Last year, SFist brought you a list of nine easy ideas for nights out on the townwith a friend or a date, organized by neighborhood so you don't have to be ordering cars or hopping any trains, mid-date. Once again we have some prescriptive ideas for you for how to have fun outside your living room, be it on a weeknight or weekend, and this time we even cross the Bay for ideas couple, just to appease everyone who yells at us for ignoring the East Bay. Bernal Heights "Maternal Heights," as some refer to the neighborhood south of the Mission, is full of evening possibilities for those who do and do not require a babysitter on date night.
Start with an evening hike up Bernal Hill to achieve some of the city's best views. If you're looking for a bottle of something nice night the way up date approaching from the North, stop by Harvest Hills Market Folsom Street. Take in bridge-to-bridge sights before descending to the Mission Street side of the hill, perhaps via the Esmeralda Street stairs and slides. Yes, slides. Emmy's Spaghetti Shackyou're covered. And for drinks, if your date has already been to El Rio, try Royal Cuckoo for dim lighting, good cocktails, and live jazz.
The spot received the New York Times nod in their "36 Hours in San Francisco" segmenta video in which I am myself visible, on a very Oakland date.
If drinks aren't what you seek, head over to Mitchell's Ice Cream to seal the deal that way. SoMa Alleys Pizza is hot. It's a great, shareable date food. But crust can be too filling — bloating is less hot. Fortunately, there's Montesacro Pinseria-Enoteca Stevenson Streetthe only place in the US that serves up the super popular Roman alternative: pinsawhose crust is light and airy and made with a blend of rice, soy, and wheat flour imported from Italy.
The atmosphere here in a former bakery is casual and datey without being at all over-the-top — don't try too hard, kids — and it's nicely off the beaten path. The wine selection doesn't hurt, and neither do reservations, which are available here. If you fancy an after dinner drink, consider Tempest Natoma Streeta classic dive with a great beer list and bar food next door at Box. We said that in part because the atmosphere is just so damn charming.
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The rainforest sphere at the Academy of Sciences, at dusk. So, any Thursday, find a friend or a date and head over there after 6 p. Head to longtime neighborhood favorite Ebisu for sushi, or Kiki with its crooked door if that's too crowded.
If Japanese isn't your thing, you could also drop in for some top-notch Mexican at Nopalitoand then after dinner, assuming you live elsewhere in town, you could wander up toward Seventh Avenue on Irving and drop into the charmingly divey Fireside for a drink while you wait for the N to arrive and watch the fog roll past. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin Downtown Berkeley Within 30 minutes or less when BART is especially smoothyou could potentially find yourself in another lovely, food- and art-obsessed city just to our east, and I'm not referring to Oakland this time.
Even outside the school year, there is a lot happening in downtown Berkeley. There's Berkeley Repertory Theaterwhere you're possibly going to see the next Broadway-bound hit. There's Comalwhere a former Delfina chef is putting out some very good Mexican food.
There's Ippukuwhere you'll get some top-notch Japanese yakitori. And there's plenty of fun shops to wander into, like this game storeand this comic book shop.
Photo via Facebook. The Haight The Haight has a lot going for it, but it frequently gets a bad rap for the throngs of tie dye-sporting tourists and stoned panhandlers that clog the sidewalks. And while, yes, that's part of it, it is only part.
Haight Street also has all you need for an amazing night on the town. Start with cocktails at The Alembicor Martinis at Aub Zam Zama dark and cozy cocktail spot with a curved semi-circular bar that means you can actually look at your date as your sip and talk about the artwork that adorns the walls. If it's a first date, and you're still trying to find your conversational footing, the jukebox packed with great tunes has your back.
When you've drank your fill, walk east on Haight a block and a half to Club Deluxe. With live jazz seven nights a week, and no cover ever, this bar would be amazing even without the killer pizzas coming out of their kitchen. However, you would be foolish to pass on the pies our favorite is the mushroom, but the spinach pizza is also on point. This is the perfect moment in the evening to sit back, put some food in your stomach, and impress your date with your knowledge of Charles Mingus.
Post dinner calls for a quick stroll to head night potential sluggishness that can follow pizza, so settle your tab, hold your lover's hand, and head east on Haight Street for about 15 minutes until you get to Noc Noc. Walking into this Lower Haight beer, wine, and sake bar has the feeling of entering a hip cave of some sort — the ceilings and walls date and, if you've had enough drinks, start to undulate with the low lighting.
Order a Speakeasy Massacre and find a nook. At this point, making out is highly encouraged. With your blood flowing and your cheeks rosy, it's time to head to the block away Underground SF. If you've timed it right, a dance party will be in full swing. We certainly hope Yelp user Debby L. Then again, why not? Outer Richmond I've been married for almost ten years now, so I guess it might be safe to give up my surefire secret weapon: The Outer Richmond date night that will let you know, once and Oakland all, if your new crush is ride or die or pump and dump.
I successfully used this night, or close variations on it, on a multitude of ideas from through And, yes, the last time I used it was on the man I married.
Show 'em your art and soul
Hey, look, you're cooking together! Watch your potential mate for compatibility in re control freakiness, squeamishness, adventurousness, and willingness to share. All these are indications not just of your possible future together, but what they will be like in the sack!
This is important data. Sit in the back row, so if it sucks you can make out instead. When the movie's over, cross Geary and head to Tommy's Mexican Restaurant Geary for one of the Bay Area's best margaritas or, if you're feeling reckless, a selection or two from their staggering tequila list. Now, Tommy's shuts down at 11, by which time both of you should have made your mind up about which way this night is headed. By 11, that dump will definitely have one or two unpleasant drunkards in there just spoiling for a fight.
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Now, I'd never tell you to go start a brawl, because that would be very bad! But there's nothing sexier than fighting side by side, Mr. Smith style. It got Brad and Angie together, and it just might work for you, too.
One of the SF Zoo's charming capybaras. Yeah, the freakin' zoo. So check their calendarand when the big morning comes, head to Java Beach Cafe Sloat for a nice cup of coffee, because just because you're skipping work doesn't mean you need to pass up on glorious, glorious caffeine.
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The Zoo opens at 10, so you can hop across Sloat any time after that and go talk to the animals. When I go, I always make sure to visit Silent Knight and Henrycatch the penguin feedingand say "hi" to the capybaras — but this is your date, do what you want! When you've had your fill of wildlife, walk a couple blocks to Vicente Street, home of the Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant and one of San Francisco's best Mandarin Chinese ts do not miss their Beijing-style hot pots.
Photo via Yelp.
The Mission There are a million things to do in the Mission, and the neighborhood rightly plays host to many date nights. Start off in the late afternoon by grabbing a bite to go at Taqueria Vallarta. This place has a well-earned reputation for being one the best taco spots in the city, and you won't be disappointed.
Next, walk the four blocks to Southern Exposure. Discussing the exhibition at the 20th Street gallery will give you a chance to sound artsy and intellectual early in the night.
With plenty to talk about, head over to the Armory for a workshop these sell out, so make sure to buy tickets in advance. Run by Kink. Everything You Need to Know About Flogging" and "Stripping and Lapdancing ," this is probably not first date stuff although, depends on the date, we guess. The workshops are super fun, and taking one also gives you a chance to go inside the Armory which you've always wanted to do. With the class over, and a new host of skills, it's time to celebrate with drinks.
Stroll on down to Latin American Club. Although just like everything else in the Mission, it's gotten more expensive over the years, snagging a window booth and people watching while you sip one of the bar's notorious margaritas is still one of the best bargains around.