There’s no ignoring that the cocktail scene in San Francisco is at its zenith. I mean, this is the place that once embraced the term mixologist (remember that?). Recently, I got the chance to participate in a cocktail tour (which really could just be called bar-hopping) that showcased three popular bars in the city’s Union Square area.

“The Vanishing Lady” cocktail from Stookey’s Club Moderne is made with gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, Aperol and creme de mure.

Tim Stookey captures the vibe of this Art Moderne spot near Nob Hill.

The tour, “Union Square Craft Cocktail Experience,” is one of the food-focused tours organized by Avital Tours. I signed up for the tour complimentary of the new Course Horse, which is an online catalog of classes and tours. Course Horse wanted me to try out their site, and it is pretty simple to look up cooking classes. But not all classes happen frequently, so the thing that came up sooner rather than later was the cocktail tour, so off I went.

A bartender at Club Moderne makes a special drink perfect for summer called Strawberry Fizz.

The guys at Burritt Room + Tavern doing their thing.

The tour takes place late afternoon Saturday, which is like happy hour but most of the bars we visited were quiet, which gave us the chance to explore and chat with the bartenders. Each bar provided one specialty cocktail along with a taste of a core ingredient in the drink. We started at Stookey’s Club Moderne, a 2-year-old bar bordering Nob Hill that was a blast from the past, with Art Moderne styles and old tunes on the playlist.

Then we visited the popular Burritt Room + Tavern, where I’ve visited before and enjoy. We tried a refreshing drink for the warm day we had, a cocktail with agricole, kumquat, kalamansi and a whole lot of crushed ice.

At the Burritt Room, we try the “Rocksteady” cocktail made of Clement Blue Canne Agricole, kumquat, kalamasi, mint, blistered habanero, seltzer, powdered sugar.

A look at the Tradition bar. The cocktails we tried here are pictured in the photo at the top.

Our tour ended at Tradition, the latest bar from the people behind Bourbon & Branch. It’s a fun spot with a few different spots to escape to (from booths to private room upstairs). We hung out at the bar and had another refreshing cocktail “The Parting Glass” and a classic Sazerac.

Who wouldn’t like a tour where you drink along the way? The tricky part about these tours is you don’t know where you go so you may end up at places you’ve already been to, which is why these tours make great gifts for newbies in town or visiting guests. It also gives you a chance to meet fellow craft cocktails lover.

Thanks to Course Horse and Avital Tours for making this happen!

Here’s a gallery of more images from my walking tour.

Cocktail Tour San Francisco

One Response to Craft Cocktail Tour of Three San Francisco Bars

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    I feel tipsy just looking at the photos. LOL Though, I admit I do love a good bracing gin drink now that the days are getting warmer.