Swig

★★★★☆
  • 561 Geary St

    San Francisco, CA 94102

    Map & Directions
  • 415-931-7292

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment
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★☆☆☆☆

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Swig is one of my favorite neighborhood bars. It's clean, friendly, and the drinks are strong! On Fridays and Saturdays, it picks up around 10pm. During the week, it's pretty mellow, but definitely still has a nice crowd. It's actually quite interesting how the ambiance changes from weekday to weekend.

Weekends are full of loud music, dancing, and long lines at the bar (but still not as bad as many other downtown bars).

Weekdays are quite, warm (they have a fireplace) and almost romantic.

Love this place.

2
★★★★☆

Swig is one of my favorite neighborhood bars. It's clean, friendly, and the drinks are strong! On Fridays and Saturdays, it picks up around 10pm. During the week, it's pretty mellow, but definitely still has a nice crowd. It's actually quite interesting how the ambiance changes from weekday to weekend.

Weekends are full of loud music, dancing, and long lines at the bar (but still not as bad as many other downtown bars).

Weekdays are quite, warm (they have a fireplace) and almost romantic.

Love this place.

Pros: strong drinks, awesome ambiance

Cons: Can get crowded on the weekends

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Swig generally falls into the "sorta good" category for me. It's usually crowded, hot and sweaty and the drinks are not necessarily all that good of a deal. The thing that takes swig from "sorta good" to "very good" is that it's reliable. You always know what you are going to get when your there. Another plus is NO LINE! Never have I seen a line to get in here, which is a nice change from Slide or Ruby Sky or other bars in the area. Also, Swig gets another star for no cover charge and good music and DJs that usually play your requests without too long of a wait.

2
★★★★☆

Swig generally falls into the "sorta good" category for me. It's usually crowded, hot and sweaty and the drinks are not necessarily all that good of a deal. The thing that takes swig from "sorta good" to "very good" is that it's reliable. You always know what you are going to get when your there. Another plus is NO LINE! Never have I seen a line to get in here, which is a nice change from Slide or Ruby Sky or other bars in the area. Also, Swig gets another star for no cover charge and good music and DJs that usually play your requests without too long of a wait.

Pros: No line or cover charge

Cons: Hot and crowded

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Swig is an absolute blast. I love the decor and contemporary furniture and motif. There are tons of different drink combinations and concoctions to choose from. One of the coolest bars in the city!

5
★★★★★

Swig is an absolute blast. I love the decor and contemporary furniture and motif. There are tons of different drink combinations and concoctions to choose from. One of the coolest bars in the city!

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We stopped into this place quickly, but walked out after one drink. The bartender was super snotty and barely offered us another drink. There is nowhere to sit in this place. The chairs at the bar have holes in them and there is no sense of friendly atmosphere.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We stopped into this place quickly, but walked out after one drink. The bartender was super snotty and barely offered us another drink. There is nowhere to sit in this place. The chairs at the bar have holes in them and there is no sense of friendly atmosphere.

Pros: Close to Union Square

Cons: Neighborhood, Bartenders, No where to sit

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ok - some people think the hood is a bit well not so hot - but I go here often and love the place and people. We had a friend pass away recently and held an Irish Wake in his honor - this place will always be at the top of my list.

2
★★★★★

ok - some people think the hood is a bit well not so hot - but I go here often and love the place and people. We had a friend pass away recently and held an Irish Wake in his honor - this place will always be at the top of my list.

Pros: warm fireplace and staff

Cons: hood

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Swig provides a lot of girls to check out. That is why I can say that this place is great.
Something about travelers that makes for a fun night. Everyone is open to anything that can happen.
Now lets get onto the Scotch menu. This bar is a diamond in the rough. The most extensive scotch collection in the city. I know because I?ve done my research. Ni-hon, a small Scotch bar is a close second and an equally cool bar as well.
I never liked scotch until this bar showed me the possibilities. I really think that if you go there a few times and talk to some of the staff about the liquor, you can get a lot of really cool party conversation from them. Not to mention a cultured scotch pallet.
Get into scotch man, it?s really cool. Seriously. Cooler than wine I think.

