San Francisco

Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Dining in SF

It's finally back.

Photo by Audrey Kuhn
Photo by Audrey Kuhn
Photo by Audrey Kuhn

San Francisco got some amazing news this week. After a month and a half of being relegated to take out and delivery, we can finally go to restaurants again. Of course, it’s outdoor dining only. And the tables have to be six feet apart. And you’ll need to wear a mask when you’re not eating or drinking, but still-doesn’t it feel fantastic to have even a little more freedom? We sure think so, and we think that freedom tastes even better when it comes in the form of heated patios and beer gardens and dishes that are prepared by professionals and served straight from the kitchen on a (gasp!) plate instead of after 30 minutes of rolling around in a box in the back of someone’s car. This list has just a few of our favorite spots for outdoor dining in the city and covers everything from pizza to prime rib and sushi to sandwiches. (Please be sure to double check hours because though dining is permitted as of Thursday, January 28, it is going to take some restaurants a little more time to ramp up and reopen.)

Da Flora

North Beach
This beloved North Beach Italian restaurant, helmed by husband-and-wife team Jen McMahon and Darren Lacey, has a parklet with a covered roof and heat lamps for dinner service Wednesday through Saturday. The dinner menu with seasonal dishes like pesce en brodo with Dungeness crab, jumbo prawns, PEI mussels, and ling cod is available from 5 to 8 pm. Call 415-981-4664 for more information or to make a reservation.
 

All Good Pizza

Bayview
All Good Pizza’s expansive (7,000 feet) outdoor beer garden is a great spot for a socially distanced pizza feast. They’re currently open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 5 pm for  Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzas, organic salads, paninis grilled on fresh baked local bread, and beer and wine. And since Bayview is one of SF’s sunniest neighborhoods, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to dine jacket-free.

Violet’s

Outer Richmond
This cozy neighborhood bar, beloved for their on-point cocktails and bacon cheeseburger, is open for sidewalk dinner and drinks every evening from 4:30 to 8:45 pm with last call at 9:30 pm. Reserve your spot on OpenTable or by calling 415-682-4861; they have limited space for walk-ins, too.

4505 Burgers & BBQ
4505 Burgers & BBQ
4505 Burgers & BBQ

4505 Burgers & BBQ

Western Addition
4505’s Divisadero patio, long a go-to for warm days and barbecue cravings, is open daily from 10:30 am to 9 pm. The counter service model remains, and while diners are required to maintain six feet of distance while waiting to order, you can also order online for pick-up ahead of time. Bonus: They now have pitchers of beer available for dine-in, too.
 

Prubechu

Mission
Prubechu, a destination for Guamanian food and flavors, is open for outdoor patio dining in a plant-bedecked lot adjacent to the Mission Street restaurant. Satiate your cravings for Chamorro flavors, including Guam-style barbecue, empanadas, local beer, natural wine, and more, Wednesday through Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company

Outer Sunset
Sunset Reservoir, usually a neighborhood go-to for beers, burgers, and trivia, might be best known for its sister company, Devil’s Teeth Baking Company, purveyor of one of San Francisco’s most justifiably famous breakfast sandwiches. Those are on offer, along with a limited dinner menu of snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, and can now be enjoyed alongside a cold one or three at one of their first come, first serve outdoor tables on Noriega Street. They’re open every day from 3 pm to 9 pm (10 pm on Friday and Saturday), plus additional brunch hours on weekends from 10 am to 2 pm.
 

Red’s Java House

Embarcadero
The patio at Red’s is as essential to summer in San Francisco as Giants baseball, and an unbeatable place for a pre- or post-game beer (and a giant pile of fries, naturally). We might not be watching baseball in person this year (or at least not during the spring), but Red’s is open for business. The patio, jutting over the water in the shadow of the Bay Bridge, is open from 7 am to 6 pm, and is as fine a place as ever for a cold one and one of the most affordable burgers (served on sourdough) in town.
 

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store

North Beach
Mario’s, a legendary all-day cafe and a go-to for in-the-know North Beach regulars, has been holding court on the corner of Columbus and Union since 1971. Now, you can grab a seat at one of their sidewalk tables for a cappuccino, pitchers of cold beer, and most importantly, their unbeatable, oven-baked focaccia sandwiches, made on green-onion flecked slabs of olive oil-rich glory from Liguria Bakery, located right across Washington Square Park. Mario’s is open from 11:30 am to 7 pm.

The Vault Garden
The Vault Garden
The Vault Garden

The Vault Garden

Financial District
Opening a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic is no small feat; opening a restaurant concept specifically designed to fit our pandemic moment is an exercise of true agility. Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, the team behind Trestle and Corridor, did just that with The Vault Garden, a 100-seat, fully outdoor restaurant. In addition to a roster of built-in safety protocols, there’s an all-day food menu from chef Robin Song, along with wine, beer, and cocktails, as well as all kinds of special events, including caviar dinners, drag show brunches, wine dinners, and more. Reservations are available, and recommended, though 30 percent of tables will be held for walk-ins. The Vault Garden is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8:30 pm.
 

