef-owners Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani converted the larger of their two dining rooms into Bar Terra. Here, the zinc-topped bar serves as focus, with seasonal cocktails by Andrew Salazar. He specializes in lesser-known classics like the Brooklyn (High West Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and orange bitters) as well as originals like the Mami Gato (El Tesoro Reposado Tequila, Campari, Lillet Blanc and yuzu juice). These are the sort of drinks that encourage eating, and the bar menu obliges with small dishes of fragrant, plump kibbe balls and creamy duck liver mousse. Snack here before moving into the dining room, or simply loosen your tie and linger: the full dining room menu, including Terra's signature tripe and bean stew, is also available at the bar.
—Lou Bustamente

Bar Terra, 1345 Railroad Ave. (at Hunt Ave.), St. Helena; 707-963-8931, terrarestaurant.com/barterra.html (reviewed W&S 10/11)

> Jasper's Corner Tap
Brave the tourist crowds to check out Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen, a gastropub on hotel row in downtown San Francisco. The menu both comforts and dazzles, but it's Kevin Diedrich's cocktail program that really astounds. His 18-drink list covers everything from beer and whiskey cocktails to seasonal concoctions, all of which serve as lush, delicate counterpoints to the food. Baked-to-order, chewy, sea salt-crusted pretzels almost pair better with the Cloudkicker (Beefeater Gin, Cynar, green Chartreuse and Campari) than with their side of smoked gouda and cheddar fondue; the dark effervescence of the Velvet 75 (Guinness, gin and Champagne) and one of chef Adam Carpenter's beer sausages will lift the fog off any San Francisco day.
—Lou Bustamente

Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen, 401 Taylor St. (at O'Farrell St.); 415-775-7979, jasperscornertap.com (reviewed W&S 10/11)

> Dosa
When Dosa, San Francisco's first south Indian restaurant, opened in 2006, it made waves not just for its upscale design but for its sophisticated wine and soju list. This summer, following an extensive renovation and the acquisition of a new bar and full liquor license, its Mission District location has upped the ante with some of the most intriguing—and delicious—cocktails around. Under the direction of bar manager Lenny Gumm, the bar crew crafts intricately spiced cocktails like the Gunpowder (Antiguo Reposado Tequila, gunpowder syrup, lemon, elderflower and grilled pineapple pieces marinated in San Juan Del Rio Mezcal), a flawless foil for a masala dosa. Also check out the custom-made gin from Old World Spirits in Belmont, south of the city. Flavored with fresh curry leaves, cilantro, black pepper and star anise, it's at its best in the South Indian Gin & Tonic, served with house-made tonic water.
—Lou Bustamente

Dosa, 995 Valencia St. (at 21st St.); 415-642-3672, dosasf.com (reviewed W&S 10/11)

> Bar Drake
Bar Drake, the new lobby bar in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, makes for two levels of drinking–one in the clubby Starlight Room on the 21st floor, and now another in the mellower Bar Drake closer to the ground. The small back bar holds a fine selection of old-fashioned Scotch, but the drink menu, designed by Jacques Bezuidenhout, focuses on updated classics like the house Manhattan with Port and maple syrup. Other drinks feature chamomile and chai tea, orange marmalade and apricot jam.
—Camper English

Bar Drake, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell St.; 415-392-7755 x226; sirfrancisdrake.com/restaurants-san-francisco/union-square-bars/index.html (reviewed W&S 12/07)

> Beretta
Beretta has been garnering rave reviews for its pizza and Italianate food, but most of the focus is on the cocktails. Thad Vogler, formerly of Jardinière and The Slanted Door, mixes serious drinks using lots of bitters and not much fruit, and sweetens them with gomme syrup and honey instead of simple syrup. Check out the Agricole Mule (rhum agricole, lime, ginger beer, mint) or the Añejo Sour (Tequila, lemon, agave syrup, egg white) for an example of Vogler's talent at mixing classic style cocktails with New World spirits.
—Camper English

Beretta, 1199 Valencia St., San Francisco, 415-695-1199; berettasf.com

> Globe & Zuppa
One way to deal with San Francisco's cold monochrome weather is to cozy up to the bar at Globe, where bartender Shane McKnight serves up his signature Gentian, made like a traditional Negroni. McKnight uses the warmly exotic Barolo chinato in place of sweet vermouth (gentian is one of the botanicals used to make Barolo chinato). It's a textured, almost forceful drink, not for the faint of heart, says McKnight: "It looks like a cosmo, only the joke is that it's a cosbro." McKnight bounces between Globe and Zuppa, both owned by Mary Klingbeil and Joseph Manzare. Fortunately the Gentian follows him across town.
—Wolfgang M. Weber

Globe, 290 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA; 415-391-4132
Zuppa, 564 Fourth St, San Francisco, CA; 415-777-5900; (Closed)

> The Ritz-Carlton
At The Ritz-Carlton Bar in San Francisco, you won't be stumped for choice. The bar offers over 70 Scotches from more than 100 distilleries. Highlights include rarities such as Tobermory, the Murray McDavid Royal Brackla 26 Year Old and the Macallan 30 Year Old. Also check out the Scotch flights, like the Glenkinchie 19 Year Old Lowland, Cragganmore Speyside 12 Year Old and Lagavulin Islay 16 Year Old, for $39.
—Kristina Shevory

The Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA; 415-296-7465

> The Tunnel Top
Dives are a-dime-a-dozen in San Francisco's Tender-Nob, so what is it about The Tunnel Top? Is it the long bar, upstairs nooks and cozy couches, the customer-contributed artwork, or the riddling racks that now grab the necks of scotches and bourbons? Is it the balcony, with its table-high windows looking out onto the Stockton Tunnel, where Sam Spade once hoofed it after thugs and dames? The drinks? Now you're getting warm. Owners Harveen Khera and Ludovic Racinet have assembled some of the city's most gifted mixologists and concocted a neighborhood-inspired cocktail list. Update your Negroni with a Miles Archer. Sip on a Dashiell Hammett with Fernet, Campari and lime. Or clean out your sinuses with a Wasabi Mary, the latest in liquid sushi.
—Patrick Comiskey

The Tunnel Top, 601 Bush St., San Francisco, CA; 415-982-2307