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5 great wine bars in San Francisco

San Francisco is located near the heart of California’s wine district, just a few hours’ drive to the nearest vineyards. There are plenty of wine bars around, although strangely enough, local varieties tend not to dominate wine lists.

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena has a small tasting room in the lobby of the Westin Hotel – it’s not really a wine bar as such, more a place to sample wines from this vineyard. Chateau Montalena is a legendary vineyard which took on French competitors in a historic test in 1976, dubbed the Judgment of Paris. Bordeaux’s best Cabernet Sauvignon wines were tested blindly against Californian versions from the same grape. The Americans came out on top. If you fancy trying this mythical wine, this is where to go.

Chateau Montelena Winery Tasting Room

335 Powell St

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Fig & Thistle

Fig & Thistle“Home away from home” is a well-worn expression, but at the Fig & Thistle, it really fits. It feels like coming into someone’s house, both in terms of decor and ambience. Busy and friendly, the wine list is small, which makes for a welcome change. If you’re looking for a Californian, Pinot Noir and ­Chardonnay are both good choices.

Fig & Thistle

313 Ivy Street

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Eno Wine Bar

Eno Wine BarThere are many wine bars to choose from, but not all offer a wide variety of California wines. Eno Wine Bar is one of the few exceptions. Here you have a really comprehensive wine list with exciting varieties and incredibly helpful staff. The Pinot Noir from Comptche Ridge Vineyards, was the best Pinot Noir from the US I’ve tried.

Eno Wine Bar

320 Geary Street

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Nopa

Nopa is a superb restaurant with a huge wine list from all corners of the world. The California wines are clearly in the minority on the list, but those they have are outstanding. The food is something else here, too. We ate a fantastic Salad Nicoise, with tuna that melted in the mouth, after a superb gin cocktail with raspberry, red grape and lime. Reservations are recommended, although if you haven’t booked you can grab a seat at a big table at the bar.

Nopa

560 Divisadero

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The King George Hotel

The King George Hotel is right in the center of the city, with streetcar, bus and subway stops just around the corner. The hotel has an English touch and is comfortable in every way.

King George Hotel

334 Powell St

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