Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

Bar / Brasserie
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar Consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in town by both local and national publications, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar features an acclaimed menu of craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and of course the namesake hallucinogenic... San Francisco United States 37.776995 -122.422885
3.88 13
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - Bar | Brasserie in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in town by both local and national publications, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar features an acclaimed menu of craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and of course the namesake... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    BART: Civic Center
    MUNI F Line: Market Street & Gough Street

  • Phone:

    415-551-1590

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Tu–Th 11:30am–midnight, F 11:30am–2am, Sa 11am–2am, Su 11am–10pm
    Bar menu available 3pm–midnight daily
    Restaurant menu available until 10pm Tu–Th, Su and 11pm F–Sa

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Absinthe Brasserie & Bar Review

The Scene

Consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in town by both local and national publications, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar features an acclaimed menu of craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and of course the namesake hallucinogenic...

Consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in town by both local and national publications, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar features an acclaimed menu of craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and of course the namesake hallucinogenic drink.

Situated on a trendy stretch of Hayes Street, the venue benefits from its proximity to the Performing Arts District, with dapper symphony-goers and proper ballet buffs dominating the dinner crowd on performance nights. The front room exudes a traditional French café vibe, with dark red walls, pressed-tin ceilings, and dozens of obscure liquor bottles shimmering on the window shelves.

Hip cocktail connoisseurs belly up to the dark mahogany bar near a sparkling mirrored pole for rounds of Gold Miners (absinthe and figs) and Sacred Hearts (absinthe and pomegranate-infused tequila), pairing their drinks with bar menu items like oyster shooters and cheese plates.

Those looking for a bigger meal head to the café space, where patrons range from casual foodies and nerdy tech workers in jeans and V-necks to society types in Jean Paul Gaultier, most of whom have been wise enough to make reservations. The back dining area, meanwhile, is plush and quiet even on busy weekends, as romantic couples cuddle around linen-topped tables for intricate Mediterranean- and French-inspired meals of potato-crusted char, coq au vin, and heirloom squash.

Cozy yet refined, and creative without being pretentious, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar is undeniably a place of substance – hallucinogenic and otherwise.

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Tip from Adriana:

Arlequin Wine Merchant is just a few doors away at 384 Hayes Street. This premium wine store is owned by the same people behind Absinthe, making it easy to pick up a bottle of that fabulous wine you had at the restaurant .

  • Crowd

    Dapper theater goers, moneyed professionals, hip cocktailers, and neighborhood locals, late 20s to 40s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient European lounge music.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Mediterranean fare with French and Californian influences, including lamb shoulder confit, pork loin, and an absinthe burger. Weekend brunch menu includes omelettes, French toast, and croque monsieur.

  • Prices

    Brunch menu $5–$26, snacks $4–$9, soups and salads $5–$13, raw bar $3.50–$75, cheese plates $9–$38, shareable plates $14–$17, entrées $15–$38. Beer $5–$9, wine $9–$25/glass or $20–$290+/bottle, cocktails $9–$11, brunch cocktails $9–$11.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Smart casual to dressy: suit jackets, designer jeans, collared shirts, cocktail dresses, heels, flats.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Early in the day for a more relaxed scene, or Friday and Saturday nights for a busy and diverse mix of patrons, especially if there’s an event at one of the nearby Performing Arts Center venues. Weekend brunch is also very popular.

  • Close By

    Boxing Room (399 Grove Street) is owned by the same group behind Absinthe, and specializes in southern Creole.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar User Reviews