2
★★★★★

Swig provides a lot of girls to check out. That is why I can say that this place is great.
Something about travelers that makes for a fun night. Everyone is open to anything that can happen.
Now lets get onto the Scotch menu. This bar is a diamond in the rough. The most extensive scotch collection in the city. I know because I?ve done my research. Ni-hon, a small Scotch bar is a close second and an equally cool bar as well.
I never liked scotch until this bar showed me the possibilities. I really think that if you go there a few times and talk to some of the staff about the liquor, you can get a lot of really cool party conversation from them. Not to mention a cultured scotch pallet.
Get into scotch man, it?s really cool. Seriously. Cooler than wine I think.

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I organized my b-friends birthday at Swig for last Saturday night. We had rented the Loft which is the new private area with a balcony on the second level of the bar. It was a perfect space for our party of 30 because it overlooks the bar and the dance floor. From our perch we were able to keep a close eye on the plastic girls below attempting to move in on our boys. Our country friends were very impressed that only our guests were allowed to go upstairs to the VIP area. It would be great if there was a bar in the Loft but at least we had ordered beer, wine and bottles in advance which kept us going for barely an hour. It did take a while to get served at the main bar later in the evening as the place was rocking. Still, the cocktails were delicious, especially the Calvados Side Car. There was a line for the ladies room, but we had our own restroom in the Loft which worked well for the joint girly visits.

2
★★★★★

I organized my b-friends birthday at Swig for last Saturday night. We had rented the Loft which is the new private area with a balcony on the second level of the bar. It was a perfect space for our party of 30 because it overlooks the bar and the dance floor. From our perch we were able to keep a close eye on the plastic girls below attempting to move in on our boys. Our country friends were very impressed that only our guests were allowed to go upstairs to the VIP area. It would be great if there was a bar in the Loft but at least we had ordered beer, wine and bottles in advance which kept us going for barely an hour. It did take a while to get served at the main bar later in the evening as the place was rocking. Still, the cocktails were delicious, especially the Calvados Side Car. There was a line for the ladies room, but we had our own restroom in the Loft which worked well for the joint girly visits.

Pros: Private event rooms on the second level - great for parties.

Cons: lines for the ladies rooms at times.

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The atmosphere and feel was exactly as I'd hoped, but it was a little less crowded than I expected. Quite a few visiting conference-goers but everyone having fun. Friendly locals gave me some pointers as to what to do in town while visiting. Bar staff a mixed bunch - very friendly girl with a great sense of humour, slightly "too cool for school" head bartender who made me feel like getting me a drink was beneath him. He even scowled slightly at me when I gave him a $2 tip for an $8 drink - hang on, thats 25% isn't it? What did he expect??! I would definitely go again, although probably more fun to go in a group or with a friend than on your own.

2
★★★★☆

The atmosphere and feel was exactly as I'd hoped, but it was a little less crowded than I expected. Quite a few visiting conference-goers but everyone having fun. Friendly locals gave me some pointers as to what to do in town while visiting. Bar staff a mixed bunch - very friendly girl with a great sense of humour, slightly "too cool for school" head bartender who made me feel like getting me a drink was beneath him. He even scowled slightly at me when I gave him a $2 tip for an $8 drink - hang on, thats 25% isn't it? What did he expect??! I would definitely go again, although probably more fun to go in a group or with a friend than on your own.

Pros: Cool place to go, great music

Cons: Slightly intimidating if you're alone and not from around town

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I come to San Francisco a few times a year, and always make it a point to stop by Swig. It has a cool vibe and I've always had a good time there. Typically it's a good first stop on a night out, because after 10pm or so the place can get crowded. If you get there early and stick around, it'll be a nice social place to grab a few drinks.

1
★★★☆☆

I come to San Francisco a few times a year, and always make it a point to stop by Swig. It has a cool vibe and I've always had a good time there. Typically it's a good first stop on a night out, because after 10pm or so the place can get crowded. If you get there early and stick around, it'll be a nice social place to grab a few drinks.

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Fortunately it is only around the corner from the B&B, so when you've failed to get a reservation at the aforementioned saloon, the strong libations at Swig will help you ponder your new strategy. For getting a reservation at the B&B, that is. The bartenders here have the inside scoop on their B&B brothers. If they are not too slammed, and you're not too cheap, they might even drop a text to get you a couple of spots right up at the oak.

2
★★★★★

Fortunately it is only around the corner from the B&B, so when you've failed to get a reservation at the aforementioned saloon, the strong libations at Swig will help you ponder your new strategy. For getting a reservation at the B&B, that is. The bartenders here have the inside scoop on their B&B brothers. If they are not too slammed, and you're not too cheap, they might even drop a text to get you a couple of spots right up at the oak.

