(or, Nine Tips from Locals on Where to Eat, Drink and Survive Downtown SF)
As longtime residents of Union Square SF, and with years of local eating and drinking experience, we thought we'd try and provide some truly local insights for everyone coming to town for Super Bowl 50, Feb. 1 - Feb. 7.
You probably won't find the recommendations below on any other single list of things to see and do, as these nine establishments were personally curated by our San Francisco Team who know a thing or two about local joints, hot spots, hangouts, and hidden gems here in The City by The Bay.
1. Sons and Daughters (Food) - 708 Bush St.
"Plain and simple: Sons and Daughters is a high-end, superlative dining experience. Cozy and intimate only begin to describe what you get when you sit down at one of the 28 seats available for dinner. Exclusively serving a seasonal tasting menu, this low key, Michelin-starred beauty sources its food from its own dedicated farm and the surrounding Bay Area. Step away from some of the crowds and experience a real San Francisco treat."
-Ramon Serrano, General Manager, Inn at Union Square and Hotel Griffon
2. Benjamin Cooper (Drink) - 398 Geary St.
"It actually might take you 3 or 4 times walking by the entrance to this hidden gem secretly located in the heart of Union Square to figure out that the non-descript brown door right next to Ruby Skye is actually the entrance. There are no low-bev drink offerings here, and please do not order a vodka-soda, as the bartenders at Benjamin Cooper are some of the best bar tenders around. Grab a seat at the bar, tell your bartender a drink or spirit you regularly enjoy; sit back, relax, and prepare your taste buds for some unique, one-of-a-kind libation creations."
-Candice Cancino, General Manager, King George Hotel
3. Johnny Foley's (Food, Drink, Fun) - 243 O'Farrell St.
"Some people might tell you that Foley's is a tourist trap, but, in a town that so often falls in love with its own highfalutin ways, Jonny Foley's is a down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness great time. One part karaoke bar, mixed with one part Cheers, Foley's consistently offers some of the best singing, dancing, laughing (and singing!) you'll ever have. Don't forget to tip your piano player(s)!!"
-Mark Murphy, Area Dir. of Sales and Marketing, Greystone Hotels San Francisco
"If you don't know who Michael Mina is, I'd suggest you start here and learn a little bit about one of the great restaurateurs of not only California, but the U.S. PABU was ranked as one of the best new restaurants in San Francisco in 2015, so be prepared to have your taste-buds rocked by Japanese-Izakaya inspired greatness. If you’re more into Ramen, I'd suggest checking out PABU's sister spot (another Mina creation), Ramen Bar (located directly next door) for some of the best ramen in the city."
-Dave Rubin, Greystone's VP of Digital Marketing and Public Relations
5. Tunnel Top (Drink) - 601 Bush St.
"A great late night spot in a town sometimes lacking for such, Tunnel Top is a well-known hangout for local bartenders and usually that's everything you need to know about watering holes. With DJs spinning on a fairly regular basis, this two-story dive bar is literally on top of a tunnel, so be sure to double-check your directions!"
-Jessica Pancoast, Vice President, Revenue Management
"As it was in the 80's and 90's with the soda wars of Coke vs. Pepsi, so too is it (although with a much more laid back, California vibe) with the Philz vs. Blue Bottle debate. Whichever you choose, you're going to wind up with an outstanding coffee experience. While Blue Bottle has a national presence and Philz can feel more local, both are tried and true San Francisco originals offering some of the best coffee in the world. Don't plan on quickly hopping in and out like you might at your local Starbucks, this coffee experience is hand-made and requires a little bit more of your time and patience.... something you might need in midst of the Super Bowl hustle and bustle."
-Erin Cabreros, E-Commerce and Marketing Assistant
7. Jones (Drink, Food) - 620 Jones St.
"There just aren't that many outdoor bars in our city that spans 7 by 7 miles, so when a spacious, comfortable establishment on the fringes of Union Square pops up and offers great drinks and even better atmosphere, you just want to shout thanks to the skies above. 620 Jones, or just “Jones" to locals sits above Geary St. and if you sidle up close enough to the edge, you can enjoy a tasty cocktail or beer whilst looking down at the busy streets below."
-Marc Horodas, Vice President Business Development
8. Gump's (Shopping, Respite) - 135 Post St.
"Gump's is a legendary destination for luxury gifts that might just be the perfect place to take a break from the Super Bowl festivities. Just enter on Kearny St. or Maiden Ln. and check in with a knowledgeable, helpful staff member who will assist you in finding something unique and special you can bring home to help ease the FOMO of those back home who were unable to join you on your trip."
-Jennifer Langham, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing
9. Sears Fine Foods (Food, Breakfast) - 439 Powell St.
"When Tony Bennett calls something, "The Best in Town" you know you're on the right track! Wait, you DO know who Tony Bennett is, right? No matter your age or breakfast preferences, this 75+ year old San Francisco institution is worth at least one visit while you’re here in our truly amazing city. How many places do you know of that still have a Blue Plate Special AND a Zagat's rating of 20! Wait, you DO know what a Blue Plate Special is, right....?"
-Eric D. Horodas, President of Greystone Hotels
Based in downtown San Francisco, Greystone Hotels has five Bay Area boutique properties, with two of those right smack in the middle of Union Square (King George Hotel, Inn at Union Square), and a third on the edge of the official Super Bowl City on The Embarcadero (Hotel Griffon).
An independently owned hotel and hospitality management company with 11 West Coast properties in California and Oregon, Greystone Hotels was founded in 1995 by Eric Horodas (President) and Peter Trethewey.