Smuggler's Cove

650 Gough St.
San Francisco, California, United States
Ph: (415) 869-1900 - Website
Have something to add?
Update Critiki's Info
Daily from 5pm
Opened in 2009
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Tonga Room, San Francisco 1.1 mi
1.8 km
Hawaii West, San Francisco 1.5 mi
2.5 km
Bamboo Hut, San Francisco 1.6 mi
2.6 km
de Young Museum, San Francisco 2.6 mi
4.1 km
Trad'r Sam, San Francisco 3.4 mi
5.4 km
The main bar at Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco
September 2015, photo by Humuhumu
Have a photo or a collectible from Smuggler's Cove?
Add it to Critiki!
Humuhumu’s description:
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 500 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.
There are 12 comments.
RSS feed:
September 11, 2010, 8:13 AM
After one Zombie I was not afraid of dying.
edfrederick has visited Smuggler's Cove.

August 17, 2011, 8:51 PM
I love this place, I can't wait to go back and properly sample the rum collection, but unfortunately I live in Canada. OneDay...

November 18, 2011, 7:59 PM
Loved Smuggler's Cove. It was kind of like Disney's pirate ride, but it didn't feel "fake" like al that Disney stuff does. I only wish I could have stayed longer.
Right_D has visited Smuggler's Cove.

November 27, 2011, 10:31 PM
Don't recall seeing too many tiki's in there but they definitely got the vibe down. I really liked the waterfall and the pool at the bottom of the staircase. The atmosphere is great, although it is popular so it was really crowded. My "crew" and I sampled 3 drinks, and all agreed that they were excellently concocted. Smuggler's goes the extra distance with fresh ingredients and it shows. The menu is decidely large and has coctails from all around the world. I tried the Smuggler's Cove Rum Barrel Punch so I could get their barrel mug and it was great. I really hope they have more mugs in the future.
PackmanWSU01 has visited Smuggler's Cove.

March 13, 2012, 10:22 PM
This is hands down my favorite bar in San Francisco. I've had maybe 1/3 of the menu thus far and I've NEVER had a bad drink. Everything they make is fantastic! Plus the bartenders are very knowledgable and love to talk about rum and the drink or anything else. Every time I leave I can't wait to go back!
Zombie Mike is a regular at Smuggler's Cove.

March 30, 2012, 12:47 PM
Bartender Dane is an absolute his autograph! Can't wait to go back when we're in the bay.....
eurekatiki has visited Smuggler's Cove.

May 4, 2012, 1:08 AM
this place is amazing. the only complaint is that it is very small and you might have to wait in line to get in. totally worth a wait though.
exquisitecorpse has visited Smuggler's Cove.

June 13, 2012, 3:50 PM
Was there on a Monday night for an Apple developer-related party, but very much looking forward to going back when the place is a little less crowded. Amazing drinks (the Puca Punch was especially good) and great service (even though the drink queue got a bit long at times), and the decor was really top-notch. Only second to the Mai-Kai, of the places I've been to so far.
bobtiki is a semi-regular at Smuggler's Cove.

July 23, 2012, 5:34 PM
Cant say enough about Smuggler's Cove.Love the people the vibe the drinks and the decor is Top Notch amazing!Great place Martin,thanx for making me feel like Im at home here every time Im there and Notch you are the raddest artist!The decor rocks!I will keep returning over and over again.
MONDOMOAI is a semi-regular at Smuggler's Cove.

September 27, 2012, 5:15 PM
I have to say this is pretty close to one of the best drinking experiences l have ever had...everything about this place works for me. If l didn't live on the other side of the Planet (Australia) l would be there every night. One piece of advise, make sure you get there at opening (5pm) not a second later. It's a small joint.
Careless Navigator has visited Smuggler's Cove.

February 18, 2013, 10:40 AM
Being that I have not been to SF in a very long time, as in Smuggler's did not exsist yet. So I just went for the first time and this was one of the best bar experiences I ever had. Drinks are incredible and decor and ambience are incredible. Cant wait to go back. Mahalo Martin for this true gem. :)
forgotten tikiman has visited Smuggler's Cove.

February 24, 2013, 9:37 PM
Much ado about not much. This is a rum bar pretending its a tiki bar. Minimal swag, indifferent service which is mostly focused on, Youre not worthy of our bartending expertise, second-rate attire all wrapped up in a smoked-glass modernist box. The ONLY thing special about the place is its custom blend of El Dorado. Everything else is just hype. Trader Vics and Forbidden Island treat this place like Lord Nelson did the French & Spanish fleets during the Battle of Trafalgar. Whomever voted this place the tops sure dont know much about good tiki bars or tiki drinks. Strictly for drinking rum straight as the drinks tend towards watery or thrown together with premixes. The rum list promises all kinds of goodies they apparently only stocked whenever the list was created; which was clearly a long time ago. Desktop printers are cheap and youd think someone that close to Silicon Valley could print a current list up instead of forcing a customer to keep asking for rum after rum only to find out theyre out of it. Thats an understatement. Ive given this place several tries now over several months and its clearly All hat, no cattle as they say in Texas.
Otto von Abbattoir has visited Smuggler's Cove.

You must log in to add comments.
Drink Quality
Drink Selection
Average critiki for
Smuggler's Cove:
Scores are from
102 Critiki visitors

Add your own critiki

Your visiting status:
Log in to mark off the locations you’ve visited, and be listed as a regular at your favorite tiki bars.