TBI’s 5 Best: SF Mocktails to Finish Dry January Strong

by Clara Hogan | The Bold Italic

Mocktails - SF | Photo by kyryll ushakov (Unsplash)
Photo by kyryll ushakov (Unsplash)

Where to find alcohol-free drinks to conclude your month of sobriety

If you’ve been doing Dry January, hi, hello, how are you holding up? Chances are if you haven’t been busy Marie Kondo-ing or Whole30-ing this month, you’ve probably been occupied by this one-month sobriety campaign, which seems to be gaining more momentum each year.

It’s important to note that people participating in Dry January often don’t have a history of alcohol addiction but consider themselves moderate or social drinkers interested in taking a break. After all, there are many proven benefits to going sober: sleeping better, saving money and losing weight, to name a few. However, when we live in a culture in which drinking is often synonymous with anything social, a month without a drink can be downright challenging.

If you’re tired of staying in on weekend nights, here is a list of establishments that serve delicious mocktails to help you get through to February.

1. Pacific Cocktail Haven

Any bar known for having drool-worthy cocktails these days is, luckily, also likely to have delicious mocktails, which is why Pacific Cocktail Haven tops our list. The tiki-inspired establishment is co-run by Kevin Diedrich, a purveyor of the craft-cocktail scene. Here anyone can get their tropical cravings satiated (both the sober and the imbibing). The drinks are often inventive with unusual ingredients, such as sugar snap peas or house-made tzatziki sauce, and their mocktails are no exception. When ordering, just give them a sense of what you like, and let them surprise you.

580 Sutter Street, Union Square | www.pacificcocktailsf.com

2. The Snug

First-time bar owners Jacob Racusin, Zack Schwab, Shane Matthews and Brian Shin are responsible for bringing some life back into the Pacific Heights bar scene. Today, the Snug is a hotspot for both neighborhood residents and all San Franciscans looking for elegant bar food and delicious libations. The cocktails made at the Snug are the ones that make it onto our Instagram feeds. The good news is that some of them can be made just as deliciously without alcohol. For example, the beloved Aloe Vera drink can be ordered as the Virgin Vero and is just as good as the real thing.

2301 Fillmore Street, Pacific Heights | thesnugsf.com

3. Trou Normand

The bartenders at this SOMA watering hole are said to be quite mindful about their mocktails. In other words, you won’t get something that the bartender haphazardly whips together. These non-alcoholic drinks are made with some serious thought and care, and they’re seasonal. The Pomegranate Smash, which includes a mix of lime, mint, seltzer, house-made grenadine and raw honey, is a winner.

140 New Montgomery Street, SOMA | trounormandsf.com

4. Hakkasan

Hakkasan is a bit of an anomaly in San Francisco’s restaurant and bar scene. Unlike what many would describe as “California chic” (which is when an establishment tries to downplay its glam with farm tables and succulents), Hakkasan is not afraid to show off its fancy side. The restaurant is known for its Cantonese specialities but has also has gained fame for its cocktail selection. When it comes to mocktails, these bartenders know how to impress a guest with an alcohol-free version of their signature drink—the Virgin Hakka, which tastes like buttered-popcorn jelly beans. You heard us right.

1 Keary Street, FIDI | www. hakkasan.com/locations/hakkasan-san-francisco/

5. Rich Table

Brunching with friends during Dry January doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you dine at Rich Table in Hayes Valley. On top of delicious food (hello, dried porcini doughnuts), one of the restaurant’s “soft drinks” will be enough to substitute a mimosa—the $6 Douglas fir and lemon-lime cooler is a great alcohol alternative for people craving a sweet drink on a Sunday. And for those who prefer something a little less sweet, the cranberry-orange soft drink should do.

199 Gough Street, Hayes Valley | https://www.richtablesf.com/