Dining

Let 'Em Down Easy

The best bars and restaurants for a breakup
Where to Break Up in SF
Illustration: Libby VanderPloeg

So, it's February. And we all know what that means: lots of talk of Valentine's Day, love, romance, blah, blah, blah. But maybe you're not really feeling the love this year. In fact, maybe you're feeling so out of love that you're trying to work up the nerve to break up with your significant other.

If you are going to carry out the deed in public (hey, it's better than a text), not all breakup restaurants are created equally. Here are our top six picks, so chosen for their just-busy-enough scenes, bracing recovery drinks and food that will make the whole process just a little bit tastier.

For a good bar break: Tosca (at the bar), North Beach
The last thing you want to do for a breakup date is find yourself locked into a seemingly never-ending meal (no, you do not want to do this at Lazy Bear, no matter how hard those reservations are to come by). You want a crowd, and you don't want to come off as the craziest pair in the room. The bar at Tosca is perfectly set up for this: It's dark enough to mask the tears, loud enough to drown out the yelling and when (s)he storms out on you, you're in a perfect spot for a delicious solo dinner (and more than a few drinks). Plus, was there ever a heartbreak that some guanciale meatballs ($15) and a plate of cheesy black pepper gemelli ($16) couldn't cure?

For ample distractions: Yank Sing, SoMa
Dim sum can make for a pretty terrible date: The meal is rushed, the process is hectic and you're constantly being interrupted. Which is exactly why dim sum is perfect for a breakup—this is a meal that will fly by and can be cut off at any point, and your no-nonsense server can be guaranteed to pop in at all the right wrong moments. If you're the dumper, put your card down in advance and prepare to wrap things up after you drop the bomb. If you're the dumpee, order all of the most expensive dim sum delicacies (Yank Sing is no $1 dumpling joint after all) and stick that jerk with the bill.

For old times' sake: Hog Island Oyster Company, Embarcadero
Even the worst breakups have a silver lining. If it wasn't meant to be, it's better that it ended before things got complicated. A more immediate silver lining is breakup sex, which will be even more likely if "the talk" occurs over a couple dozen oysters ($60 to $64). Pair them with strong drinks, get good and mad at each other and head back to your place . . . for old times' sake.

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For a potentially unruly ex: Dear Mom, Mission
Some breakups get really ugly, really fast. So ugly that you may want to pick a location where a few broken glasses, upturned tables and hearty slaps won't seem out of place. Enter this spacious dive bar with an absolutely delicious food menu and a completely necessary supply of strong brown liquor. Get your bar fight out of the way and ease your pain with a burger ($13) and papas fritas ($8).

For post-uncoupling coupling: Dirty Habit, SoMa
We love the anonymity of a good hotel bar, even if it's in our city of residence. Dirty Habit is one such hotel bar, flush with great drinks and food, and rich with implications that bad behavior is kind of a good thing. In that spirit, get your breakup over with, offer to share your chicken wings ($12) with that attractive stranger down the bar and focus on the long breakup recovery ahead. Oh, said attractive stranger is in town for one night only? And happens to be staying in this very hotel? Hello, rebound.

For selfish reasons: State Bird Provisions (in line), Western Addition
Disclaimer: This is probably the coldest breakup idea we've ever had. Put your name on the wait list at State Bird circa 4:30 p.m. Head to the bar across the street, get a drink in then drop the bomb on your now ex-date. Have one or two more drinks. Get on Tinder and find yourself a brand-new State Bird date. Eat fried garlic doughnuts with burrata ($8) with your new friend. Cruel? Yes. Brilliant? You know it. Sorry, we're not sorry.

Tosca Cafe 242 Columbus Ave. San Francisco CA 94133 415-986-9651 Yank Sing 49 Stevenson St. San Francisco CA 94105 415-541-4949 Hog Island Oyster Company 1 Ferry Bdg. San Francisco CA 94111 415-391-7117 Dear Mom 2700 16th St. San Francisco CA 94103 415-644-8445 Dirty Habit 12 4th St. San Francisco CA 94103 415-348-1555 State Bird Provisions 1529 Fillmore St. San Francisco CA 94115 415-795-1272

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