Happy Birthday to us! In celebration of our 20 year anniversary, each month we’re sharing 20 of our employees favorite things--from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. To kick off St. Patrick’s Day, here are our team’s favorite drinking establishments around the Bay Area in no particular order. Beware, not all of these are the classiest joints, but apparently they get the job done! If we missed any of your favs, add them to the comments at the bottom so we can indulge in our own “research” later tonight. Stay tuned for next month’s Top 20 list to be released on April Fool's Day.
#20 Clayton Club Saloon
6096 Main St., Clayton, CA 94517 | http://www.claytonclubsaloon.com/
This place looks like it was taken out of a scene of Tombstone. Why yes, those are boots hanging from the ceiling. Clayton Club Saloon has an old world charm, great people and inexpensive drinks. What more can you ask for?
#19 The Roundup Saloon
3553 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, CA | https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-roundup-saloon-lafayette-2
We love our saloons, can you tell? The Roundup Saloon might just be the only bar in Lafayette, as far as we're concerned. Cheap drinks and great atmosphere are what we are after here, followed by a little pool and shuffleboard. The Roundup hosts live bands on Thursdays and karaoke on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
#18 Zephyr Bar & Grill
1736 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550 | http://www.zephyrgrill.com
Downtown Livermore is a hidden gem in the Bay Area. First Street is packed with rising stars in food, drink and fun. Zephyr Bar & Grill is definitely a triple threat with great food, huge selection wine list, great happy hour and great social atmosphere. Tip: Try the Potato wrapped Halibut. Yum!
#17 Ernie's Tin Bar
5100 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma, CA 94954 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/ernies-tin-bar-petaluma
Ernie's Tin Bar is quite a trek, but if you are ever in the area or (en route to wine country), Ernie's is where you want to be. Watch for the $1.75 beer sign and the "NO CELLPHONE USE" sign. Be prepared for 20 beers on tap, awesome prices and a good time.
240 Front St, San Francisco, CA 94111 | http://schroederssf.com
Schroeder's is a watering hole that is close to every Skyliner's hearts. New employees of Skyline are initiated through what we now affectionately call "boot camp" (actual Skyliners pictured left). Great snacks offered at Schroeder's to soak up all the beery goodness. Our favorites are the soft pretzel knots and the tots.
#15 California Craft Beer
43377 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/california-craft-beer-fremont
Cali Craft is our idea of beer heaven. They have 16 beers on tap (flights available) and a wide selection of bottled, ice-cold beers. They provide snacks and there is usually a food truck of some kind parked right outside. Otherwise, outside food is allowed, dogs are allowed, fun is allowed. Awesome place.
#14 Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe
12 William Saroyan Pl., San Francisco, CA 94133 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/specs-twelve-adler-museum-cafe-san-francisco-2
Specs' is a time-honored San Francisco bar, tucked away in an alley of North Beach. It's the kind of spot that has served the same regulars since the 50's. The walls and ceilings are decorated with an array of misfit toy as odd and as awesome as the bar itself. Specs' has a rich and wacky history, and if you're lucky, one of the regulars will explain it to you.
#13 Barbarossa Lounge
714 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111 | http://www.barbarossalounge.com
Barbarossa is where the Barbary Coast meets modern luxury. Hand-crafted cocktails are their claim to fame. They offer 12 house cocktails, wine, craft beers and champagne. As a nod to the bar's predecessor, Barbarossa still has access to the Bubble Lounge's champagne library and has named the back room "Bubble Lounge at Barbaossa."
#12 Lazy Dog
19359 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino, CA | lazydogrestaurants.com
Yes, Lazy Dog falls under the chain restaurant category, but we at Skyline are huge animal lovers. Any establishment that offers us beer flights, food and a doggie menu will win us over again and again. Lazy Dog restaurants have been popping up all over the Bay Area with one in Cupertino, Concord and Dublin. Each location is vast in dining space and has a large patio area with fire pits, and lounge seating for you and your fur babies to relax and enjoy.
