Party Earth Review With a menu of traditional grub, a tap list stocked with Irish favorites, and a staff that isn’t faking their accents, Kate O’Brien’s is an authentic little clover-kissed sports bar with an atmosphere about as far from... ... read full review
579 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
MUNI F Line: Market Street & 2nd Street
Daily 11am–2am; Sunday hours during NFL season 10am–2am
Downtown / Financial District, San Francisco –
With a menu of traditional grub, a tap list stocked with Irish favorites, and a staff that isn’t faking their accents, Kate O’Brien’s is an authentic little clover-kissed sports bar with an atmosphere about as far from pretentious as San Francisco is from Dublin.
Popular with the Downtown crowd for lunch and after work drinks, the venue is often busiest during the day, with office types digging into shepherd’s pie or a fat burger while they sneak a few Boddingtons and catch a game on the TVs.
Wood paneling and large mirrors grace the walls, while Celtic pride is evident in the Van Morrison posters and portraits of historical Irish figures that are mixed in with a hodgepodge of beer signs and Giants logos.
Much like its cross-cultural décor and menu, the music on the sound system features both traditional Gaelic and distinctly American tunes, though weekend patrons tend to go heavy on the hip-hop.
Notre Dame fans take heart in that the San Francisco Notre Dame Alumni Association has made the bar their go to for games, but any major sporting event – Fighting Irish or not – attracts a big contingent of rowdy fans.
Sitting is nearly impossible come Friday nights, when an exuberant mix of pre-clubbers joins the barhoppers and expat regulars in slamming pints of properly poured Guinness.
There’s no shortage of Irish bars in San Francisco – joints with names like Somebody O’Somethings are ubiquitous – but the diverse crowd that frequents Kate O’Brien’s proves that not all Hibernian hangouts are created equal.
Sports fans, true-blue Irish regulars, young professionals from nearby offices, Notre Dame followers and alums, older barflies, and the pre-club crowd on weekends, mid-20s to 40s.
Mix of traditional Gaelic and American pop and hip-hop on the sound system. TVs tuned to local, major, and international sporting events, as well as all Notre Dame football games.
Mix of Irish and American pub grub, including bangers and mash, corned beef, onion rings, fish and chips, burgers, and shepherd’s pie. Brunch on the weekends, featuring egg and sausage breakfast plates, as well as eggs Benedict. Heated patio. Happy Hour M–F 3–8pm.
Brunch menu $7–$10, appetizers $4.25–$8.25, soups and salads $4.75–$10, sandwiches $8–$11, entrées $10.50–$15.50. Beer $5–$6, cocktails $6–$10, scotch and whiskey $7–$12.
Casual: jeans, t-shirts, jackets, skirts, sports attire, some business and club wear.
Any day for a busy lunch scene, Tuesdays for heavily discounted food specials, Friday nights for a lively and diverse crowd, and Sundays during football season or any major sporting event, especially when Notre Dame is on the field.
The Chieftan Irish Pub & Restaurant (198 5th Street) is another classic Irish sports bar that might be a bit quieter during the day, though all bets are off come the weekend or during big games.