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my girlfriend and i arrived around 7 on a friday night and there was enough room to sit at the bar. the bartender was friendly and offered great suggestions about what to order. we had a nice time catching up and enjoyed a little people watching. once it started to get crowded we headed out. the dim lighting and exposed brick offer a lowkey relaxed environment to chat it up with the girls.

1
★★★☆☆

my girlfriend and i arrived around 7 on a friday night and there was enough room to sit at the bar. the bartender was friendly and offered great suggestions about what to order. we had a nice time catching up and enjoyed a little people watching. once it started to get crowded we headed out. the dim lighting and exposed brick offer a lowkey relaxed environment to chat it up with the girls.

Pros: staff, ambience

Cons: gets crowded

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The less-than-friendly staff at this bar serve like they drink more than the customers; which is reflected in every aspect of the venuea renovated dive bar, with watered down drinks and warm, flat beer. Terrible bartenders and terribly overpriced drinks.

Ive been there when the staff just decides to close early, other times they stop the music early, becausetheyve had enough? Im still waiting for a DJ without a FU attitude, who will take a request.

Ed Ivey holds a Blues Jam on Sunday nights that quickly degenerates into a bunch of drunks performing third rate versions of simple blues songs that any amateur band could learn to play better in one session. The Sunday night drunks, and out-of-towners--also too drunk to care--get up and dance anyway, but for the most part, the performances are an embarrassment.

All this place needs is a pool table and a few bikers to raise its charm to 2 stars out of 10.

A bar, so poorly managed, is going to have trouble sooner or later, and who wants to be there when that happens? Patrons deserve better, and there are far better establishments to enjoy your time.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The less-than-friendly staff at this bar serve like they drink more than the customers; which is reflected in every aspect of the venuea renovated dive bar, with watered down drinks and warm, flat beer. Terrible bartenders and terribly overpriced drinks.

Ive been there when the staff just decides to close early, other times they stop the music early, becausetheyve had enough? Im still waiting for a DJ without a FU attitude, who will take a request.

Ed Ivey holds a Blues Jam on Sunday nights that quickly degenerates into a bunch of drunks performing third rate versions of simple blues songs that any amateur band could learn to play better in one session. The Sunday night drunks, and out-of-towners--also too drunk to care--get up and dance anyway, but for the most part, the performances are an embarrassment.

All this place needs is a pool table and a few bikers to raise its charm to 2 stars out of 10.

A bar, so poorly managed, is going to have trouble sooner or later, and who wants to be there when that happens? Patrons deserve better, and there are far better establishments to enjoy your time.

Pros: Located downtown

Cons: just about everything

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My fiance and I were staying at the Hotel Bijou for the evening to celebrate his 28th bday for a night in the city. We had idea where to go and just wandered around and came across this awesome little bar! We saw a bunch of people milling around and could see the live band through the window so we checked it out. I'm SO glad we did! We ended up having a great time! The music was very energetic and jamming, the vibe was really cool, and the bartenders were fantastic! The great little blonde behind the bar even hooked up my fiance's mojito when I told her it was his bday and she topped it off BIG time! We had a nice buzz all the way back to the hotel!! This is now a new place to add to our list whenever we are in the city for an evening! I'm glad we had no place to go!!!

2
★★★★★

My fiance and I were staying at the Hotel Bijou for the evening to celebrate his 28th bday for a night in the city. We had idea where to go and just wandered around and came across this awesome little bar! We saw a bunch of people milling around and could see the live band through the window so we checked it out. I'm SO glad we did! We ended up having a great time! The music was very energetic and jamming, the vibe was really cool, and the bartenders were fantastic! The great little blonde behind the bar even hooked up my fiance's mojito when I told her it was his bday and she topped it off BIG time! We had a nice buzz all the way back to the hotel!! This is now a new place to add to our list whenever we are in the city for an evening! I'm glad we had no place to go!!!

Pros: vibe, music, no cover charge

Cons: small

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I went to Swig on a recommendation. My girlfriend and I arrived around 10ish sat night. The place was slowly filling up; we got two seats right at the bar. The place is small but open plan so it does not feel like you are being crushed. The highlight would be the friendly and eager bartenders. The downfall would be the DJ. The entire time this guy was on he had a face like a sour lemon. He could not have been more miserable. My attempt to request a song was interrupted by a "no". Apparently no requests allowed. Which is too bad as the music was rubbish. The crowd was very lively however and full of good vibes - so that in addition to the great bartenders would cause me to go back and even recommend this place.

