Smuggler's Cove

★★★☆☆

About Smuggler's Cove

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  • Bars & Clubs

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment
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3.0 1
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Me, I'm a bourbon drinker. However, with die-hard tikki friends, Smuggler's Cove was going to have to be a must-go.

Context/the famous wait:
A gaggle (or crew, I dunno. About 8 of us that grew to a dozen) showed up on a Friday between 5 and 515PM. Idea: let's get our cocktails pinned before dinner, then stroll somewhere in Hayes Valley or down Gough. Very nerdy-pre-planning, but we all hate sitting out on the sidewalk -- it's JUST a bar. The place holds 49 people, and they keep to it. We had several friends who were waiting on line for about 30 minutes at 630PM (eventually slipped in at just after 7PM)...

Parking:
It was EASY to find parking. There was no line when I got there a few minutes after 5PM (again on a Friday). Note, there is usually always a line. They really try to limit a crowded bar since the two bartenders can only make so many drinks at a time.

First Blush:
I stepped in -- Decor was amazing. Ambiance was nailed. Yes, they serve sticky rum drinks that kick your ass 10 minutes after you've finished them, but this is no Trader Sam's or dated Trader Vic's. This is SF's Smuggler's Cove, brothah , and the mega 16-ft. anchor hoisted up in the corner tells you so. We headed for the downstairs area.

Service:
Great service, though the sweet chick making drinks did look like she was chugging through her memory of what goes in what drink (outcome: good drinks, regardless). The dude helping her (the barback? nanh) seemed to be there so he could light up the volcano drinks for people -- to be fair, he was probably doing more.

DRINKS:
Skip the Volcano. It is great as an ice-breaker for 4 or 5, but otherwise, try other things. My favorites: Rum Barrel and the Dacquari #1. I'm not a fan of TOOOO sweet a drink, and these hit the spot..

BOTTOM-LINE:
Go. Go. Just go. It's fun, the lighting is cool, downstairs you'll find a pseudo-lagoon with wet walls. The 49-capacity rule is great if you're already inside. Not too crowded -- which is why there is a line out the door after 6PM -- they preserve space. Drink prices are fair given the force of them, and the great flavors. This ain't your Don Ho's tikki bar, friends. It's a helluva lot better.

3
★★★☆☆

Me, I'm a bourbon drinker. However, with die-hard tikki friends, Smuggler's Cove was going to have to be a must-go.

Context/the famous wait:
A gaggle (or crew, I dunno. About 8 of us that grew to a dozen) showed up on a Friday between 5 and 515PM. Idea: let's get our cocktails pinned before dinner, then stroll somewhere in Hayes Valley or down Gough. Very nerdy-pre-planning, but we all hate sitting out on the sidewalk -- it's JUST a bar. The place holds 49 people, and they keep to it. We had several friends who were waiting on line for about 30 minutes at 630PM (eventually slipped in at just after 7PM)...

Parking:
It was EASY to find parking. There was no line when I got there a few minutes after 5PM (again on a Friday). Note, there is usually always a line. They really try to limit a crowded bar since the two bartenders can only make so many drinks at a time.

First Blush:
I stepped in -- Decor was amazing. Ambiance was nailed. Yes, they serve sticky rum drinks that kick your ass 10 minutes after you've finished them, but this is no Trader Sam's or dated Trader Vic's. This is SF's Smuggler's Cove, brothah , and the mega 16-ft. anchor hoisted up in the corner tells you so. We headed for the downstairs area.

Service:
Great service, though the sweet chick making drinks did look like she was chugging through her memory of what goes in what drink (outcome: good drinks, regardless). The dude helping her (the barback? nanh) seemed to be there so he could light up the volcano drinks for people -- to be fair, he was probably doing more.

DRINKS:
Skip the Volcano. It is great as an ice-breaker for 4 or 5, but otherwise, try other things. My favorites: Rum Barrel and the Dacquari #1. I'm not a fan of TOOOO sweet a drink, and these hit the spot..

BOTTOM-LINE:
Go. Go. Just go. It's fun, the lighting is cool, downstairs you'll find a pseudo-lagoon with wet walls. The 49-capacity rule is great if you're already inside. Not too crowded -- which is why there is a line out the door after 6PM -- they preserve space. Drink prices are fair given the force of them, and the great flavors. This ain't your Don Ho's tikki bar, friends. It's a helluva lot better.

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