Liquids are key to survival. Some make us healthier while others seem to make us more interesting, beautiful and hilarious. However, as with anything in excess, too much can have negative effects, so imbibe these vetted picks with caution.
A TRUE CLASSIC
Buckeye Roadhouse has been around since, well, since roadhouses were a thing. And a martini tastes best when prepared by a classic bartender (read: clad in vest with tie) in a classic gin joint (read: clad in oak wood paneling). So, once again, we choose Mill Valley’s Buckeye Roadhouse bar for high honors. Score a seat at one of the six red-leather booths, and the taste improves exponentially. buckeyeroadhouse.com
A cocktail doesn’t have to break the bank, and at Smitty’s in Sausalito bar-goers have appreciated their well-priced well drinks for decades. While the prices have gone up just a bit since the opening in 1938, it’s hard to beat the value of a vodka-and-soda here. You can buy two cocktails and “dinner” (beer nuts or chips) with a $20 bill and still have plenty of change for a game of pool and a generous tip. smittysbar.com
In the past decade myriad companies have started making and selling kombucha, and that increase in production shouldn’t come as a big surprise — kombucha has been touted as a magical elixir, with claims asserting that it does everything from reducing gray hair growth to helping prevent cancer. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before Marin got its own subtly effervescent, vinegary panacea, and last year it did, with San Rafael–based Marin Kombucha. The company sets itself apart from competitors by aging the tea in charred oak barrels to enhance the flavor and healing properties of the drink. The kombuchas come in versions like original oak, apple juniper, pinot sage, ginger lemongrass and seasonal varietals like melon rose. All teas are brewed and distributed locally, with a limited capacity of 2,000 gallons per month in order to maintain small batches throughout the fermentation process. marinkombucha.com
Even after a burger, fries, side salad and beer, dessert can look enticing, but you just don’t have room. So sometimes it comes down to sacrifices: nix the beer and opt for a milkshake, or vice versa. But the geniuses at San Anselmo’s Farm Burger have put an end to that debate with a line of adult floats. Consolidate your desire for a buzz and a treat and order a Golden State Cider, complete with a generous dollop of ice cream on top, or move even closer to dessert with a Young’s Chocolate Stout or Wells Banana Bread beer. Sometimes you can have it all. farmburger.net
Enjoy your liquid calories and burn them off at the same time.
TERRAPIN CROSSROADS Bocce, anyone? If the draw of Phil Lesh, a vibrant music venue and an expansive outdoor space aren’t enough to bring you to this San Rafael venue, then perhaps a game of bocce is. terrapincrossroads.net
PELICAN INN Beer, bangers and a round of darts — what more do you need? Not a thing. But a location that’s but a stone’s throw from the Pacific in Muir Beach, well, that’s a bonus. pelicaninn.com
BREAKERS CAFE Cornhole and pool enthusiasts take the games — and their drinking — seriously. So if you love cocktails and competition on a lazy Sunday afternoon, this Stinson Beach classic is for you. stinsonbeachcafe.com
BAR BOCCE Come for a spirited game of bocce ball in Sausalito, but stay for one of the constantly changing selection of craft beers and a delicious meal served up with sweeping views of Richardson Bay. barbocce.com
Sports fans adore Alex and Lisa Stricker’s Flatiron Saloon. But after four years of running this beloved local haunt on San Rafael’s B Street, the husband-and-wife duo upped their game and opened sister restaurant State Room Brewery earlier this year. The new pub right up the street offers patrons close to a dozen beers on tap, all of which are brewed in house. Foodwise, classic pub fare is punched up to fulfill the Strickers’ idea of a farm-to-table gastropub. The classic fry basket, for example, features organic hand-cut potatoes dressed with green garlic, herbs and dry Jack cheese served with a side of housemade harissa hot sauce. Stately indeed. stateroombrewery.com