San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, a wild hotspot from Gold Rush to Roaring ’20s, is long gone, but its spirit lingers in the city’s hip bars. Back then, it was a haven for miners, sailors, and shady characters—a place where drinks were more than just sips; they were a show.
Josh Harris’s Top Spots
1. Comstock Saloon: Vintage Vibes
Harris calls Comstock Saloon a time capsule to the Barbary days. It’s oozing with old-school charm, nestled at the junction of North Beach, Chinatown, and the Financial District. Think mahogany bars, jazz nights, and a legendary Sazerac cocktail. Plus, don’t miss their Comstock burger and fresh oysters.
2. Tadich Grill: History in a Glass
Tadich Grill screams history—it’s been dishing out seafood since 1849! A spot in the Financial District, it’s the oldest Cali restaurant. Their dry martinis are legendary, paired perfectly with fresh seafood like cioppino and clam chowder. But it’s first-come, first-served, so snag a seat fast!
3. Bix: The Hidden Gem
Tucked in Jackson Square, Bix is a nod to the 1930s with live jazz and swanky decor. Think speakeasy vibes and art deco lamps. They’re masters at classic cocktails like the BIX Sidecar or BIX Boulevardier. Oh, and their potato pillows with caviar? A must-try!
4. Moongate Lounge: Chinatown Chic
This place screams sophistication. Moongate’s got the velvet booths, marble tables, and restored Chinese murals. Chef Brandon Jew’s eats from Mister Jiu’s downstairs steal the show, but the real stars are their Lunar Calendar-inspired cocktails—Deimos and Ariel are crowd favorites!
5. Li Po Cocktail Lounge: A Time Capsule
Li Po is a relic from the ’30s, preserving Chinatown’s nightlife vibe. Behind big red doors on Grant Avenue, it’s a dive bar with character. Their Mai Tais pack a punch and have a cult following—ask the late Anthony Bourdain! The divey, no-frills vibe makes it a local favorite.
Josh Harris’s Cocktails & Culinary Picks
Harris knows his stuff! He’s all about the classic Sazerac at Comstock Saloon, the dry martini at Tadich Grill, and the BIX Sidecar or BIX Boulevardier at Bix. For a taste of Chinese-Californian eats, Moongate Lounge’s got you covered, especially with dishes like oysters with hawthorn jelly and tea-smoked olives. And don’t forget to try Li Po’s legendary lethal Mai Tais!
The Barbary Coast Comeback
San Francisco’s Barbary coast cocktail scene’s got its groove back, thanks to these spots keeping history alive. So, grab a seat, sip on some history, and travel back in time with each glass!