Style :: Food/Drink

SF Night Bites

by Ronn Vigh
Saturday Nov 26, 2011
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About halfway through an evening of San Francisco clubbing and bar-hopping, the need for two things often emerges: a trip to the ATM and food. While many bars do tend to dress a dimly lit corner with a money machine, finding food in a club environment isn’t so easy. While stopping to provide your body with more substantial fare might sound less fun than nourishing it with repeated rounds of beers and shots, I’ve explored establishments that offer the best of both worlds, all in one place.

A neon sign, an entrance to a long, descending staircase and, during business hours, a flood of mostly skinny jeans-clad twentysomethings flooding the Market Street sidewalk for a smoke are Café Du Nord’s most identifiable features. Besides the long bar and nightly bands, the quaint underground pub boasts a dining menu for those who want to partake in dinner and a show. From Personal Pizzas to Pot Roast to Porcini Mushroom Ravioli, Café Du Nord has a variety of options for both meat lovers and vegetarians, and serves dinner 30 minutes after doors open. (2170 Market St. 861-5016. www.cafedunord.com)

Café Du Nord isn’t the only live music venue that boasts a full dinner menu. Slim’s, the sturdy, American-roots music mainstay on 11th Street, regularly offers a bar food-heavy selection, including Bacon-Cheddar Potato Skins, Quesadillas and Veggie Corn Dogs. They also serve more complete dinner choices that vary from night to night, and include salad, seasonal vegetables, a starch and dessert. (333 11th st. 255-0333. www.slims-sf.com)

Just down the street from Slim’s, DNA Lounge feeds hungry bar patrons even when the bar is closed-the attached DNA Pizza is open 24 hours. The choices go far beyond pizza, from sandwiches and salads to a full coffee bar. There are plenty of choices for pizza by the "splice," as they say, with a special offering each day. The night I stopped by, the "splice of the day" was the Cheeseburger, whose official (laminated!) ingredient card lists cheddar, provolone, ground beef, bacon, red onion... and more bacon! Splice it any way you want it, there’s something for everyone here, no matter what time it is. (371 11th St. 626-0166. www.DNApizza.com)

A neon sign, an entrance to a long, descending staircase and, during business hours, a flood of mostly skinny jeans-clad twentysomethings flooding the Market Street sidewalk for a smoke are Café Du Nord’s most identifiable features.

Over in the Tenderloin, it’s not uncommon to hear its denizens singing off-key renditions of show tunes to make a quick buck or two-but knowing there’s a full menu at The Great American Music Hall is music to my ears. On weekends, restaurants can entail lengthy waits that you just can’t afford when rushing to eat before a show-but The Great American Music Hall offers dining options to all patrons, with items such as "The After-School Special," a combo of Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup; Pulled Pork Sandwiches; and Music Hall Tri-Colored Nachos. There is also a separate dinner menu, available to dinner ticket-holders only. (859 O’Farrell St. 885-0750. www.gamh.com)

One of my newest discoveries is a venue that’s not new at all. The stylish yet informal Olive on Larkin Street is a comfortable, narrow lounge with an eager, friendly staff, serving a full menu of cocktails and nibbles. My favorite type of establishment is one where you can feel free to just order drinks, but throw in an appetizer here or there if you feel peckish, not having to worry about overstaying your welcome. With several high-top tables for friends to share, and ample bar seating for nights out alone, the menu ranges from thin-crust pizzas to specialties such as Spicy Ahi Tuna, Baked Brie and Monte Cristo Sandwiches. (743 Larkin St. 776-9814. www.olive-sf.com

Harvey’s, proudly perched on the bustling corner of 18th and Castro streets, is also known for its hearty offerings of food and booze. From Chamtinis- a flavored champagne cocktail- to the popular, extensive list of Bloody Marys, those looking to brunch, lunch or have a casual dinner can do so peacefully, while people-watching out of the large windows on two sides of the rectangular room. Harvey’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, a favorite from the past, recently returned to the menu and has pleased this reporter’s stomach on numerous occasions. You can also choose from a variety of burgers with custom toppings, like The Cowgirl, which consists of basil, roasted garlic and peppers, jack cheese and pesto mayo. (500 Castro St.431-4278. www.harveyssf.com)

Just outside of the Castro, Rebel, a predominantly gay bar on Market Street, also offers an evening of booze, beats, dancing and a barbecue-heavy menu served by Sneaky’s BBQ. At first glance, with motorcycle helmets and several stripper poles meeting the eye upon entrance, it could be hard to believe that they even serve food, let alone standout barbecue. With BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork and Mac and Cheese as some of the options, your stomach will feel happy and full, and even better-you don’t have to wander far to dance off the calories! (1760 Market St.431-4202. http://twitter.com/#!/rebel_sf)

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