Cozy Up at These 5 San Francisco Wine Bars

Where to sip and swirl in the City by the Bay.

Settle in and unwind with a glass of your favorite varietal at one of these five excellent wine bars.

 Hidden Vine, San Francisco

Hidden Vine

Hidden Vine is all about comfort, whether you’re lounging in one of the fireplace armchairs or unwinding at the bar. When you fancy a stretch, head outside for a spot of bocce. At any given time, the by-the-glass list boasts 40-50 different choices. 408 Merchant St., San Francisco

General manager Danielle Grissom’s winter warmer: “Definitely go French, either a Châteauneuf-du-Pape or something from Saint-Émilion.”

Quirkiest Wine: “An Italian blend from New Mexico.”

 Union Larder wine bar

Union Larder

This is the place to try some of California’s homegrown best. Union Larder boasts a 150-bottle wine list with 35 different choices by the glass. Then there’s the menu of homemade charcuterie and the friendly cheese sommelier. Look out for the winter winemaker nights and Monday night cheese and wine pairing classes. 1945 Hyde St., San Francisco

Owner Jay esopenko’s winter night tipple: “Vintage grower Champagne!”

Quirkiest Wine: “Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Rosé, 100-percent Pineau d'Aunis. It’s got that classic white pepper on the nose mixed with hints of smoke and grapefruit zest. It’s been a real hit.”

William Cross Wine Merchants & Wine Bar

Don’t let the cash register and bottle racks up front fool you, this wine bar is one the city’s best kept secrets. Saunter toward the back of this locally beloved wine shop to see what flights are on offer. Dec. 3 marks the shop’s 14th annual bubbles tasting. 2253 Polk St., San Francisco

Owner Steven Sherman’s evening beverage: “2006 Cavallotto San Giuseppe Barolo Riserva.”

Quirkiest Wine: “Unsulphured Grenache from Alicante by Rafa Bernabe.”

 Les Clos wine bar, San Francisco

Les Clos

A place where you can get a petit café in the morning and a soupçon de vin in the evening, Les Clos screams Euro. It’s no surprise that the focus is France, specifically Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. They pour more than 40 wines by the glass, plus an impressive list of sherries, beers, vermouths and even some sakes to boot. Not to mention the Franco-centric food menu, which features everything from croque madame to poulet basquaise. 234 Townsend St., San Francisco

Head sommelier Cara Patricia Higgins’ cold night choice: “Côte-Rôtie is the best for chilly nights! These elegant, dense, peppery, meaty Syrahs from the Northern Rhône will kick the chill right out of you.”

Quirkiest Wine: “A rosé Txakoli from Basque Country. This sour-fruited semi-sparkler is an incredible food wine, marrying savory elements with a light fruitiness and mild weight. Very cool, very different.”

 San Francisco's RN74

RN74

RN74’s head sommelier Chad Zeigler describes this Michael Mina wine hub as “a hybrid of your neighborhood wine bar and a fine dining restaurant.” Come here for just a quick glass or stick around to enjoy a leisurely tasting menu with personalized wine pairings. Look for special menus throughout the holiday season. 301 Mission St., San Francisco

Zeigler’s favorite foggy night libation:“Syrah from the Northern Rhône with a touch of age. Something like Jamet, Allemand or Gonon.” 

Quirkiest Wine: “2007 Samuel Tinon Tokaji Szamorodni. It's made from Furmint and Hárslevelűbut aged under flor, so it picks up qualities of vin jaune and amontillados sherry.”