Words by Simon Difford on 24-Oct-2014

Address: 398 Hayes Street, (at Gough), San Francisco, California, CA 94102, United States
Tel: +1 415 551 1590
Website: view Absinthe’s website
Door: Make reservation
Style: Restaurant bar
Food: Set menu
Established: 1998


This fine dining restaurant and bar is styled as a French bistro. It has a warm, homely feel and a relaxed atmosphere, with both staff and customers keen to engage in conversation.

The bar interior fits the old-school European vibe with a tiled checkerboard floor, pressed tin ceiling and copper-topped bar counter. Framed absinthe posters hang on the wall, and diners relax in wicker chairs around informal, café tables.

It's not just the atmosphere though that makes this the sort of place you'll be recommending to friends and family. The cocktail list features classic and contemporary drinks, both of which are adeptly mixed by talented bar staff with fresh fruit juice and quality ingredients.

The wine list includes bins from pretty much all the key wine regions in the world, while beers extend to craft ales on draught. The superb French cuisine ranges from oysters to beef tartare and mushroom pie - best enjoy it all from prime position at the copper-topped bar.