Smuggler's Cove

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Smuggler's Cove More than 200 bottles of rum at SF's Smuggler's Cove, a pirate-themed San Francisco treat. Come to Party Earth for details on this great San Francisco bar. San Francisco United States 37.779433 -122.423379
4.4 11
Smuggler's Cove - Bar | Rum Bar in San Francisco.
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Party Earth Review Yo-ho-ho and holy crap, there’s a lot of bottles of rum at Smuggler’s Cove! More than two hundred rums and seventy-plus rum-infused cocktails to be exact, from slow-sipping varieties to flower-laden frou... ... read full review

  • Metro:

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

  • Phone:


  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Daily 5pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Smuggler's Cove Review

The Scene

More than 200 bottles of rum at SF's Smuggler's Cove, a pirate-themed San Francisco treat. Come to Party Earth for details on this great San Francisco bar.

Yo-ho-ho and holy crap, there’s a lot of bottles of rum at Smuggler’s Cove! More than two hundred rums and seventy-plus rum-infused cocktails to be exact, from slow-sipping varieties to flower-laden frou-frou drinks strong enough to take down a thoroughbred.

Dubbed one of the world’s best bars by Drinks International in 2011, this über popular drinking den could easily pass for a Pirates of the Caribbean set, with heavy wooden beams wrapped in thick ropes, scattered oak barrels and treasure chests, and a general excess of buccaneer’s booty strewn about.

Patrons – limited to just forty-nine at any given time – are a far cry from gritty swashbucklers, with older professionals sharing tables with rowdy college kids, boisterous groups of girls pounding flaming punches next to die-hard rum snobs, and plenty of folks drinking the custom-made beer, wine, and other non-rum libations.

The pervasive nautical theme continues in the second bar downstairs, while a mezzanine overlooking the main floor goes the tiki route, with bamboo stalks, wicker, and dried grass lining the walls. Busy every day, long lines are all but guaranteed on Friday and Saturday nights, so groups of friends looking to drink together are wise to show up at the same time.

An excellent place to drop anchor any night, Smuggler’s Cove is a kitsch-filled hotspot where patrons can safely go a little overboard.

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Tip from Emma:

You can’t go wrong with what’s on the menu, but if you have a big group, ask for The Kilauea – it’s a special ‘secret’ community drink. With a full fifth of rum, it’s no wonder Smuggler’s says this thing can serve 10 people. Of course, for $100, it better!

  • Crowd

    Rum lovers, party-happy college kids, young professionals letting loose, lower key couples grabbing a drink before the crunch, and pre-and post-concert attendees from the nearby Performing Art Center venues, 20s to 50s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Eclectic but barely audible playlist. Occasional live bands.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food. The Rumbustion Society Club is free to join and allows patrons to work their way through all the venue’s rum to become “Masters of the Cove.” Happy Hour daily 5–6pm.

  • Prices

    Beer $4–$7+, wine $6–$9+, cocktails $8–$16+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to business casual: band T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, baseball caps, shorts, Hawaiian shirts, collared shirts, summer dresses, some dressier wear on the theater crowd.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights for potential 30-plus minute wait times but a bumping scene once inside, or earlier in the week to shiver the timbers with a few too many drinks but less of a crowd.

  • Close By

    Swap pirates for knights at Edinburgh Castle (950 Geary Street), which offers tons of Scottish-themed décor, pool, live bands and comedy acts, and great daily Happy Hour specials.

