Al Fresco Dining and Drinks Fit for the Final Days of Indian Summer

Waterfront seating at EPIC Roasthouse // Diners documenting the view at Beach Chalet
(photos: EPIC Roasthouse // Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle/SF)

For most of the country, the beginning of November signals the shift from falling leaves to frigid forecasts. But for us lucky San Franciscans, we’re still somehow holding onto soaring temperatures and golden sunshine for the next few days. Drinking and dining al fresco seems like a natural warm-weather urge, so we asked Production Chef Taylor to tell us his favorite outdoor bars and eateries where you can take advantage of the last days of Indian Summer:

Best Brews and Local Flavor: “If you just want a casual afternoon, stop by Beach Chalet for a beer,” says Taylor. The local brewery boasts exceptional views of both land and sea, from the twirling blades of a newly-restored windmill to the crashing waves on Ocean Beach. The Chalet offers variety in both its changing beer selection and its patio hoppers. “There are lots of dogs, lots of children, definitely a little hipster scene,” says Taylor, but everyone should feel welcome. “Feel free to wear your pajamas there, or dress up. You can go either way.”

The Mission’s Zeitgeist is another bar with an extensive beer menu that attracts a diverse crowd. “You get the nine-to-five-ers that work in the Financial District and then you get the rough and tough biker scene as well,” says Taylor. “But you go there for the beer…That’s pretty much the case year-round. But a night like tonight will be even better.”

Seasonally Exceptional: The Embarcadero is a Bayside treasure and culinary destination for chefs and foodies alike, with restaurants like EPIC Roasthouse attracting eaters with the promise of dining along the waterfront. “The patio is more manageable for nights like tonight where during the day, it’s really great, but at night it’s gonna get a little chilly,” says Taylor. If you’re headed there for dinner, he recommends the seasonal appetizer titled Winter Squashes in All Their Glory. “It had delicata squash, squash puree, fried sage, and I think a pomegranate reduction. It was my favorite thing I had when I was there.”

The doors just opened to the beer garden at Hayes Valley’s German institution, Suppenküche, which like the restaurant itself offers top Austrian, German, and Belgian beers and a full menu. The big difference is that the beer garden is outdoor only. “It’s completely weather permitting,” says Taylor. “You need to take advantage of it when you have good weather. So tonight would be a total opportunity to do that.”

Outdoor DIY: “A common evening in San Francisco that I’ve found to be really beautiful is to chill a bottle of wine, pack a picnic, and go to the Conservatory of Flowers,” says Taylor. With dungeness crab season just opening, Taylor suggests a spread of crab cakes and a bottle of Chardonnay. “It’s a beautiful day in the park,” he says. “Listen to the drum circle, watch the sunset, and enjoy the city for what it’s worth.”

What are your favorite outdoor bars and eateries in SF? Tell us in the comments section!

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  • beth

    also…. SOMA food cart park is a fun way to eat outside on a smaller budget….with a variety of great food!

    • Rebecca Jean

      We love SOMA food cart park! Good call!