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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in San Francisco Bay Area

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OpenTable
Updated June 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in San Francisco Bay Area? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favourite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!

A photo of The Refuge - San Carlos restaurant
4.9
4.9 (49)
$30 and under
Gastro Pub
San Carlos
About the restaurant
As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Refuge has been thriving in San Carlos since 2008. Let The Refuge be your haven from the ordinary. Make this upscale restaurant and pub your choice for first rate fare and brew today. If you're craving tenaciously-tender, juicy pastrami, authentic cheesesteaks, house-ground burgers, dazzling salads or savory soups, , Refuge is the place to be.

Husband and wife team Matt Levin and Melanie Roth run the show here alongside a gifted, attentive and conscientious team in the front and back of the house. Come for a classic Americana-style menu with a most extensive offering of beer. Choose from 18 different Belgian styles on tap and many more in the bottle.

Casual connoisseurs unite! This place is the real deal. Whether it’s a quick lunch, a raging evening, a private event, take-out or delivery, the REFUGE experience is unlike any other place at any one time.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jun 11, 2024
Early lunch date so minimal noise & maximum service! All food there good but house pastrami salad exceptional. Very large portion so divide between 2 diners-cost effective & just delicious. Nice shaded outdoor seats available.
A photo of Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge restaurant
4.9
4.9 (392)
$30 and under
Cocktail Bar
Alameda
About the restaurant
About
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge is a tropical vacation spot right in the middle of your hometown! Serving award-winning, world famous classic and exotic cocktails along with many original recipes, along with some tasty snacks, Forbidden Island is a retro-oasis in the desert of your busy modern day! Now open indoors (seated capacity only) as well as outdoors in our Tiki Garden/ Patio, 7 days a week.

* Please note that all reservations are limited to 90 minutes for groups of 1-3 and 2 hours for groups of 4-8.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
Does not get much better than this! Atmosphere, great drinks , friendly staff, totally transports you to a far off place! Magical!
A photo of The Vesper restaurant
4.9
4.9 (76)
$30 and under
Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
Campbell
About the restaurant
The Vesper is an American craft cocktail bar focused on artisan cocktails and delicious food. Owners Jim & Angelique Stump also own The Table in Willow Glen and Forthright on W. Campbell Ave. Located in Downtown Campbell, just around the corner from the historic Campbell Water Tower.
Multi level dining room, with seating on the patio and inside. Private events for up to 150 people, and small get togethers cool for walk-ins.
Top review
BrianWvip
Dined on May 27, 2024
We had a great time with family and friends celebrating our daughter’s 22nd birthday. The cocktails are always the best. High quality ingredients and perfectly balanced.
A photo of Alter Ego Cocktail Club restaurant
4.8
4.8 (31)
$50 and over
Lounge
San Jose
About the restaurant
A dimly lit mysterious cocktail lounge tucked behind the curtain of the vinyl bar, Still O.G., boasting a diverse array of delicious and methodically prepared small plates in addition to wildly imaginative and carefully crafted cocktails.

Small plate offerings include dishes such as steak tartare with puffed rice served in a perilla leaf, Spanish octopus al pastor that is confit then fried and served alongside caramelized pineapple puree and pineapple salsa, and the namesake Alter Ego egg.

The diverse cocktail menu features 16 signature cocktails such as the Kyushu Coffee, a blend of Shochu, black coffee and kuromitsu topped with a black sesame foam or the Buster and Babs; a Rum and Brandy based milk punch inspired by the flavors of carrot cake served in a decanter with glassware for 2.

A seated experience with tableside service in an intimate space, reservations and walk-ins both accepted, although reservations are highly recommended.

ID required (21+ & up only)
Top review
MelG
Dined 5 days ago
Upscale service, décor, menu, and drinks! The music always sets a good vibe, and the food is definitely gourmet.
A photo of The Lexington House restaurant
4.7
4.7 (262)
$50 and over
Californian
Los Gatos
About the restaurant
Offering modern American food with global influences. Chef de Cuisine Ethan Carreon and his team create an ever changing menu in tune with the many seasons of the Bay Area. Plates are designed to be shared and experienced by everyone at the table. The Chicken from Fogline Farm is a always a stand-out as well as our vegetarian & seafood dishes. Co-owner Stephen Shelton is the leader of the passionate & authentic service staff on the floor and heads up the well curated cocktail, beer and wine program. Our Patio Dining is a great option for dining or dropping in for a cocktail and a bite around the fire-pit, all offering great views of the hustle & bustle of Downtown Los Gatos. It is well heated & covered for the Winter months (dressing warmly is still recommended). The dining room and bar is a hip, yet sophisticated vibe for date night, a special celebration or just getting together with friends or business colleagues. Whatever the occasion, the vibe is always right at The Lex!

