With Napa Valley and Sonoma County less than 100 miles away then it should be no surprise that San Francisco has a number of hot spots for wine lovers of all budgets. Here’s our top picks.


rn74-sanfran Neighbourhood: Financial District

In 2007 Rajat Parr, sommelier and wine entrepreneur, teamed up with celebrity chef, Michael Mina, to run this go to wine bar and restaurant at the base of the city’s Millennium Tower. Surprisingly being in the heart of California the focus here is very much on French wine. And Burgundy in particular with the name coming from the main road that leads in to the classic French wine region.

But as well as great wines from across Burgundy and France, there is still a big choice of American and Californian wines across its multi-page wine list.

It has become a big favourite amongst wine lovers and includes a number of rare and highly sought after bottles and vintages. For those on a budget there are half-bottles available and you can enjoy a number of wines by the glass.

But if you love your wine then this is one of San Francisco’s watering holes you have to visit.

Press Club

Neighbourhood: Financial District

The Press Club is bit of wine country meets downtown San Francisco. It originally started as a place in the city where some Napa producers would set up ‘tasting’ counters where locals could come and try wines from Napa, without having to make it up to the valley.

Fast forward over a decade and the space has become more of a lounge and a dedicated bar, but still offers some of California’s best wines. Where this venue really shines is the sheer number of wine flights on offer. There are typically over 20 different flights giving customers a real opportunity to explore different styles and regions of wine.

Similarly there are also a number of wines by the glass to explore using the new popular Coravin wine opening system. This is a specially designed device that sends a tiny needle through the cork, extracts a glass worth of wine out of the bottle without having to pull the actual cork. Leaving the wine pristine and cork attached. It has understandably transformed the way wine is poured and offered in bars around the world, not just here in San Francisco.

It means you can try a usually out of budget wine, for a fraction of the cost.

Prices on the main wine list are also really approachable and give you a great insight in to the wines being produced up in Napa and Sonoma.

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant

ferry-building-san-francisco-Neighbourhood: Financial District

The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant is located inside the stunning Ferry Building in San Francisco, which is worth a visit in itself. The building is filled with local producers of fine foods and restaurants that share the same space as the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

On any given day there are over 25 wines open to taste and find what you would like to drink. Different sized options are available from a two ounce serve, by the glass, carafe or by the bottle. All the wines on the list, plus more, can also be purchased in the shop.

There are also small plates to enjoy from several of the vendors in the Ferry Building.

The Hidden Vine

the hidden vineNeighbourhood: Financial District

The Hidden Vine is another wine lovers venue, with the added advantage of having wines from around the world to enjoy on its extensive list. 

You can find a wide range of wines from across Europe, including less seen countries in the US like Portugal and Greece.

Most of the wine here is served by bottle, and you can explore the wine list either by region, wine style or by grape variety.

It’s all done to help customers find a wine they are comfortable with, but encouraging you, at the same time, to try something different. So if you like Chardonnay from California, the list is designed to also suggest alternatives from around the world, like a wine from Jura in France or from a region of Australia.

The wines are reasonably priced, but you can also quite easily spend a healthy sum here if you’re so inclined or able.


Neighbourhood: Nob Hill

Amélie in San Francisco is the original wine café of a sister site in Manhattan which is making a big name for itself in New York.

The wine list has a bit of everything, but has a real focus on the regions of France, with wines from California, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina helping to backfill the list.

There is also a great selection of more off the beaten track wines as well. This includes wines from countries like Bulgaria, and a wide selection of the increasingly fashionable natural wines.

Amélie is keen to promote new and established wine producers alike, but has an eye on offering good value wine across the board.

At least half, if not two-thirds of the list is offered by the glass as well, so you can try a number of wines and explore what this great wine bar has to offer.

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