1
★★★☆☆

I went to Swig on a recommendation. My girlfriend and I arrived around 10ish sat night. The place was slowly filling up; we got two seats right at the bar. The place is small but open plan so it does not feel like you are being crushed. The highlight would be the friendly and eager bartenders. The downfall would be the DJ. The entire time this guy was on he had a face like a sour lemon. He could not have been more miserable. My attempt to request a song was interrupted by a "no". Apparently no requests allowed. Which is too bad as the music was rubbish. The crowd was very lively however and full of good vibes - so that in addition to the great bartenders would cause me to go back and even recommend this place.

Pros: Good bartenders

Cons: Bad DJ

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My decent experience at Swig went south fast when the owner decided to pick up everyone's drinks without announcing last call. I had half of my drink left when he suddenly started flipping on the lights in the place, and came over to my end of the bar and literally picked my drink up off the bar and poured it out right in front of me (and even laughed about it).

This amateur doesn't even know how to do a last call. So maybe one of his customers who happens upon this review can point him to this site, so he can learn a little bit about bar ownership. First, when you have cute chicks behind the bar serving alcohol and a PA system with a DJ cranking out music, you don't flip lights on to alert people for last call. You let the bartender tell everyone, or you ask the DJ to announce it to everyone. But even the light thing is okay, as long as you give people at least 10 minutes to finish their drinks before picking them up. I had about 30 seconds to finish my drink before he came over and poured it out.

So whatever, he's an idiot, and I won't be going back that's for sure. Despite that incident, I still had a decent time there, even though the place looks like a prison (which probably isn't a good thing if you're a heterosexual in San Fran).

If he could learn how to own and operate a bar, I would consider going back.

1
★★☆☆☆

My decent experience at Swig went south fast when the owner decided to pick up everyone's drinks without announcing last call. I had half of my drink left when he suddenly started flipping on the lights in the place, and came over to my end of the bar and literally picked my drink up off the bar and poured it out right in front of me (and even laughed about it).

This amateur doesn't even know how to do a last call. So maybe one of his customers who happens upon this review can point him to this site, so he can learn a little bit about bar ownership. First, when you have cute chicks behind the bar serving alcohol and a PA system with a DJ cranking out music, you don't flip lights on to alert people for last call. You let the bartender tell everyone, or you ask the DJ to announce it to everyone. But even the light thing is okay, as long as you give people at least 10 minutes to finish their drinks before picking them up. I had about 30 seconds to finish my drink before he came over and poured it out.

So whatever, he's an idiot, and I won't be going back that's for sure. Despite that incident, I still had a decent time there, even though the place looks like a prison (which probably isn't a good thing if you're a heterosexual in San Fran).

If he could learn how to own and operate a bar, I would consider going back.

Pros: Chicks working behind the bar, plenty of people

Cons: Owner needs Bar Ownership for Dumbies

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If you like to lounge with your drink, this isn't the place to go. It's a big space that gets packed full of people on weekends, too packed. And there's very minimal seating. It's hard to push your way to the bar or to the bathrooms. If you like to make like a sardine, then this is the place for you. If you want a chill evening to drink and chat with friends, find a place with more space and seating.

1
★★★☆☆

If you like to lounge with your drink, this isn't the place to go. It's a big space that gets packed full of people on weekends, too packed. And there's very minimal seating. It's hard to push your way to the bar or to the bathrooms. If you like to make like a sardine, then this is the place for you. If you want a chill evening to drink and chat with friends, find a place with more space and seating.

Pros: nice decor, pleasant crowd

Cons: little seating, overcrowded

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I attended a friends' private party at Swig Bar in May 2006. She had the private room upstairs and downstairs. The staff was helpful in setting up appetizers and pre-bought beer and wine. The appetizers were display nicely in both rooms. I highly recommend having a private party here. Music was OK.

2
★★★★★

I attended a friends' private party at Swig Bar in May 2006. She had the private room upstairs and downstairs. The staff was helpful in setting up appetizers and pre-bought beer and wine. The appetizers were display nicely in both rooms. I highly recommend having a private party here. Music was OK.

