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Daily from 5pm
Opened in 2009
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Decor at Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco
May 2010, photo by Humuhumu
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Smuggler's Cove was opened in December 2009 by Martin Cate, a renowned rum expert and longtime tikiphile who was one of the founders of Forbidden Island in Alameda. Smuggler's Cove specializes in all varieties of rum and rum drinks, with a particular emphasis on historic and exotic cocktails. Cate has attracted some of the top bartender talent in the talent-rich city of San Francisco. Smuggler's Cove regularly appears on the lists of the best bars in the world. It has proven incredibly popular: if you go on a weekend, be prepared to possibly wait in a line for entry.
The decor is a blend of nautical and tiki. The dimly-lit bar spans three floors: the main and lower levels each have their own bars, and an upper half-level is a tiki hut that overlooks the main floor. There is a waterfall between the main floor and the lower floor, with a small pool at the bottom. The construction was led by Ignacio "Notch" Gonzalez, of San Jose's Top Notch Kustoms.
The offerings can be overwhelming in scope: over 300 rums, and more than 75 cocktails. If you're intent on trying as many as possible, consider entering the Rumbustion Society; those who complete the list are rewarded for their efforts.
How to find it:
The bar is low-profile from the outside, with no significant signage. The exterior is a simple flat wall of non-window glass. At night, look for port and starboard (red and green) lights on the building's front.
Parking is often available on neighboring streets, but the bar's location near San Francisco's opera, ballet, symphony and concert center means it can be tough to find a spot some evenings. Cabs are plentiful in the neighborhood, and the location is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station.