After a night luxuriating in performance by the top-tier San Francisco Opera, Symphony or Ballet, no destination summarizes the high-brow evening quite like Absinthe, located only a stone’s throw away from the city’s world-class cultural institutions. Both creative and classy, this South-of-France brassiere harkens back to the Belle Époque, with sumptuous decor that includes copper-topped tables, mohair banquettes, antique mirrors, mosaic checkerboard tile floor and period art that features original Absinthe posters. This bar is, in a word, gorgeous. While the brasserie does serve full meals, the lounge area is ideal to slip out of your fancy shoes while noshing on fine eats and sipping mixological-art cocktails.
Along with superb bar food, like sustainably harvested Point Reyes oysters or grilled-fig & Gorgonzola flat-bread, nurse several splendid cocktails for which Absinthe is renown. The Ginger Rogers is a gin, artisanal ginger ale, fresh mint, homemade ginger syrup and lemon juice affair that will make your heart soar, while the Galapagos is a Kaffir-lime leaf muddled in pepper syrup with grapefruit juice and brandied cherries is reminiscent of the Bacchanalian glamor from 1920s Europe. Sidewalk tables available outside for smokers.