Average rating:
An Elegant Experience from Another Era
Hannah H. Sep 8, 2013
There are times when one just wants to feel like F. Scott or Ella Fitzgerald, am I right? Absinthe is the place to do just that. That outfit that's begging to be worn, but you previously thought you'd have nowhere to wear it to? Put it on, head to Absinthe, and order yourself a cocktail. This restaurant/bar serves up low lighting, an other-worldly atmosphere, and bold dishes like an entire trout wrapped in bacon. Give yourself time to wander around the surrounding Hayes Valley area before or after your meal; it's a cozy and unique San Francisco neighborhood that deserves a leisurely meander.
Definitely Stop In
Laryn P. Jun 7, 2013
I wouldn't say it's a must bar to go to. During opera season, avoid avoid avoid. Very crowded with a different crowd than what you may be used to. On a normal day or night - not opera or ballet season nights - it's a cool crowd. Like the mix. Love the drinks they make. I haven't eaten there except for a couple appetizers, so I can't say much about the food list. What I did have was great !
If you want to charm your date, bring them here
Kirsty E. Feb 22, 2013
One of the prettiest spaces downtown, Absinthe is also one of the few where the food lives up to the decor. The restaurant serves clever, creative takes on French standards, including well as sumptuous desserts like a lavender creme brulee that I'm still raving about years later. French food in San Francisco is often a disappointment, but not here. The bar and cafe areas are trendy but still cosy and inviting, while the restaurant feels more traditional. Cocktails are heavy on the mildly hallucinogenic spirit the place was named for, and the bar food is simpler than what you'll find in the restaurant but equally delicious. It's a lovely, dark, intimate little place, perfect for a date.
Stellar Drinks and Brunch - à la Franco-Californienne
Lauren W. Feb 21, 2013
Impeccably dressed in Art Nouveau café decor--with a thick menu of libations that would make a Parisian café blush with envy--Absinthe is the perfect bet for impressing out-of-towners who are into three-martini brunches, old world atmosphere and the art of a well-mixed cocktail. While its dinner options are delicious--and the sommelier will skillfully help you navigate the impressive cellar for the right pairing--the stars at Absinthe are brunch and happy hour. The perfect fusion of French and Californian cuisine, the brunch selection spans from the classic Croque Monsieur (or Madame, if you want to add an egg) to salads, breakfast favorites, cheeses and a top-notch hamburger. Add a glass of something cool and/or sparkling, and you have the perfect conversation-conducive weekend afternoon. Très parisien. Of course, the real gems here are the cocktails. While the plethora of listed drinks are original and well-executed, don't miss the off-menu Death in the Afternoon, a Hemingway favorite--champagne with the absinthe of your choice--or Spanish Coffee--a mysterious alchemy of liquor, coffee, whipped cream and a caramelized cinnamon rim that will make the whole bar smell like heaven once they cue the pyrotechnics. For an accompanying bite, try the shoestring frites (served in a paper cone with Dijon mustard, malt vinegar and aioli for dipping) or a mix-and-match cheese plate with paired accompaniments for each selection. Bref: if you're looking for a pre- or post-show cocktail to accompany a night at the symphony or opera, or simply a delicious and well-lubricated weekend brunch, look no further.
Food, Drinks, and Endless Class!
Abigail C. Feb 20, 2013
With its delicious food, signature cocktails, and antique feel, Absinthe Brasserie and Bar is perfect for a classy night out. Their newly finished tables are made from a single chunk of wood, creating a laid back, yet expensive feel and the wait staff is both kind and accommodation friendly. The infinite drink selection is almost overwhelming, but the staff with mix you up the perfect cocktail for you taste.
One of My Favorite Bars!
Katherine J. Jan 6, 2013
Absinthe Bar is one of my favorite places to visit in SF. Even though I have been several times I still have not had dinner there (although I hear it is excellent). I keep going back for the excellent drinks. These people can think up the best and most unique cocktails you will ever have. The bar has a nice atmosphere, dim lights, and the music is not too loud- really the perfect place to go if you actually want to talk to the people you are with.
Fantastic Dinner
Jackie D. Dec 4, 2012
I LOVE Absinthe! This restaurant is stunning and is perfect for romantic evenings/special occasions. I went on my birthday and was treated like royalty. The service is wonderful and they really go above and beyond most restaurants to make sure that you are happy and having a great time. The menu rotates constantly, so I can't recommend specific dishes, but rest assured, everything is fantastic here. Being a French restaurant, there is extra care put into every single dish and it's obvious that the flavors were coaxed out of each ingredient to leave the final ensemble bursting with flavor.
One of my favorite places in the city.
Nick S. Oct 4, 2012
This place has been – and continues to be – one of my favorites in all of San Francisco. I went here for the first time the very first week they opened and have been dozens upon dozens of times since. The champagne cocktails never disappoint and the gazpacho is the best I have tasted outside of Spain…ever! Caesar salad, Coq au Vin, trout canapé, all amazing, and made even better when topped off with Brown Butter Ice Cream. I’m fairly confident they serve that in heaven. If you have ever been to Paris, you will suffer mad flashbacks in here. The atmosphere it authentically Parisian from the lovely bistro area up front to the elegant dining room in back. Don’t go in a rush (that’s just not French!) and make a reservation. You won’t regret it.
The Secret to an Amazing First Date
Jayson M. Aug 29, 2012
So apparently there’s a dining room in back. Despite the fact that I have been here like 20 times I have never been back there. I always sit in the wonderful, French café-styled room up front. The food and cocktails are equally amazing. Traditional French eats, classics, maybe the best Bloody Mary I have ever had, and lots of friendly people who clearly enjoy working there (they should, it’s pricey, the tips must be great). Although I have never had anything bad to eat here, their burger may be the best thing on the menu. Weird, right? But trust me, you aren’t throwing away the night by going with a more American-style treat at this French place. I also recommend the steak tartare, country pate, pork asobuco (no idea how to spell that), and the steak with mashed potatoes. Want to impress a date? This is the place. It’s romantic, great for conversation, and it’s right near the symphony so you can pretend to be cultured why you eat your burger, you stupid American.
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