March 2, 2016

I love me some bloody marys!!! (and blody marias maybe even more)

March 2, 2016

I love me some bloody marys!!! (and blody marias maybe even more)

If brunch has one uniting, iconic dish, it’s the bloody mary. There may be no morning drink more satisfying and revitalizing as the spicy tomato-based vodka cocktail, and every bloody lover has a very specific version they like to imbibe. From the traditional tomato juice with vodka and a stalk of celery to innovative concoctions with full meals as garnishes, here are 10 bloody marys in San Francisco that make for the perfect excuse to drink in the A.M.

1 Cliff House

The name in classic San Francisco establishments, The Cliff House has not shied away from tradition despite all the recent modernizations. Its bloody mary is proof of this — it’s an extra-boozy breakfast treat that goes perfectly with the restaurant’s age-old brunch buffet, even earning the title of “Best Traditional Bloody Mary” at the 2015 Bloody Mary Fest SF. With accolades like that, it’s unsurprising that Cliff House sells bottles of the mix as well.


2 Elite Cafe

Green beans, celery, lemon, olives, and a big hunk of pepperjack cheese garnic Elite Cafe’s spicy bloody mary. Elite Cafe has creole overtones that ensure its bloody marys are full of flavor and spices, and it will happily switch up the vodka for tequila to make a bloody maria, a favorite twist by locals.


3 Elixir

Elixir understands the particular and varied needs of bloody mary enthusiasts, which is why it’s essentially created a build-your-own bloody mary bar. Start with a solid foundation of either tomato juice, V8, or Clamato (mixed with vodka of course), Old Bay seasoning on the rim, a dill pickle and a piece of bacon. When it comes to garnish options, Elixir goes big without getting ridiculous: celery, pepperoncini, dill pickle, olives, cocktail onions, and a rotating selection of other pickled items.


4 Palace Hotel

This may be the most elegant place in San Francisco to start off a round of day drinking. Though it has done away with its lavish buffet brunch, breakfast in The Garden Court still offers a traditional bloody mary as classic as the hotel itself — spicy, rich, and full of vodka, just the way they should be.


5 Sam’s Anchor Cafe

Marin is always around 10 degrees warmer than San Francisco, which is why Sam’s is the perfect spot north of the fog to grab a bloody mary. That, and the expansive outdoor deck that gets downright rowdy on the weekends with bloody mary seekers. Sam’s takes a traditional approach to the cocktail, meaning it’s full of vodka and celery, but with whole peppers giving it that extra kick.


6 The Ramp

This Mission Bay brunch hotspot — and former bait shop — serves up a classic spicy bloody mary with generous servings of celery and limes alongside a bay view that can’t be beat. Catching Giants games here also comes highly recommended, if you can’t get into the actual baseball stadium down the road.

7 Thieves’ Tavern

If you’ve been waiting for a bloody mary as a meal replacer, this is it. Thieves Tavern goes above and beyond by garnishing its thick tomato juice-vodka cocktail with cherry tomatoes covered in cream cheese, maple bacon, lettuce, and a slathering of barbecue sauce. If you’re feeling extra-hungry and/or adventurous, request some slices of salami, cubes of cheddar cheese, cornichons, green beans, peppers, and olives to get that holistic bloody mary experience. For only $9, this is a pretty solid deal if the goal is to get both drunk and full.


8 Waterbar

This may be the most Instagrammable bloody mary in San Francisco. It’s served up next to a fantastic view, but it’s not the water you’ll be focusing on. Waterbar has built a deliciously decadent experience atop a traditional bloody mary foundation, garnishing the drink with a seasoning of Old Bay on the rim, two whole slices of bacon, jumbo shrimp a quarter the size of the glass, and greenery in the form of cucumber.


9 Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is San Francisco’s preeminent watering hole for day drinkers — with very good reason. First and foremost, it opens daily at 9 a.m., so breakfast drinking doesn’t need to be sequestered to the weekend. Second, the bloody mary is award-winning, getting the nod from both SF Weekly and The SF Bay Guardian (RIP). It’s classic but bold and garnished to the brim with pickled goodies. It may be more vodka than tomato juice, but isn’t that what we all really want from early morning libations?


10 Zuni Cafe

The addition of balsamic gives this classic bloody mary a sweet twist, while the pepper onion relish adds that spicy dimension that no bloody lover can live without. All of these factors combine to create one of the freshest versions in San Francisco, perfect for sipping on one of our warm 70 degree days … or anytime at all.


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