Summer Sippers

Bars where you'll want to sit outside

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We've discovered a handy way to resolve the cognitive dissonance of June in San Francisco, where the desire to drink outdoors and the need to wear wool sweaters intersect all too often. The trick: Drinks good enough to transcend the brisk temperatures.

Bar Why You Should Drink There
Arlequin Wine Merchant

(Hayes Valley)

The courtyard behind this café and wineshop, with its latticed metal tables and fearless sparrows, is our favorite day-drinking spot. Buy a bottle of Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Bianco at retail price ($26), and for $5 more the staff will open it and hand over all the glasses you need.
The Hidden Vine
(Financial District)
Even more hidden than this back-alley wine bar is its bocce court. Protected from the winds by the surrounding buildings, it's nevertheless open to the sky, and free to anyone who makes a reservation. Make your way down the "Old World Whites" section of the by-the-glass list while you play.
Zeitgeist

(Mission)

Zeitgeist still earns its reputation as host to the city's best beer garden. The air is tinged with grill smoke, the beers on tap are interesting (Moonlight's Death & Taxes, Russian River's Damnation), and the benches are crammed with drinkers. Bonus: It's still the place where you're most likely to get into a random conversation you'll chronicle over Facebook.
Jones

(Tenderloin)

A rooftop bar in San Francisco is a rarity–particularly a functioning, attractive space like the deck at Jones. Right now, when the sun sets late and the Tenderloin isn't doused by winter fog, is the best time of year to gather for post-dinner cocktails, along with bar snacks such as meatballs ($7) and panini ($7) actually worth ordering.
Brotzeit Lokal
(Oakland)
Travel mags will never praise the ramshackle charms of the Oakland estuary, but for those of us who love the juxtaposition of warehouses and sailboats, this two-week-old waterfront beer garden feels like a retreat. Order a bratwurst and a pint of the clean, malt-forward Alte Schule ($5), custom-brewed for Brotzeit by Linden Street.
Bar Agricole

(SoMa)

Situated east of the fog belt, shielded from both club-goers and random street noise by high wooden walls, drinking on Bar Ag's outdoor patio feels like taking the luxe approach to dining alfresco. It goes without saying that traditional summer drinks such as the Planter's Punch ($11) and the Bellamy Scotch Sour ($8) are free of clichés and crappy mixers.