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Top San Francisco Sangria Bars

Updated on September 2, 2010

Sangria is one of the best beverages to enjoy at a San Francisco restaurant. It combines the lovely punch of great wine with a tiny sparkle of spirits (usually brandy or triple sec). It is filled with yummy fresh fruit. Sometimes it is served over ice. Sometimes it's carbonated. And usually it's sweetened with a natural sweetener like fruit syrup or honey. As far as give-you-a-buzz drinks go, it's a light and healthy drinks.

Sangria is also great because it's a social drink. Although you can order a single glass of sangria, it's typically ordered as a pitcher for the entire table to enjoy. It's shared over conversation. And often it's served in places where you order tapas, small plates that can also be shared with the entire table. It's a very communal way of enjoying food and drink.

There are quite a few places in San Francisco where you can enjoy really great sangria. Below you'll find a list of three of my favorite choices along with some other places that I've heard are good but haven't had the opportunity to check out yet.

A
Cha Cha Cha on Haight St.:
1801 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

get directions

Tapas restaurant with awesome sangria in the beating heart of The Haight.

B
Cha Cha Cha on Mission:
2327 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

get directions

Tapas bar with awesome sangria in the terrific Mission neighborhood.

C
Thirsty Bear:
661 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

get directions

Sangria, flamenco and tapas in the growing SoMA neighborhood.

D
Andalu:
3198 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

get directions

Upscale food topped off with white sangria.

My Top 3 Sangria Spots

If I'm craving great sangria with good food and a terrific atmosphere then I choose one of the following three spots:

1. Cha Cha Cha. This restaurant, as you can see in the map above, has two different locations. The first is located in the Haight and makes for a great stop when thrift store shopping in the area. The second is located in the Mission. I tend to prefer the one in the Haight but perhaps that's just due to nostalgia because it was the first sangria bar I ever went to in the city.

The sangria here is strong red sangria. It can be enjoyed at the bar (which is in a separate room) or in the dining room while you eat tapas with your friends. This isn't an ideal place for vegetarian sangria drinkers because a majority of the shared dishes are meat dishes. That said, they've got a nice selection of different foods including ceviche, sauteed mushrooms, jerk chicken, spicy pork and cajun fish. As you may have guessed, the menu is influenced by the Caribbean.

2. Thirsty Bear. Of the spots that I've listed here, Thirsty Bear is probably the most upscale. It's not uber-fancy but people often come here dressed up. This is due in no small part to the fact that there are sometimes flamenco performances held here. As with my other favorite sangria restaurants, this is a tapas spot with both large and intimate tables for sharing sangria and snacks.

The sangria here is a spicy red sangria spiked with brandy and rich with fruit. Very yummy! Paella and fancy cheese dishes are among the top choices from the dinner menu. Other good options that I've shared here include patatas bravas, empanadas, grilled eggplant flat bread and spinach salad. There are also lots of great choices for meat eaters; I'm told that the bocadillos (mini burgers) are delicious.

If you're going to a sangria bar with some picky people who don't drink wine-based drinks then this is a good spot. That's because Thirsty Bear is also a brewery that offers a great range of options for the local beer drinker.

3. Andalu. This Mission restaurant is open for both brunch and dinner. This brings up a good point - sangria is a great brunch drink! You have a couple of different sangria choices here but the one to try is the Sangria Blanca, a white wine sangria that isn't as easy to find in other restaurants in the city.

Andalu also has an interesting food menu. Like the others, it's a tapas spot for food sharing with the group around you. Among the interesting foodie-friendly options here you'll find Andalousian Olives with fennel, hearts of palm salad with grapefruit and avocado, ahi tartare tacos, crispy mac and cheese, gremolata fries and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. Save room for dessert. There are many options but a favorite is the donut holes with Castilian hot cocoa.

Other Top Sangria Spots

There are also some other sangria spots that I think bear mentioning here in San Francisco. I can't provide a lot of detail because I haven't been to them yet. However, they're all on my "get there one of these days" list because I've heard good things about them. 

These additional sangria spots in San Francisco include:

  • Lalola Bar de Tapas. This North Beach area restaurant is one that I've actually got a coupon to and plan to check out soon. I've read that it's got a very fun sense of communal dining where you may even find yourself seated with strangers. I like restaurants like that. They add to the social fun of dining. I've also heard that their sangria is among the best in the city.
  • Zarzuela. What I've heard about this tapas restaurant is that it's tough to decide whether you want the sangria or just the house wine because they are both equally delicious. The sangria here is a bit sweeter than some of the other spots, according to online reviews. It's also more affordable.
  • Esperpento. This Mission tapas bar gets a thumbs up from lots of friends of mine who insist that it's got the best sangria in town. I'm told that it should be ordered alongside the lobster paella which is a specialty of this restaurant.
  • Fly Bar. This bar reportedly has strong, delicious homemade sangria that is served for super cheap in a bit of a divey atmosphere.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • mackyi profile image

    I.W. McFarlane 

    8 years ago from Philadelphia

    very informative!

  • ethel smith profile image

    Ethel Smith 

    8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    If I ever visit ......

  • ocbill profile image

    ocbill 

    8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

    cha cha cha for me. jerk chicken & sangria is a good combo although some cheese cubes with fresh bread would go well too, (from a trip I had to So. America)

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