Zeitgeist

Mission
The iconic SF beer garden is open for food and drinks and toned-down debauchery. The space looks a little different than before-the picnic tables have been divided by plexiglass into “booths”-but the vibe is mostly the same and so is the grub: bugers, grilled cheese, etc., and the drinks: 20+ beers on tap, mixed drinks, and the famous Bloody Mary. 

Photo by Audrey Kuhn
Photo by Audrey Kuhn
Photo by Audrey Kuhn

Izzy’s Steaks

Marina
Izzy’s new covered and heater patio, complete with foliage and twinkle lights, was the place to be seen before outdoor dining came to a halt, but even if you don’t care about that stuff, it’s also a great place for a satisfying steak dinner and local seafood. 
 

Pacific Catch

Inner Sunset
Pacific Catch’s Inner Sunset location has one of the biggest outdoor dining situations in SF with both sidewalk seating and a “Tiki Terrace,” both excellent spots to enjoy coconut shrimp, a poke bowl, and lots of delicious cocktails. It’s open for all of that Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm.

Courtesy of Palette Tea House
Courtesy of Palette Tea House
Courtesy of Palette Tea House

Del Popolo

Union Square
Neapolitan pizza is one of those things that needs to be eaten straight out of the (wood-fired) oven. Del Popolo, which does arguably the best Neapolitan pies in the city, does have flash-frozen pies you can heat up at home, but even though they’re tasty, it all still tastes better when enjoyed on the restaurant’s pop-up rooftop patio.
 

Palette Tea House

Ghirardelli Square
Indulge in delicious pork siu mai and steamed pork buns and garlic butter crab at this dim sum palace with a spacious patio that comes with Bay Views. If you manage to leave enough room, you can grab a sundae from the namesake ice cream and chocolate shop before you go home. Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based freelance writer who is taking advantage of these strange times by exploring San Francisco on foot. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see where she goes next

Lauren Sloss is a contributor for Thrillist. 

San Francisco

How to Celebrate Black History Month in San Francisco

Support and celebrate SF's Black community.

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Though it’s something we need to be doing every day of every month of every year, Black History Month encourages us to pay tribute to the struggles and oppression generations of Black Americans have faced, as well as their often-neglected triumphs and achievements that have helped shape this county and make it better. It’s a time to reflect on how we can do better to confront racism and oppression, which this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” echoes. This is especially important in a town like San Francisco, where the Fillmore District was known as “the Harlem of the West” before the city displaced a vast portion of the neighbourhood’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. This displacement continues today, as the Black population is the only racial group that has declined in every census since 1970.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are lots to do. Whether you want to educate yourself by attending films, performances, or conversations, share the joy at a parade or dance party, or do a little bit of it all at a drag show, here are just a few ways you can get involved and have a lot of fun while doing so:

Visit San Francisco Public Library branches for workshops, films, performances, and more

February (and throughout the year)
Library branches and online
SFPL’s “More Than a Month” celebration focuses on the theme of resistance this year. Family-friendly and adult events include film screenings, musical performances, book clubs, workshops, and more.
Cost: Free

Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora

See art, poetry, films, talks, and more at MoAD

February (and throughout the year)
SoMa
Right now, at the Museum of African Diaspora, you can see the first and only West Coast exhibition of “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” which highlights the work of 15 contemporary fashion designers “whose images present radically new perspectives on the medium of photography and art, race and beauty, and gender and power.” The museum, which has a robust year-round program and event calendar, has a slew of events to attend, including youth poetry readings, film screenings, open mic nights, book clubs, artist talks, and more.
Cost: Event prices vary; GA to visit the museum is $12 but free every second Saturday of the month

Check out films, art, reading, talks, and more at BAMPFA

February (and throughout the year)
Berkeley
There is always something interesting to discover at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). During Black History Month, you can see films by Pratibha Parmar, “Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa,” a conversation through music with the Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, musician, and more.
Cost: Varies

Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe

Enjoy menu specials honoring Black community members at Old Skool Cafe

February (and throughout the year)
Bayview
For Black History Month, Old Skool Cafe is adding the favourite meals of notable Black community members to the menu each weekend. The nonprofit, youth-run supper club helps at-risk, formerly incarcerated, and foster care youth ages 16-22 gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in various front and back-of-house restaurant roles. Bayview hero/community advocate Mrs. Dorris Vincent is first up, followed by Judge Trina Thompson, Delroy Lindo, and Mayor London Breed.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens

Walk beneath the Marting Luther King, Jr. Memorial waterfall

February (and ongoing)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Did you know that Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Dr. King? Visit the sculptural waterfall featuring glass panels inscribed with his inspiring words at 750 Howard Street.
Cost: Free

Attend the Commonwealth’s “Dreaming Forward: A Celebration of Black Joy, Power, and Excellence” conference

Thursday, February 9
Embarcadero
On behalf of Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Club is hosting its second annual Dream Keeper Initiative, a day-long conference/celebration/call-to-action featuring special guests, including April Ryan of TheGrio and CNN.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays

