Best of Marin County 2018: Bars and Drinks
If you're looking for a night on the town or a morning pick-me-up, here is our guide to the best bars and drinks in Marin County.
Welcome! This year, once again, while deciding which local attractions most qualify for “Best of the County 2018,” we asked you, the reader, to weigh in online. And you did, casting more than 400 votes in categories like food, drink, and day and nighttime fun. In the following pages writer Calin Van Paris highlights our editors’ picks, also indicating the ones you thought were tops. Did we miss a real standout in the following pages? As always, let us know — we love feedback … and we love Marin.
The best bars in town are defined by their longtime bartenders — here are their recommendations on how to be a good barfly.
MARIN JOE’S RESTAURANT BARTENDER: SAMMY GULBRANDSON, 30 YEARS “First off, if you haven’t been coming for 30 years, you’re kind of a newcomer, but once you come in for a drink, you’re in. Secondly, if I remember what you drink, you’ve made an impression — good or bad.” (Corte Madera).
PIAZZA D’ANGELO BARTENDER: CHRISTOPHER TULLY, 10 YEARS “I work on weekend nights, and it gets very busy during prime time. If you want a nice meal and cocktail, I suggest coming in after 8:30 p.m. Order our Negroni de la Casa or my Millhattan.” (Mill Valley).
SILVER PESO BAR BARTENDER: SEAN O’CALLAGHAN, 2 YEARS “If you want to dive into a watering hole, Peso is your place; you never know who you’re going to meet. We have tons of regulars but we get people from all over. Black Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, is our biggest night of the year, you can expect a line around the corner — mostly Marin alumni.” (Larkspur). 415.924.3448
SMITTY’S BAR BARTENDER (AND HEIR APPARENT): MICHAEL KELLER, 7 YEARS “Come in Thursday nights. It’s a really good mix of locals, regulars and first-timers. It’s a good crowd and a good vibe. And if you’re in on a weekend, order a bloody mary — the mix, Bloody Good, is made by Nancy, one of our bartenders.” (Sausalito).
The Happiest Hour
Drinks, snacks and post work dishing are even tastier (and cheaper) at happy hour. Here are some favorite sips and nibbles.
FRANTOIO Boscaiola Pizza, $8. M–F, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Mill Valley). 415.289.5777
HILLTOP 1892 Truffle Fries, $4. M–S, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Novato).
MARINITAS Beer of the Month, $4. M–F, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (San Anselmo).
PERRY’S ON MAGNOLIA Well cocktails, $5. M–F, 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Larkspur).
Everyone knows the best way to say “good morning” is with a hearty dose of caffeine or something equally energizing. So start your day with the help of the best area beverages.
BAYSIDE CAFE The Hulk (Sausalito).
BOVINE BAKERY Chai (Point Reyes).
EQUATOR COFFEES & TEAS Drip coffee (Mill Valley).
GOOD EARTH NATURAL FOODS Green Tea Chai (Mill Valley, Fairfax).
PHILZ COFFEE Philtered Soul (Corte Madera).
Belly On Up
Marin’s bar dining scene combines food and fun, whether you’re alone or with others. From Madcap’s coveted four chairs to Farley Bar’s leather couches, some bites just taste better at the bar.
Farley Bar (Sausalito).
Madcap (San Anselmo).
Mill Valley Beerworks (Mill Valley).
Marin Brewing Company (Larkspur).
Piatti Mill Valley (Mill Valley).
Pig in a Pickle (Corte Madera).
Sand Dollar Restaurant (Stinson Beach).
Raising The Bar
Bungalow 44’s downtown bar has been drawing locals for more than a decade, but the space recently enjoyed a bit of an overhaul, helmed by General Manager Jason Sims (also the man behind the cocktail menu at Buckeye Roadhouse). Along with a bit more natural light, Bungalow’s renewed bar area also features an expanded program of spirits and cocktails — try the refreshing Lil’ Mizz Fizz, the balanced Well-Rested or the spirit-forward 44 Manhattan for proof. Bungalow 44 (Mill Valley).