Smuggler's Cove User Reviews

Average rating:
This dark door in SF leads to a vibrant pirate bar!
Julie G. Jun 7, 2013
Just like a buried treasure, you might miss Smugglers Cove all together if you aren't looking for it. The outside is dark and easy to miss. After you open it's doors, you have entered a colorful atmosphere that reminds you of the Pirates of The Caribbean ride at Disney Land. (if the ride was accompanied by lots of booze, of course). Festive lights adorn the room giving it a tropical glow. The lagoon and waterfall also add festive finishing touches to this pirate hang out. The menu has a lot to offer, but isn't overwhelming. You will be sure to find a rum drink that tickles your fancy, as well as tequila and whiskey drinks for the nights you pass on rum. There are many large punch bowls to choose from and some even light on fire! I haven't tried any of these yet, but it is a spectacle to see from across the room or the table next to you. This bar has three layers, but definitely gets packed. I suggest arriving a little early if you had a large group or just want a seat at all. This place is great for dates, hang outs and talking like a pirate all night long!
If You Don't Like The Drinks, At Least Go For The Atmosphere
Christopher M. May 23, 2013
It was a friend's bachelor party, and following the advice of a mixologist in the know, we plugged an address into the phone and made our way to Gough Street. We must have passed the entrance three times before realizing we were there. The non-descript front of the building gave nothing away, and it took a rare customer departure for us to find the right door. Going inside was like walking through a dimensional veil, crossing from one of America's most teeming metropolises into the cargo hold of a pirate ship bound for Jamaica. The seemingly infinite variety of rum and the nets and maps covering the walls helped to make for a cozy atmosphere despite the surprisingly large size of the multi-level bar, and this, perhaps, is the one of the unsung achievements of Martin Cate's masterpiece. My party and I, we love rum drinks and we imbibed in more than a couple, from single servings of Fog Cutters, Zombies and a variety of other tiki drinks, to a communal flaming beverage called a Scorpion that came in a skull-shaped bowl. However, you don't have to love rum to love Smuggler's Cove. You don't even have to like alcohol at all; the atmosphere is unique and enjoyable enough in and of itself to just sit in a corner and relax, if that's more your preference. Of course, it helps to enjoy, if not love rum. Afterall, Cate's background as a rum connoisseur has built Smuggler's Cove into the titan that it currently is in the spectrum of world-class bars. Go there, kick back and drink a Zombie. Or just act like a zombie and eat up the decor, because there are few things like it that are as easily accessible without being annoyingly garish.
Best Zombies Ever, And It Has a Waterfall!
Doug L. May 17, 2013
Smugglers Cove is SF's best hidden secret. If you love tropical Tiki drinks that pack a good punch this bar is for you. The decorations are spectacular. Once you step inside you feel like you've entered pirates of the Caribbean. They have select Rums that are delicious. Smugglers Cove is repeatedly rated in the top 5 of best 50 bars IN THE WORLD. The owners definitely know what they are doing. Although the joint is considered pricey you definitely get your moneys worth, especially if you order the Zombie, its deliciously wicked. This place is a relaxed atmosphere to chat and slowly enjoy every bit of your drink, you will savor every sip. The bartenders are really friendly, knowledgable and always eager to share their love for their drinks. They are the top mixologists of Tiki drinks. If your looking for something fun and out of the ordinary, have a divinity for excellent drinks, then cruise into the Cove for some of the Best Drinks of Your Life.
Drunken Sailors Welcome
Alison S. Apr 30, 2013
Part theme-park, part booze-fest this hidden jewel of SF is a rum-lovers pirate fantasy come true. Claiming a collection of over 400 different rare rums and 70 cocktails, the drink menu at Smugglers Cove can be intimidating. Avoid the novel-sized menu and just tell one of the expert mixologists what you're in the mood for. Truth be told I usually hate rum, but this place does it right- from the classic hot buttered rum, to theatrical pyrotechnics. And if that doesn't entice, they do carry alternate options including gin, tequila and beer. But make sure to get here early- their maximum capacity is only 49 and after 9 pm there's usually a line at the door.
Their Rums Arrrrr the City's Best
nathaniel j. Apr 22, 2013
Ahoy! Smuggler's Cove is a treasure of great rum recipes to sample inside a casual, laid-back environment. If you are intrigued about the wide bounty of the many different rum spices, infusions and distillations, drop anchor at this kitschy tiki hot spot in Hayes Valley and choose from over 200 international varieties. Try their wonderful array of rum-inspired specialty cocktails. It's a fun atmosphere for happy hour, right in the heart of the City. But, if you don't like rum, Smuggler's Cove is not your place: You best walk the plank, matey!
Searching for gold in SF? Here's a hidden Gem!
Raphael F. Mar 24, 2013
From entry to exit you will find yourself having a great time in this speak easy style island adventure bar. With three tiers of seating and two full bars, exploring the ins and outs will bring you back to days of treasure hunting in your basement or attic. The decor will remind you of a Peter Pan Disney experience and the cocktails can really pack an island PUNCH! As far as finding the place, from the street view it can be very deceiving. With no open windows or demarcations that a bar exists, behind a wall of black glass windows lays your buried treasure The doorman does a great job of keeping the crowds inside to a comfort level unlike other bars where you may be packed like sardines that can not reach the bar to get a drink. The drinks here are amazing! With hundreds of rums to choose, from all over the world, the bartenders add their own tropical passion and speed of service that compliment the flavor of your choice drink. Poured into oversized bubble glasses, the ice maintains its cool, keeping your drink cold and allowing the ice to stay ice, never watering down your tasty treat. One or two drinks at Smugglers Cove should send you off into the fairyland you often day dream of. Not wanting your experience to end, you will undoubtedly recount the bliss you felt while inside.
Fun, cozy, and piratey!
Rachel G. Aug 4, 2012
One of my favorite bars out there! I am not the biggest fan of rum, more of a whiskey gal, but this place has some authentic prohibition drinks to share! This place is great for birthday's as the Volcano is so much fun to drink, it's a fire to start with.
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