by Patrick Heig - 324 Reviews - 95 List
Unless you count the cheesy "ultra-lounges" we left off this list, 2008 didn't see a lot of splashy openings. This was the year of the re-do, with old classics getting tasteful upgrades, and also the year of the restaurant-bar, where some of the city's best cocktails can now be found. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are our picks for the 10 best new bars and clubs to open this year.
Updated: November 20, 2008
Under new ownership by a crew of super-connected SF natives, 330 now books world famous DJs (DJ AM, Steve Aoki) and MCs (Mos Def, Cool Kids) as well as upcoming indie bands, and is also rocking a new look, and--most importantly--a new crowd.
Formerly a dive/shrine to owls, The Owl Tree's reopened as a swanky after-work bar, but, respecting the previous owner's dying wish--that the bar remain "owl-themed--a giant mosaic of an owl was put outside, and there are a couple of gorgeous hooters behind the bar, too (engraved in the mirror).
The Belgian beer tavern may have opened in the last year, but the building it's in dates back to the 1890's and is filled with old church pews, plus it stocks over 120 kinds of beer, many of them Belgian monk-ales that've been brewed for centuries.
Lunch spot by day, this new FiDi bar/social club from the Vintage 415 team serves Cal-Italian small plates, but the real draw will be the downstairs parlor, where members can store hooch and other goodies in private "liquor lockers."