Explore Rye Whiskey—and the City of San Francisco—on the Old Potrero Rye Trail
Looking for a great bar in San Francisco? The Old Potrero Rye Trail is the whiskey lover’s easy answer to the age-old question of “Where should we go for a drink?”
San Francisco plays host to one of the West’s most vibrant bar scenes, boasting a range of venues, from upscale speakeasies to cozy corner dives, all offering exceptional cocktails with a unique take on the city’s eclectic culture. The sheer range and number of quality drinking establishments can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re faced with the ever-present question of where to get a drink and what to order. Complicating matters—in a very good way!—is the craft cocktail revolution, which has added hundreds of new concoctions to the cocktail canon. Such is the exquisite challenge of being a quality cocktail seeker in a great cocktail city.
Fortunately the good people at San Francisco-based Old Potrero Whiskey have made it a whole lot easier to find a great whiskey drink in a great locale with the recent launch of the Old Potrero Rye Trail™, an impressive mixological map of the city that features dozens of iconic bars serving upgraded classic cocktails and new creations made with Old Potrero Rye. If you’re a fan of Old Potrero, we commend you on your good taste. If you’re not yet, you owe yourself a taste of this small batch rye produced from American rye mash in a small traditional pot still in San Francisco. Over the years it has garnered numerous accolades, including a recent 90 points in Whiskey Advocate and a Platinum Award from the Beverage Testing Institute. Aged for at least six years in American charred-oak barrels, the resulting whiskey is smooth and rich, with notes of cinnamon, cherry, and, yes, Red Hots. It’s ideal for sipping neat, on the rocks, or in any number of cocktails. And the Old Potrero Rye Trail™ is the perfect place to get a taste. Below you’ll be able to find a bar or restaurant in every corner of San Francisco serving Old Potrero in specialty cocktails to suit your taste.
For those hoping to double down on iconic beverage experiences, Old Potrero is also offering a chance to win weekly prizes for ride-sharing credits, Old Potrero swag, and for one lucky winner, two tickets to the Platinum Experience at BottleRock Napa Valley, valued at $8,400. To learn more about how to participate, visit ryetrail.oldpotrero.com.
And now it’s time for a drink! The Old Potrero Rye Trail™ features over thirty restaurants and bars and counting, but here are eight amazing bars from Dogpatch to the Mission to the Embarcadero and beyond that will easily satisfy drinkers of any taste. Pull up a stool, order a drink made with Old Potrero Rye, and toast your good fortune for living in the golden era of the cocktail in the West.
Come for the Drinks, Stay for the Jerky
The Bar: Third Rail
Located in the sunny neighborhood of Dogpatch (right by Potrero Hill!), Third Rail is known for its warm vibes and extensive jerky collection. Yes, the dehydrated snack is something of an obsession of the owners (both of them restaurant veterans) and they offer house-made jerky in a number of flavors, ranging from the sriracha, featuring grass-fed smoked beef, sriracha powder, and garlic; to the vegan mushroom, made with shiitakes, tamari, sake, and garlic.
The Drink: Old Potrero Queen Sun
This drink is a perfect strong and sweet counterpoint to your next-level jerky. Made with Old Potrero Rye Whiskey, Manzanilla sherry, and Amaro Montenegro, you’ve got a drink that’s bracing, uplifting, and a perfect match to the warm and welcoming surroundings.
The Neighborhood Bar Meets Nola
The Bar: Dogpatch Saloon
Established in 1912, the Dogpatch Saloon has been around for well over a century, so it’s fitting that this historic bar would make one of the best renditions of Prohibition-era cocktails. The bar has been updated for modern times, but the nod to history still stands at this friendly neighborhood establishment known for their take on the classics.
The Drink: Old Potrero Sazerac
The Dogpatch Sazerac intertwines Old Potrero Rye Whiskey with the timeless, herbaceous flavor of absinthe and a touch of Peychaud’s Bitters, nodding to the bar’s storied history.
