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Tosca San Francisco

Amazing Cafe and Bar


Is Tosca the Classiest Bar in North Beach? Serving up drinks since 1917, surviving through Prohibition, WWII, and the Great Depression, Tosca is truly a San Francisco institution that should be cherished by both tourists and locals. Its classy, old school atmosphere will make you feel like youíve traveled back in time to the days of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. On any given night their house specialóa yummy, steaming cappuccino with brandyóare lined up in glasses waiting to be freshly steamed by the two industrial strength espresso machines that bookend the bar.

Tosca San Francisco

You can feel the history just by glancing at the battered piano, the smoke-tainted ceilings and listening to the voice of Pasty Cline crooning with sad nostalgia on the jukebox. Perhaps this is why Tosca is rumored to be a favorite hangout of Sean Penn and Bonoís. Itís a place where you can be cool without trying. The bar is also unique because it is a welcoming place to hang out and have conversation, not a place to be seen and to strut around with too much perfume like at most modern bars. Itís also rare to find a bar equipped with high quality espresso machines. The spacious and comfy red booths and tables in the back evoke the 50ís diner style and make it an inviting place not just for a cocktail but perhaps a coffee or espresso.


North Beach may not have a an actual beach, but you will find tons of street cafes, Italian restaurants, and Tosca, a bar where expert bartenders serve up some excellent concoctions. One of their creations is the French 75 made with gin, lemon juice, fresh berries, and topped with sparkling wine. Another one to try is the tasty gin martini made with fresh berries and a splash of chartreuse or the strawberry mint mojito. The drinks are strong, but time seems to slow down at Tosca, so itís easy to spend several hours and pace yourself with a few rounds.

A nice evening in North Beach starts off with an evening meal at one of the many Italian restaurants, then a stop at City Lights to browse the collection at the famous bookshop, and then to Tosca for a nightcap, which youíll find on Broadway between Jack Kerouac and Pacific.

Toscaís historical quality keeps North Beach authentic among its rash of nightclubs and strip joints that have permeated Broadway. If out youíre club hopping and need a break from the scene, this is a perfect place for a respite and if youíre meandering down the street after a nice Italian meal, itís a pleasant spot for a nightcap. Also known for being a nightly hangout for Italian gangsters, you may feel like youíre in a movie. In fact, a scene from Basic Instinct was filmed here and perhaps in one of these red booths, someoneís fate was also decided over cigars and strong drinks.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 5pm-2pm

242 Columbus Ave San Francisco, CA (415) 986-9651

By: Jesse Whitman, Copyright SFTRAVEL LLC


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