Celebrate Black Love at Oakland First Fridays

Friday, February 10
Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street
Telegraph Avenue transforms into a dining, shopping, and art-appreciating party on Friday, February 10, from 5 pm to 9 pm. There will be food, artist, and retail vendors and a host of Black artists, authors, and entertainment. Please note: This event was rescheduled from February 3 because of potential rain.
Cost: Free

Have a ball at an all-Black drag show at Oasis

Friday, February 10
SoMa
“Reparations with Latrice Royale” is an all-Black drag show hosted by Latrice Royale, the beloved Drag Race star who also happens to be celebrating her birthday.
Cost: $15 to $60

Dance all night and shop all day at the Afro Soca Love carnival and marketplace

Friday, February 10 ‚Äď Saturday, February 11
341 13th Street, Oakland
Afro Soca Love creates experiences that act as a “gateway to building bonds and strengthen relationships-between communities, individuals, and Africa and its diaspora.” See for yourself at the all-ages marketplace (Saturday), where you’ll find food and drink, fashion, beauty and wellness, home decor, and more. But before the shopping comes the dancing at the 21+ Friday Night Carnival, a culturally immersive music experience with music from all over the world.
Cost: The marketplace is free; tickets to the Friday Night Carnival start at $20

See a live performance of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education”

Saturday, February 11
Unity Palo Alto
See a live theatrical performance based on the true events that occurred in the fight to end school segregation. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs, and the play is set in the courtrooms where it all happened. There will be a Q&A with the playwright before the performance and the cast afterward.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company

Go to the I, Too, Sing America album release party

Saturday, February 11
Mission
Head to the Brava Theater Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s album release of the music created for I, Too, Sing America, a soulful and uplifting performance that moved audiences when it debuted last year. The night includes an album-listening and sing-along party, DJs, dancing, an open bar, and more.
Cost: $40

Go on the Black Liberation Walking Tour of West Oakland

Saturday, February 18
West Oakland
Take a walk with David Peters, founder of the West Oakland Cultural Action Network, and Gene Anderson, the author of Legendary Locals of Oakland, to learn about resident voices and document sites of cultural and historical significance in the neighbourhood. Peters is a local native, and Anderson is an Oakland historian whose family has historical roots in West Oakland.
Cost: $50 ($30 for West Oakland residents)

See a screening of The Black Kung Fu Experience followed by in-person demonstrations

Sunday, February 19
Great Star Theater, Chinatown
The Chinese Historical Society of America is celebrating Black History Month and social unity with a screening of this film about how a group of African American pioneers became respected in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Afterward, there will be demonstrations and talks with Sifu Donald Hamby and Sifu Troy Dunwood, who “will speak about their success as internationally recognized martial arts masters, their Chinese Kung Fu teachers, and what this practice means in relation to diversity, race and inclusion issues.”
Cost: $15

Sip wine made by Black winemakers at a free tasting event at STEM Kitchen + Garden

Thursday, February 23
Dogpatch
STEM Kitchen + Garden is hosting an afternoon wine tasting celebrating Black-owned wineries in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor space, and best of all, and it’s free to the public!
Cost: Free

Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House

Attend the San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, February 25
Bayview Opera House
Enjoy an evening of talent, fashion, and community inspiration at SFAAACD’s 1st Annual Gala Fundraiser. Carla Duke, Television News Director at CBS-KPIX Chanel 5, will host the event, which includes inspiring words from keynote speaker Aniyia Williams, an artist, tech creator, and system-preneur.
Cost: $100

Attend a Black History Month & Chinese New Year Poetry Reading on Angel Island

Saturday, February 25
Angel Island
There is so much history in poetry at the Angel Island Detention Barracks Museum, which makes it a fitting location for poets Chun Yu and Michael Warr. The co-founders of Two Languages/One Community will share their poems and stories in English and Chinese, accompanied by projected images of text and photographs.
Cost: $10 to $21

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Feel the joy at the Black Joy Parade

Sunday, February 26
Downtown Oakland
This parade and festival celebrate the “Black experience past, present, and future.” Be prepared to experience “more Black joy than you ever imagined,” starting with the parade (beginning at 14th and Franklin) at 12:30 pm. The family-friendly festival follows (main entrance is at 19th and Franklin) will include 200-plus Black-owned small businesses selling food, drinks, clothing, art, and more. There will also be two stages with Black performers, including The Black Joy Choir.
Cost: Free

Take a sound bath at Grace Cathedral in honor of Black History Month

Monday, February 27
Nob Hill
Take an immersive sound bath featuring Fractals of Sound, a collective of top Bay Area musicians Egemen Sanli, Phoenix Song, and Sam Jackson, with special guest Destiny Muhammad. Together, they will create a “soundscape deeply rooted in world music,” allowing you to take a meditative journey in one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
Cost: $25 to $75

See Tsitsi Dangarembga and Angela Davis at City Arts & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28
Civic Center
Co-presented with MoAd, City Arts & Lectures is hosting novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and scholar and activist Angela Davis for what’s sure to be a riveting conversation.
Cost: $36

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based freelance writer who spent many childhood days wandering around the Exploratorium. Follow her on¬†Instagram¬†to see what she’s up to now.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.