Top San Francisco Wine Bars & Urban Tasting Room

  • Travel
  • by WINECOUNTRY COLLECTIVE
  • on JUNE 13, 2024
  • 74
  • 0
Travel

Top San Francisco Wine Bars & Urban Tasting Room

By WineCountry Collective June 13, 2024

While Napa Valley and Sonoma attract wine lovers from around the Bay—and for good reason—you don’t have to venture north of San Francisco to experience amazing wine. Known for its lively culture and culinary brilliance, San Francisco is home to an array of urban wine tasting rooms and trendy wine bars that are totally worth exploring. Come along as we uncover the coolest spots in SF to savor exquisite wines from Northern California and beyond.

Wine Bars

Get your sip on at these excellent San Francisco wine bars, where the settings are just as memorable as the beverage lists.

Ebb & Flow in Hayes Valley
Ebb & Flow in Hayes Valley, Photo courtesy of Ebb & Flow

Ebb & Flow

Hayes Valley’s Ebb & Flow is a gem for oenophiles who appreciate family-owned vineyards and small producers. With a daily happy hour until 6 pm and exciting Pizza Pop-Up Thursdays, there’s always something fun happening at this hip wine bar. Offering wines by the glass or bottle, Ebb & Flow also serves tasty snacks like cheese boards, smoked almonds, and castelvetrano olives. For those looking for non-alcoholic options, they also provide NA wine and beer, making it a welcoming spot for everyone.

High Treason

High Treason has been drawing wine enthusiasts since it first opened its doors in the Inner Richmond in 2016. This relaxed and unpretentious wine bar offers a carefully curated selection of 50 wines, as well as a variety of craft beers for those looking to switch things up. The ambiance at High Treason is laid-back and inviting, with vinyl records on constant rotation, making it the perfect spot for both casual hangouts and intimate gatherings while enjoying fine sips.

Birba
Photo courtesy of Birba

Birba

Located in Hayes Valley, Birba is the brainchild of sommelier and SF restaurant manager Angela Valgiusti. Inspired by Italian charm, Birba—meaning “little troublemaker” in Italian—boasts a beautiful outdoor space ideal for relaxing with friends. Enjoy “stuzzicini,” delectable small bites like pistachio feta dip and antipasti, while exploring their impressive selection of both new and old world wines. With options ranging from traditional to natural, Birba also features refreshing spritzes and zero-proof drinks, making it a great spot for any wine lover.

Cultivar San Francisco

Situated in the always bustling Marina District, Cultivar San Francisco is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts looking for a delightful glass and a bite. This lively spot is celebrated for its limited production wines from Napa Valley and throughout California. With a spacious outdoor patio, Cultivar offers wines by the glass, bottle, case, and even keg. Pair your selection with something from their delicious local and seasonal food menu for an unforgettable experience. Love all things Cultivar? Then don’t miss stopping into their second location at SF’s iconic Ghirardelli Square.

Waystone

Located in the vibrant North Beach neighborhood, Waystone is a hotspot for those seeking unique, small-production wines with low alcohol and high acidity. The inviting tasting room, adorned with plants and art by local artists, is the perfect backdrop for their fun weekly events, including live jazz and Wednesday wine tastings. Owner Tom Patella is passionate about “demystifying” wine, creating a welcoming, neighborhood vibe where anyone can stop by to taste wine by the glass alongside delicious small plates, like Old Bay French fries and achiote baby back ribs.

Food at Roaming Goat
Food at Roaming Goat, Photo courtesy of Roaming Goat

Roaming Goat

Tucked in the charming Cow Hollow neighborhood, Roaming Goat specializes in Mediterranean, Georgian, and Armenian wines and cuisine. This intimate spot features cozy tables inside and a spacious outdoor patio and parklet, great for relaxing with friends. Enjoy wines by the glass or bottle, paired with delightful mezze like tzatziki and muhammara spreads, or savor small and medium bites such as crispy octopus kebab, Aleppo potatoes, and red-wine aged goat cheese with figs. Their daily happy hour from 4 to 5 p.m. is an especially nice time to go.

