Articles and lists like these are the epitome of subjective. What criteria is used when selecting the “best”? Is it the selection of drinks available at the bar? Maybe the pricing or the atmosphere? Possibly the innovation or the bartenders? It is probably a combination of all of these factors and more but with different levels of importance placed on each of them. For me, being able to actually have a conversation without yelling is of primary importance. Maybe I am just getting old but I have absolutely no interest in a packed bar with loud thumping music in the foreground – I don’t care how amazing the selection of whisky is. Coming in second are the folks behind the bar that are serving the drinks. While I don’t expect bartenders to geek out on whisky and know every every minor detail, I do expect them to have a working knowledge of the spirit. I am a lot more open to taking a recommendation on what I should try from a bartender that knows what they are talking about. I’m pretty low key and I think it reflects on my choices for preferred whisky bars in SF: Whiskey Thieves, Broken Record and 83 Proof. There are of course many other whisky bars in SF that I haven’t been to – these are simply my favorites for the ones that I have been to. – Chris
What are the qualities/characteristics that you look for in a bar? What are some of your favorite watering holes?