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We stopped by on our way to see a show and sat in the window with a Mojito, watching all the umbrellas walk by. This was the best Mojito I ever had...not overwhelmingly sugar like most. The fireplace is inviting. The space is modern. My only complaint is that the women's bathroom is sparce. They should have a table, chair or hook in there to put your purse. And, a touch of style would be nice to go along with the bar itself. I know, I know...it is more of a female thing! Overall - enjoyed the friendly service, nice atmosphere, music. It was early, about 4pm when we were there, the crowd was a mix of all ages.

2
★★★★★

We stopped by on our way to see a show and sat in the window with a Mojito, watching all the umbrellas walk by. This was the best Mojito I ever had...not overwhelmingly sugar like most. The fireplace is inviting. The space is modern. My only complaint is that the women's bathroom is sparce. They should have a table, chair or hook in there to put your purse. And, a touch of style would be nice to go along with the bar itself. I know, I know...it is more of a female thing! Overall - enjoyed the friendly service, nice atmosphere, music. It was early, about 4pm when we were there, the crowd was a mix of all ages.

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A pleasent suprise. I hadn't met anyone after moving here from British Columbia. The bartenders here are really friendly and so was most of the crowd. A lot of energy yet not overbearing or clausterphobic. Not to many sleezebag guys, maybe a couple meatheads. Looked like some were college guys from out of town. Kind of sultry on sunday or monday. nice to be single because I have to admit- that one bartender was really sexy, you know the one... or you will know if you go* Make sure you try at least one signature cocktail- yummmmmmm like that bartender

2
★★★★☆

A pleasent suprise. I hadn't met anyone after moving here from British Columbia. The bartenders here are really friendly and so was most of the crowd. A lot of energy yet not overbearing or clausterphobic. Not to many sleezebag guys, maybe a couple meatheads. Looked like some were college guys from out of town. Kind of sultry on sunday or monday. nice to be single because I have to admit- that one bartender was really sexy, you know the one... or you will know if you go* Make sure you try at least one signature cocktail- yummmmmmm like that bartender

Pros: singles, sex appeal, private rooms

Cons: college jocks, top 40's, Budwieser!

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I had a private party in their "penthouse" room...it was nice to look out on the busy scene below upstairs & it made for a great breakroom when my party posse was dancing their "boo-tays" off...the bartenders were great, quick; drinks were great, too...

We all had a great time & I'd come again & again...I like how big the bar & didn't feel claustraphobic besides the crowd - the crowd was a good one, too if you're into people watching...

2
★★★★★

I had a private party in their "penthouse" room...it was nice to look out on the busy scene below upstairs & it made for a great breakroom when my party posse was dancing their "boo-tays" off...the bartenders were great, quick; drinks were great, too...

We all had a great time & I'd come again & again...I like how big the bar & didn't feel claustraphobic besides the crowd - the crowd was a good one, too if you're into people watching...

Pros: scene, crowd, bar

Cons: none

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This actually would be a cool place to hang out if it wasn't for the watered down booze. The setting is cool and the size of the place is not overbearing. But the bottomline is that watering down booze is just lame. Its insulting to the patrons and its plainly a dishonest way of doing business. I've actually been here twice so its not my imagination. I like Grey Goose. So if I'm willing to pay more for a premium brand, I should at least get the real thing. I had to switch to beer since they didn't water the tap.

So sad.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This actually would be a cool place to hang out if it wasn't for the watered down booze. The setting is cool and the size of the place is not overbearing. But the bottomline is that watering down booze is just lame. Its insulting to the patrons and its plainly a dishonest way of doing business. I've actually been here twice so its not my imagination. I like Grey Goose. So if I'm willing to pay more for a premium brand, I should at least get the real thing. I had to switch to beer since they didn't water the tap.

So sad.

Pros: Music, Setting, Size

Cons: Watered Booze, Watered Booze, Watered Booze

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This place is grand, very palatial and it is whithin the reach of bar hoppers. Great tunes and the accoustics are phenomenal. Fireplace, smoking rooms and great drinks.
It gets busy but this I rather be here when it is busy than when is not. Love the handblown lamps.

2
★★★★★

This place is grand, very palatial and it is whithin the reach of bar hoppers. Great tunes and the accoustics are phenomenal. Fireplace, smoking rooms and great drinks.
It gets busy but this I rather be here when it is busy than when is not. Love the handblown lamps.

Pros: smoking room, fireplace, great drinks

 

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