Amelie

Located on Polk Street in SF’s Russian Hill, Amelie has been a beloved wine bar and bistro since 2006. Known for its cozy yet vibrant atmosphere, Amelie serves up delightful French tapas and an impressive selection of wines—60 wines by the glass and 100 by the bottle, to be more precise. Adding to the experience, the bar comes alive on weekends with the sounds of live music, featuring everything from jazz to local bands.

Swirl on Castro

As the name implies, Swirl on Castro is a Castro wine shop and bar focused on European and California producers, as well as artisanal spirits. Enjoy wines by the glass or bottle while indulging in delicious bites from Heroic Italian, which operates out of Swirl’s on-site kitchen. Their menu features Italian deli-style sandwiches, fresh pasta, Roman pizza, salads, and antipasti. With both indoor and outdoor seating, and a hidden garden exclusively for wine club members, Swirl on Castro is a charming and relaxed place to savor beverages alongside tasty treats.

Photos courtesy of El Chato

El Chato

El Chato brings the charm of a Spanish-style taberna to San Francisco’s Mission District. Specializing in wines from the Iberian Peninsula, this cozy, modern spot offers wines by the half glass, glass, and bottle. Indulge in authentic pintxos and tapas alongside Spanish drink specials like Estrella Galicia beer, Manzanilla sherry, and vermut. The food menu features delectable options such as charcuterie and cheese boards, Spanish tortilla, and more. El Chato is a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the rich flavors of Spain and Portugal without leaving the city.

Urban Wineries + Tasting Rooms

Whether sipping wine steps from winery production facilities or sampling varietals sourced from nearby vineyards, these urban tasting rooms offer much to love.

Urban Legend Cellars

Just a quick hop across the San Francisco Bay in Alameda, Urban Legend is a go-to urban winery for a fun and relaxed wine experience. Sip wines by the glass, bottle, or try a tasting—whether self-led on their inviting outdoor patio or guided by a wine expert indoors. They source their grapes from sustainable wineries across Northern California, including Lodi, Clarksburg, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. With walk-ins always welcome, it’s easy to drop by anytime to sample wine. Plus, food trucks roll in every Saturday and Sunday to keep the good vibes and great flavors going.

Photos courtesy of JAX Vineyards

JAX Vineyards

Located in the SoMA neighborhood, JAX Vineyards offers a great urban wine experience that keeps people coming back for more. Sourcing grapes from their family-run vineyards in Calistoga, Yountville, and other Napa AVAs, they specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon while also showcasing varietals like Chardonnay, Cab Franc, and Pinot Noir. Walk-ins are welcome to enjoy wine by the glass or bottle in their sleek indoor and outdoor lounge. And don’t miss out on their mouthwatering charcuterie and cheese boards—perfect companions to your wine tasting journey.

Treasure Island Wines

Situated on—you guessed it—Treasure Island, Treasure Island Wines is known for its small-lot bottlings made from grapes sourced from AVAs across California. Offering both tastings and wines by the bottle or glass, this casual urban winery invites people to explore a variety of well-known and lesser-known varietals, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel to Grenache Rosé. Whether you’re up for a tasting or just want to enjoy a glass or bottle, this casual urban winery welcomes walk-ins to dive into their diverse selection.

Winery Collective

Winery Collective is a multi winery tasting room that offers wine from boutique wineries throughout California, including San Francisco’s first urban winery, The Winery SF. With the selection of wines rotating regularly, you can always expect something new and exciting worth tasting. Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, the Winery Collective is a go-to for tourists and locals alike, particularly great for group tasting experiences.

Conclusion

San Francisco’s wine scene is a treasure, offering an array of experiences for wine lovers of all kinds. From the bustling wine bars of the Marina District to charming spots in Hayes Valley and beyond, the city’s urban wine culture is as diverse and dynamic as its residents. Cheers!