Tonic

Bar / Lounge
Tonic Tucked along a stretch of Polk Street lined with rowdy drinking dens, Tonic is a stylish little lounge that hosts a relaxed after-work crowd yet still caters to the routine barhopping crunch. San Francisco United States 37.798563 -122.422284
3.67 6
Tonic - Bar | Lounge in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Tucked along a stretch of Polk Street lined with rowdy drinking dens, Tonic is a stylish little lounge that hosts a relaxed after-work crowd yet still caters to the routine barhopping crunch. A strong base of regulars... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    Daily 5pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Tonic Review

The Scene

Tucked along a stretch of Polk Street lined with rowdy drinking dens, Tonic is a stylish little lounge that hosts a relaxed after-work crowd yet still caters to the routine barhopping crunch.

Tucked along a stretch of Polk Street lined with rowdy drinking dens, Tonic is a stylish little lounge that hosts a relaxed after-work crowd yet still caters to the routine barhopping crunch.

A strong base of regulars – from young hipsters in their vintage best to older local property owners – populates the dimly lit den daily, so it’s not unusual to see the venue’s plush couches occupied by a socioeconomically diverse mix of patrons.

Behind the bar, mirrors graced with the names of house specialties like the Sapphire Basil Gimlet pull double duty as flirty guests use them for a bit of sly voyeurism from the safety of their bar stools. The drink specials may not change often but the décor does, with a rotation of local art adding interest and featuring everything from a Speedo-clad Gary Coleman to a Storm Trooper shooting a rainbow.

Thursday evenings see the first hints of change at the venue, as popped collars and khakis make their initial appearance, foreshadowing the flood of young Marina prepsters who make Polk their weekend home.

Regardless of the night, seasoned visitors scour the bar’s Facebook page before heading out, in search of the secret password that will grant them access to free gummy bears – perfect for both satiating a sweet tooth and pegging someone from across the room.

A combination of mellow neighborhood lounge and stirred up weekend meat market, Tonic is the perfect mix for everyone.

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Tip from Lucas:

Tonic and nearby sibling Bullitt offer free limo service on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm to 1am. Just call or text 415-830-7679, and they’ll pick you up from anywhere in SF and drop you off at the bar. It’s only one way, so you gotta find your own way home, but it’s free. Just be sure to tip the driver if you ever want to get picked up again!

  • Crowd

    Hipsters, creative and artsy types, young professionals, older business people, preppy post-grads, rowdy frat types, and erstwhile yuppies, 20s to late 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    DJs perform Saturday nights, with styles ranging from hip-hop to 80s hits. Bartender’s playlist other nights. Muted TVs tuned to classic movies, music videos, and Giants games.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food, but patrons are welcome to bring in their own.

  • Prices

    Beer $3–$5, wine $8–$11, shots and cocktails $6–$11.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to trendy: jeans, white t-shirts, sweater vests, designer labels, collared shirts, satin tops, heels.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Early in the week to avoid the Marina scene, or Thursdays through Saturdays to get frat-tastic.

  • Close By

    Bullitt (2209 Polk Street), under the same ownership, features a similar diverse vibe throughout the week, with the added plus of bar food and bottomless mimosas.

Tonic User Reviews

Average rating:
Meh
Gor G. Jun 8, 2013
I used to live in the neighbourhood and have been to this bar dozens of times. My friend used to bar tend there as well. Went by there last week and the place was empty except for the bar tenders and a few of their friends. Surprising because this place used to be popular. The bar tender was busy hanging out with her friends and drinking. I don't mind either as I have friends in the industry and get the job. But you need to pay attention to your patrons and sober enough to serve them properly (it was almost impossible to get a drink). When I was settling my bill I let the bar tender know this and that I would be giving a lower tip. She started yelling at me and generally acting like a drunk so I decided not to tip at all. Never gotten treated that way before. Looked at my CC bill a few days later that she went ahead and gave herself a 21% tip anyway. Resolved it with my credit card company, but that is fraud. Hopefully someone that manages that places reads this and addresses it properly.
Would you like to experience San Francisco as a real local and go where everybody knows your name? If the answer is yes, Tonic is your place.
Alexandria H. Feb 11, 2013
Polk street in Russian Hill epitomizes San Francisco in every way. The crowds are mixes of all different areas, ranging from Marina all the way to Mission hipsters. Tonic has a special way of bringing everyone together. The dark lighting and small open space lead to a feeling of complete freedom to get as weird as possible. Tonic boasts a delicious menu of specialty drinks including fresh squeezed greyhounds. If you are a local you cannot go into Tonic without knowing another patron or the someone bar tending or both. Tonic offers something for everyone, challenging Trivia on Wednesday nights, two for one drinks every single night during happy hour, and an always packed house on the weekends. If Tonic isn't your home base for a bar, it should be.
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