Mission: fresh-air beer

Pub date March 19, 2007
WriterSam Devine

› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Listen up, troops: Spring is here and decent weather may be on the radar. It’s time to escape from the barracks and attack life with a blitzkrieg of beer and BBQ. Below is a list of checkpoints that are reported to condone and encourage the outdoor consumption of alcohol.

Good luck, soldier. Now get out there and knock ’em back!

Big guns


The HQ of patio bars — the grand pooh-bah, the big cheese. Hands down the biggest, baddest patio west of the bay. Although owing to the line of porta-potties, it’s probably one of the stinkiest. This is your safe station, no matter what company you’re signed up with. Zeitgeist’s commissary will stock you up on burgers and fries, and its Bloody Marys will keep you flying.

199 Valencia, SF. (415) 255-7505, myspace.com/zeitgeistsf


Outer Mission hideaway El Rio is big enough for large outfits but romantic enough for a date while on leave. A portion of the yard is sheltered by a tent for rainy-day ops — and there’s nothing to stop you from lighting up. Mmmm — gotta love the smell of cigarettes in the midafternoon.

3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325 www.elriosf.com


Few cantinas can muster as many features as the Pilsner Inn. Twenty-four beers on tap, two pool leagues, and a lush, landscaped garden patio with two koi ponds should be enough to make anyone stand at attention. A strong contingent here flies the rainbow flag, but the Pilsner welcomes troops from all outfits to its relaxed environs.

225 Church, SF. (415) 621-7058, www.pilsnerinn.com

Smaller outposts


This little Mission spot will flash you back to life as a guerrilla fighter in Cuba or Guatemala. A beer and wine café with a secluded backwoods feel and a heated streetside patio, Papa Toby’s Revolution Café offers a variety of troop entertainment, from free trade to tango lessons. With enough alcohol here, you may be able to brainwash your copilot into believing he or she is the reincarnation of Che Guevara.

3248 22nd St., SF. (415) 642-0474


An enclave of Cole Valley regulars is keeping Finnegan’s Wake top secret. The back patio is a mini-Zeitgeist, equipped with a grill and picnic tables. Surrounded by apartments, this little retreat goes on lockdown after 21:00 hours, making this site good for daytime expeditions only.

937 Cole, SF. (415) 731-6119


The patio of this Haight Street joint has a nicely elevated rear portion — high ground, easy to defend from marauding tourists and the like. And if you can’t successfully pilot your hand-rolled smokable through the crowd, you’ve no business flying so high, soldier.

1569 Haight, SF. (415) 626-1112


Bright red and green paint often makes the Mad Dog in the Fog’s vibrant little patio hard to handle without a pint or two. Local hostiles have managed to shut down maneuvers here after 22:00, so your best bet is to set up a happy-hour camp during the soccer off-season — around World Cup time, soccer insurgents outfitted in reversible jerseys and knee-high socks seize the position.

530 Haight, SF. (415) 626-7279


Taken together, Flippers restaurant and Marlena’s bar in Hayes Valley can provide a prime afternoon drinking and lounging target. Flippers serves burgers, beer, and wine. Its patio is outfitted with a variety of flora: lilies, trees, and lawn. Right next door, with a full bar, Marlena’s has a minimal cagelike smoking facility with just three benches gated off from the street.

Flippers Gourmet Burgers, 482 Hayes, SF. (415) 552-8880

Marlena’s, 488 Hayes, SF. (415) 864-6672


A secluded SoMa bar and restaurant often overrun by hordes of concertgoers and workers from the neighboring Concourse Exhibition Center in the evening, Mars Bar and Restaurant makes for an excellent outdoor lunch break. Late at night you’ll often locate barkeeps from other watering holes gathered here to blow their tips.

798 Brannan, SF. (415) 621-6277, www.marsbarsf.com

Coast Guard


This waterfront bar and restaurant features live music most nights of the week. Its outdoor area is an expansive field of patio furniture flanked by the bay. A popular evening destination for locals, Pier 23 Cafe just underwent a complete remodel, now ready for inspection.

Pier 23, SF. (415) 362-5125 www.pier23cafe.com


Little more than a kitchen shed up front and a tent with bar in back, Red’s Java House is nestled beneath the Bay Bridge on Pier 30. The only thing that might obstruct your skyward reconnaissance is the occasional SUV parked next to the fenced-off, bare-bones patio. There’s a widescreen TV for sports fans in the tent and a menu of burgers, dogs, and fish and chips.

Pier 30, SF. (415) 777-5626


Right next to PhoneCompany Park, Momo’s has a limited view — the baseball stadium and a massive apartment complex obstruct most of the horizon. The bar is incredibly well equipped, but Momo’s is a restaurant, which may impair smoking operations. While there, enrich yourself with the art installation in the front garden box: a giant heart-shaped olive. Enriching!

760 Second St., SF. (415) 227-8660, www.sfmomos.com

Eastern Theater


Just a short flight east of San Francisco, Jupiter is the majordomo outdoor operation of the East Bay. This two-story brewpub and pizza restaurant in downtown Berkeley is attached to a giant compound replete with heating lamps and ivy. You’ll have to stow those stogies, though: this place is a restaurant and doesn’t take kindly to smoking.

2181 Shattuck, Berk. (510) 843-8277, www.jupiterbeer.com


The two-story Irish pub is equipped with two fireplaces and two functional bars. Its patio is a small balcony above a cobblestone alleyway — the perfect size for an elite task force to secure a position and commence a-blazing.

2271 Shattuck, Berk. (510) 647-1790, www.beckettsirishpub.com


Deep into East Bay territory is the Oasis Restaurant and Bar. By day this Oakland position operates as a Nigerian restaurant; at night it becomes a grooving outdoor lounge with DJs and two dance floors. A staggering canyon of cement surrounds the small rear patio. The heated paradise has multiple tables and chairs, a stage, a massive sound system, and a wraparound grass-covered overhang.

135 12th St., Oakland.



Carmen’s, Pier 40, SF. (415) 495-5140

Cinch, 1723 Polk, SF. (415) 776-4162, www.thecinch.com

Connecticut Yankee, 100 Connecticut, SF. (415) 552-4440, www.theyankee.com

Eagle Tavern, 398 12th St., SF. (415) 626-0880, www.sfeagle.com

Jay ‘n Bee Club, 2736 20th St., SF. (415) 824-4190

Kennedy’s Irish Pub and Curry House, 1040 Columbus, SF. (415) 441-8855, www.kennedyscurry.com

Lone Star Saloon, 1354 Harrison, SF. (415) 863-9999, www.lonestarsaloon.com

Lucky 13, 2140 Market, SF. (415) 487-1313

Medjool, 2522 Mission, SF. (415) 550-9055, www.medjoolsf.com

Mix, 4086 18th St., SF. (415) 431-8616

Parkside, 1600 17th St., SF. (415) 503-0393, www.theeparkside.com

Il Pirata, 2007 16th St., SF. (415) 626-2626

Ramp, 885 Terry Francois, SF. (415) 621-2378

Red Jack Saloon, 131 Bay, SF. (415) 989-0700

Rosewood, 732 Broadway, SF. (415) 951-4886, www.rosewoodbar.com

Wild Side West, 424 Cortland, SF. (415) 647-3099