Local Libations: Hayes Valley Wine Bars


The luxury condos at Fulton 555 embody the spirit of the world-class neighborhood of Hayes Valley, whose most remarkable quality is its effortless combination of cultural sophistication and physical beauty. It’s no wonder that this gem of a San Francisco neighborhood also boasts some of the best wine bars in the city. Each one of these elegant venues has its own innovative wine list and an atmosphere that perfectly complements the relaxed mood of the area. For a glass of wine and light fare after the symphony or an art opening, or simply for a long, relaxing evening with friends before heading back to your home in Hayes Valley, here are five of our neighborhood favorites.


Fig and Thistle | 313 Ivy Street


Fig and Thistle puts an emphasis on local wines, featuring a changing list of choices like Tag and Jug’s 2015 “Flora” cider and Viognier, an innovative blend that lives up to its sweet smelling name, while complementing the bar’s understated, rough-elegant ambiance, courtesy of repurposed furniture and dark wood floors. Sit back on a wooden bench beneath the hanging plants and try a local cheese plate with Kivelstadt’s 2015 Rose from Mendocino, and your whole system will be redolent with the flavors of the coast.


Pause Wine Bar | 1666 Market Street


Pause Wine Bar was placed on USA Today’s 10 Best list for nightlife in San Francisco, which celebrates the venue’s emphasis on eco-friendly wines. With a menu as carefully curated as its wine list, Pause offers a selection of foods that focuses on seafood and produce, so this is a place where you can snack and sip or stay for a whole meal. On Wednesday nights, this convivial wine bar also hosts what Thrillist has called one of the best trivia nights in San Francisco. Pause even opens early, at 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, making it the perfect spot for an afternoon gustatory treat, too.


Hotel Biron | 45 Rose Street


Hotel Biron is touted by Eater San Francisco as one of “SF Bartenders’ Favorite Spots to Drink,” and to understand why, look no further than its outstanding wine list and intimate setting. For a special celebration, gather friends and split a bottle of Domaine de l’Arlot, Clos des Forêts Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru, a wine whose balance of acidity and density perfectly matches the Hotel Biron’s elegant, old-world-meets-new-world atmosphere. You can enjoy the wines here from as early as 5 in the evening until as late as 2 in the morning.


Birba | 458 Grove Street


Birba has what SF Gate calls a “European-style vibe” and an owner, Angela Valgiusti, who has  worked as sommelier at acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. The perfect venue for an intimate date, Birba has the feel of a neighborhood place for locals, modeled on the wine bars Valgiusti loves to visit in Florence. Try a glass of the Manincor 2014 Moscato Giallo with a bowl of marinated olives—as the sun goes down or anytime between 3 and 10 pm.


Noir Lounge | 581 Hayes Street


For a wine bar with real nightlife appeal, try Noir Lounge, where you can drink a local Pinot Grigio and eat tapas all night while 1940s Hollywood noir films play on big screens: a portal to a bygone era you can help invoke with an order of old-fashioned chive and lemon zest devilled eggs.