561 Geary St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.786783 -122.412519
Neighborhoods: Tenderloin, Northeast
Awesome neighborhood bar – Swig is one of my favorite neighborhood bars. It's clean, friendly, and the drinks are strong! On Fridays and Saturdays, it picks up around 10pm. During the week, it's pretty mellow, but definitely still has a nice crowd. It's actually quite interesting how the ambiance changes from weekday to weekend.
Weekends are full of loud music, dancing, and long lines at the bar (but still not as bad as many other downtown bars).
Weekdays are quite, warm (they have a fireplace) and almost romantic.
Love this place.
Great Union Square Club – Swig generally falls into the "sorta good" category for me. It's usually crowded, hot and sweaty and the drinks are not necessarily all that good of a deal. The thing that takes swig from "sorta good" to "very good" is that it's reliable. You always know what you are going to get when your there. Another plus is NO LINE! Never have I seen a line to get in here, which is a nice change from Slide or Ruby Sky or other bars in the area. Also, Swig gets another star for no cover charge and good music and DJs that usually play your requests without too long of a wait.
Snotty Bartenders – We stopped into this place quickly, but walked out after one drink. The bartender was super snotty and barely offered us another drink. There is nowhere to sit in this place. The chairs at the bar have holes in them and there is no sense of friendly atmosphere.
great owner and drinks – ok - some people think the hood is a bit well not so hot - but I go here often and love the place and people. We had a friend pass away recently and held an Irish Wake in his honor - this place will always be at the top of my list.
great club, greater scotch menu – Swig provides a lot of girls to check out. That is why I can say that this place is great.
Something about travelers that makes for a fun night. Everyone is open to anything that can happen.
Now lets get onto the Scotch menu. This bar is a diamond in the rough. The most extensive scotch collection in the city. I know because I?ve done my research. Ni-hon, a small Scotch bar is a close second and an equally cool bar as well.
I never liked scotch until this bar showed me the possibilities. I really think that if you go there a few times and talk to some of the staff about the liquor, you can get a lot of really cool party conversation from them. Not to mention a cultured scotch pallet.
Get into scotch man, it?s really cool. Seriously. Cooler than wine I think.
Private Spaces – I organized my b-friends birthday at Swig for last Saturday night. We had rented the Loft which is the new private area with a balcony on the second level of the bar. It was a perfect space for our party of 30 because it overlooks the bar and the dance floor. From our perch we were able to keep a close eye on the plastic girls below attempting to move in on our boys. Our country friends were very impressed that only our guests were allowed to go upstairs to the VIP area. It would be great if there was a bar in the Loft but at least we had ordered beer, wine and bottles in advance which kept us going for barely an hour. It did take a while to get served at the main bar later in the evening as the place was rocking. Still, the cocktails were delicious, especially the Calvados Side Car. There was a line for the ladies room, but we had our own restroom in the Loft which worked well for the joint girly visits.
Just the place if you want a fun vibe and you're from out of town – The atmosphere and feel was exactly as I'd hoped, but it was a little less crowded than I expected. Quite a few visiting conference-goers but everyone having fun. Friendly locals gave me some pointers as to what to do in town while visiting. Bar staff a mixed bunch - very friendly girl with a great sense of humour, slightly "too cool for school" head bartender who made me feel like getting me a drink was beneath him. He even scowled slightly at me when I gave him a $2 tip for an $8 drink - hang on, thats 25% isn't it? What did he expect??! I would definitely go again, although probably more fun to go in a group or with a friend than on your own.
Cool Vibe, Stopoff – I come to San Francisco a few times a year, and always make it a point to stop by Swig. It has a cool vibe and I've always had a good time there. Typically it's a good first stop on a night out, because after 10pm or so the place can get crowded. If you get there early and stick around, it'll be a nice social place to grab a few drinks.
For when you can't get into Bourbon & Branch – Fortunately it is only around the corner from the B&B, so when you've failed to get a reservation at the aforementioned saloon, the strong libations at Swig will help you ponder your new strategy. For getting a reservation at the B&B, that is. The bartenders here have the inside scoop on their B&B brothers. If they are not too slammed, and you're not too cheap, they might even drop a text to get you a couple of spots right up at the oak.
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