For Sassy Seafaring Vibes
The Bar: The Sea Star
This woman-owned bar has become a community hub, and for good reason. Complete with a juke box and live music on Tuesday nights, the bar is also dog-friendly, a huge win in a city like S.F. where pooches are just as much a member of the family as anyone else.
The Drink: Old Potrero Central Line
The Central Line cocktail combines Old Potrero Rye Whiskey with Matsui Umeshu (a Japanese salted plum), Rubino Vermouth, and a whisper of aromatic eucalyptus, taking your palate on a journey through the city’s rich international flavors.
A Drink with a View
The Bar: Waterfront Restaurant
California real estate comes at a premium, and the views at the Waterfront really prove it’s all about location, location, location. Sitting right on the Embarcadero, this former longshoreman’s bar is now a top culinary destination with excellent food and drink.
The Drink: Old Potrero Manhattan
The Waterfront Manhattan blends Old Potrero Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica, and a dash of orange bitters to create a drink as iconic as the city’s skyline. Enjoy your cocktail alongside an Italian American classic invented right here in the Wharf—cioppino. The Waterfront version nods to its own nautical history, and is made with sustainably raised Dungeness crab, clams, mussels, whitefish, and prawns, and served in a garlicky, tomato broth.
Set Sail, Simply
The Bar: Old Ship Saloon
One of the oldest bars in San Francisco, the Old Ship Saloon was originally constructed in 1851 from the wooden wreckage of The Arkansas, a three-mast vessel sailing in the San Francisco Bay that ran aground on Alcatraz Island. The historic landmark still rocks till this day serving excellent bar food and cocktails.
The Drink: Rock N’ Rye/Old Potrero on the Rock
Embrace the maritime charm of San Francisco at the Old Ship Saloon with the Rock N’ Rye, a tribute to history featuring Old Potrero Rye Whiskey and a large rock, perhaps a nod to the rock that The Arkansas snagged en route to the city.
Belly up to History
The Bar: Elixir
Elixir lays claim to being the second-oldest continuously operating saloon in SF, running since 1858, and boasts an incredibly impressive selection of whiskey, inarguably one of the best in the city. There are over 350 bottles to choose from, including its crown jewel, Old Potrero Rye.
The Drink: Old Potrero Yerba Buena Sling
Elixir’s Yerba Buena Sling intertwines the Old Potrero Rye Whiskey with Cherry Heering and exotic accents like pineapple and lime, mirroring the diverse and vibrant neighborhoods that define San Francisco’s eclectic charm.
Sip in Style
The Bar: High Horse
We’re as much of a fan of the dive bar as the next, but sometimes you just want to get gussied up for a night on the town, and the High Horse is just the place to do it. Located in the historic Jackson Square neighborhood across from one of San Francisco’s most iconic buildings, the Transamerica Pyramid, it oozes refinement with its tufted booths and opulent chandeliers.
The Drink: Old Potrero Manhattan
If you’re a fan of a Negroni, you’ll adore its whiskey-fueled sister, the Boulevardier. This drink is made with Old Potrero Rye Whiskey, Grand Classico, and sweet vermouth, and exudes a refined confidence that mirrors the city’s trendsetting attitude—and the interior of the High Horse itself.
Keep It Classic
The Bar: The House of Shields
Opened in 1908, The House of Shields has been called the place “where time stands still.” It has never had a clock on premises, and in keeping with tradition, it still doesn’t. Unwind with an iconic classic cocktail at this one-time Prohibition-era speakeasy, which is rumored to have a secret passageway where patrons of the Palace Hotel could sneak across the street for a forbidden tipple.
The Drinks: Old Potrero Old Pal and Old Potrero Old Fashioned
A classic space like the House of Shields is befitting a pair of classic cocktails, the Old Fashioned and the Old Pal. The latter pays homage to San Francisco’s Old-World heritage, featuring Old Potrero Rye Whiskey, Campari, and dry vermouth, bringing together classic flavors that have withstood the test of time.