If you’re anything like me, picking a venue for any type of event or meeting can be a frustrating task; the ambiance has to be right, the food good, great coffee/cocktails, not too busy… not too quiet!
I’m also a sucker for a rooftop, a view and a cocktail. With the SF Indian summer upon us, I have compiled a list of my top client entertainment spots (with a view) to save you the hard labor…
Top of the Mark
I love Top of the Mark knowing it’s a real SF institution with quintessential San Francisco charm! It first opened in 1939 and has been a long standing favorite among celebrities and dignitaries and with priceless breathtaking 360-degree views over the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge it’s easy to understand why. It’s best to reserve a table here or you may be waiting a while during peak times, or when they have live music.
Location: 19th floor of the Intercontinental hotel, 999 California Street
Favorite cocktail: Golden Gate
Cityscape Lounge, Hilton
Cityyscape offers another breathtaking panoramic view from what’s in my opinion a modern version of Top of the Mark, with a sophisticated and less touristy ambiance. You enter through the hotel and climb 46 floors to find the upscale cocktail lounge with excellent service and delicious cocktails. And the best part, there is no need to reserve a table.
Location: 46th Floor of the Hilton Hotel, 33 O’Farrell Street
Favorite cocktail: Blinded By Science
When the weather is particularly warm, Charmaine’s offers an excellent indoor and outdoor rooftop option. As described on their website, think ‘European terrace meets California cool’ and they’re right! The views are less dreamy than locations above but ambiance is relaxed and comfortable with outdoor fire heaters for when the sun drops. The downside is the location, it’s in a less than desirable part of the city so perhaps don’t take any visitors who are completely new to San Francisco, they will likely be a little shocked. Get there early too, the queues can build quite quickly.
Location: Proper Hotel, 1100 Market Street
Favorite cocktail: Kissin’ in the California Sun
Not quite ‘roof top’ but an excellent venue with vast outdoor and indoor seating. If you’re meeting is in the afternoon on a warm day this is a great spot, particularly with larger groups and offers a view overlooking the ferry building and Bay Bridge which is spectacular at nightfall. The food, the service and drinks menu is good – not quite excellent so perhaps don’t take a foodie but top marks for overall ambiance and location.
Location: 4 Embarcadero Center
Favorite cocktail: White Whale
Perched only 5 floors above the high-tech startup epicenter of SOMA this is a more intimate location that seems to be a bit of a secret among locals. You can easily grab a seat in the spacious outdoor heated patio area and feast on the sharing punch bowls and seasonal menu of new American cuisine. The ambiance is relaxed and sociable and in a film-noir lounge setting.
Location: 12 4TH Street
Favorite cocktail: Nectar of the Gods
I have been in SF just over 2 years and technically still a rookie with knowing the local hot spots! Feel free to reach out if you can top my list - I'm all ears.