#11 Golden Gate Taproom
449 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108 | http://ggtaproom.com
Games, booze, food--yes, please. There's no other way to describe GG Taproom except to say that it is an adult playground. Lots of fun games (skee ball, foozball, pinball and more), big TVs, a large beer selection and giant burgers. You can't go wrong, spending a few hours here.
#10 The Homestead
2301 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA 94110 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-homestead-san-francisco
The Homestead is a chill speakeasy with mammary-studded artwork hanging on their walls with a dark and vintage appeal. Come for the drinks, come for the vibe, come because they are pet friendly!
#9 The Bitter End
441 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-bitter-end-san-francisco?start=20
This place kind of pops up out of no where and it's kind of awesome. It's definitely bigger than it seems from the outside. The bar is 2 levels (upper level has pool tables and more seating) and fills up pretty quickly for happy hour (M-F 4PM - 7PM).
#8 ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop
1541 Giammona Dr., Walnut Creek, CA | http://www.beer-shop.org
We're convinced that beer cafes like ØL are going to be the newest craze. This classy beer joint houses shelves upon shelves of craft beers, a wide selection of beers on tap and some small nibbles as well. Customers appreciate the tasting notes on each draft offered and the generous bartenders who let you taste what you want until you find the right beer for you.
#7 Original Gravity Public House
66 S 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113 | http://www.originalgravitypub.com
Beers and brats. It's hard to beat that combo, but add duck fat fries and poutine and you have the makings of a killer beer bar. Original Gravity has 3 main areas: the front entrance bar has a selection of beers on tap and a separate counter displaying their brats; the second bar area has a completely different selection of beers on tap and open seating; the third (and our favorite) area is the outdoor patio where communial seating is encouraged and pets are allowed.
#6 Drake's Dealership
2325 Bradway Auto Row | http://drinkdrakes.com/visit/dealership/
Drake's Dealership is a new establishment with some very old roots. Their San Leandro location was so beloved that an Oakland location was a no brainer. Drake's Dealership is housed in a classic brick building on Oakland’s historic Broadway Auto Row. They have a full- service wood-fired pizza restaurant with 32 beers on tap, and an open-air beer garden featuring fire pits, Adirondack seating and a live music stage. Kid friendly until 9PM and pet friendly, always!
#5 Lion Pub
2062 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94115 | https://www.yelp.com/biz/lion-pub-san-francisco
Lion Pub is a hidden gem that is very well hidden. Tip: the entrance is actually around the corner on California Street. Locals come here for the fresh fruit cocktails and the ambiance. Head's up, this bar is a cash only establishment.
#4 The Old Pro
541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301 | http://www.oldpropa.com
Pull up a stool, order a tower of beer, hop on the mechanical bull and party like tomorrow isn't a work day. The Old Pro is an old favorite of the Palo Alto happy hour crowd. The place is surrounded by TVs and can definitely fill up quickly, especially on a game nights. Nice and greasy, stick to your ribs bar food is offered here and goes quite nicely with a tower or two of beer.
#3 Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub
69 N San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA | http://firehouse1.com
Firehouse Gastropub pairs handcrafted cocktails and fine brews with menu selections from succulent pork belly sliders to house made paté – this is not typical bar food. Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub offers an experience unlike any other bar. It's located in downtown San Jose in San Pedro Square.
#2 The Hidden Vine
408 Merchant Street, San Francisco, CA | www.thehiddenvine.com
Solid little wine bar that's dangerously close to Skyline's San Francisco office. The setting here is dark, stylish and intimate; perfect for dates or catching up with a close friend for some 1 on 1 time. There is also a bocce ball court on the side of the building for additional play.
547 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 | www.tornado.com
Love it or hate it, Toronado can draw an intense reaction from any given San Franciscan. Toronado is a no thrills and no nonsense, beer lover's paradise. They also stock Pliny The Elder on tap, regularly! Beer is all they have here, so don't ask for a cocktail, not even a beer cocktail. Bring cash and bring your beer appetite.