The Neighborhood Bar You Wish You Had Next Door

It’s an unassuming bar that I’d ordinarily not walk into. On the cool Wednesday night we were there, it was too packed, but come weekends, it’s the place to be.

The décor isn’t fancy, and might appear a bit too divey for some, but this isn’t your typical dive. The bar extends deep into the base, easily accommodating 30-odd people — if you’re lucky enough to grab a spot. The game is always playing on one of the many flat screens, there is free popcorn, and dogs are allowed. (Did I mention there's free popcorn?) Not a sports fan? Grab a pool cue. Or just pull up a stool, as my friends and I did, and catch up over good drinks while eyeing the not-too-bad-looking bartenders.

When frequenting slightly divey bars, if you’re not a beer or vodka on the rocks drinker like myself, you’ve got to master the menu of easy, good cocktails that are hard to screw up. So what does the bubble-drinking, wine-loving person order? Not a Seven on Seven, that's too easy. Something that takes finesse. I’m testing them. A White Russian (a family favorite apparently — thanks, Mom).

It’s the cocktail that changed my bar-frequenting life. Perfectly balanced. Not too sweet, certainly with a kick, and not too creamy. As a New York resident, I’m often out at bars, but never has a bar come close to the impeccable mixed drink I had at Monaghan’s. Surprising? Maybe. But if you’re in San Francisco, and down in the Marina, you’ve got to stop by. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

3243 Pierce Street (at Chestnut St)
San Francisco, CA 94123
$ $