Top review
DavidEvip
Dined on Jun 16, 2024
All around great experience. Bonus: really fun music.
A photo of PINTOH Thai restaurant
4.7
4.7 (21)
$30 and under
Thai
Oakland
About the restaurant
Pintoh - With love, from Thailand.

While the world is full of rush and people seek for fast and convenience, our aim is to provide a relaxing and fun vibes where our friends, family and guests can enjoy their time and appreciate our unique and flavorful Thai food, drinks and cocktails that have locally sourced ingredients and visual delight. We aspire to give our friends & family a dining experience that is as memorable as a quick trip back to Thailand! #pintohoakland
Top review
JenK
Dined on Jun 15, 2024
Great little ‘hole in the wall’ place. Super close to BART, a parking garage, and the FOX theater. Great place to go before a show. Fun, diverse menu. Several dishes could have benefitted from more flavor, but overall we really enjoyed the experience.
A photo of Hercules Draft House & Cantina restaurant
4.7
4.7 (41)
$30 and under
Mexican
Los Gatos
About the restaurant
STEP INTO THE WORLD OF GOOD TIMES AND GREAT EATS AT HERCULES DRAFT HOUSE & CANTINA, LOCATED IN THE HEART OF LOS GATOS, CALIFORNIA. OUR LIVELY BAR AND RESTAURANT IS THE PERFECT DESTINATION FOR FRIENDS AND SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS ALIKE, OFFERING A FUN ATMOSPHERE, DELICIOUS FOOD, AND THE BEST PLACE TO CATCH ALL THE BIGGEST GAMES ON TV. WHETHER YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A NIGHT OUT WITH FRIENDS, A PLACE TO ENJOY A GREAT MEAL, OR A SPOT TO CHEER ON YOUR FAVORITE TEAM, HERCULES DRAFT HOUSE & CANTINA IS THE PLACE TO BE. SO COME ON IN, GRAB A COLD DRINK, SINK INTO A COMFORTABLE SEAT, AND GET READY FOR A TRULY UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE.
Top review
BrendaSvip
Dined 4 days ago
Hercules Draft House is my new go to Mexican restaurant. The decor is super fun, the food is delicious and the cocktails are tasty. I highly recommend you give it a try!
A photo of Chico Marx restaurant
4.7
4.7 (27)
$30 and under
Latin / Spanish
South San Francisco
About the restaurant
For parties larger than 7 guests, please contact the restaurant directly at (650) 731-9146.

To inquire about private parties or buyouts, please visit our website at chicomarxssf.com and click the 'Events' tab.

Full bar with craft cocktail menu, wine, and beer.
Mix of communal tables and intimate seating.
Smart and stylish space suitable for special occasions.
Flexible event spaces for intimate or large affairs.
Two AV-equipped private dining rooms.
Subtle science-inspired décor + fun brain games!
Top review
AmyH
Dined on May 15, 2024
Had a late afternoon lunch. Was empty so quiet. Space is cool and relaxed. Menu is varied with lots of small dishes which we love. Service was friendly and easy. Food was mostly very good - a few dishes needed a little more punch. If we go back I’d ask for some chilis on the side to help elevate some flavors. Presentation was very lovely. Overall positive experience. It’s expensive - reflects the biotech industry surrounding the biotech buildings where it’s housed.
A photo of Show de Carnes Brazilian Steakhouse restaurant
4.6
4.6 (53)
$50 and over
Brazilian Steakhouse
Sausalito
About the restaurant
Bringing the national barbecue of Brazil, where the meat has been raised to the level of art.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 7 days ago
Everything was great , the only problem is that we had a reservation at 7:30, but had to wait 45 minutes to be seated, I also heard someone say they didn’t have a reservation and got seated before us.
A photo of Berevino Italian Pub - Dublin restaurant
4.5
4.5 (56)
$31 to $50
Italian
Dublin
About the restaurant
Berevino "Drinking Wine" restaurant in the heart of Dublin. Our passion is rustic old world Italian cuisine using the most freshest local ingredients. Our wine menu focuses on local & Italian Grapes to compliment our delicious homemade sauces and dishes. Our beautiful interior and courtyard will make you feel like you are in Tuscan village trattoria.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jun 16, 2024
the food was OK and the service was OK. Nothing was bad, just not great either.
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