Smuggler's Cove

San Francisco, CA
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650 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA
Opened in 2009
Daily from 5pm
(415) 869-1900

Critiki ratings

Smuggler's Cove



by 148 people



Everyone You
Decor 9.8
Drink Quality 10
Drink Selection 10
Mood 9.4
Music 9.1
Service 9.6
Tikiness 9
Tilt 9.4
Vibe 8.8

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Regulars & Visitors

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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
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
Alameda, CA
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
Top Notch Kustoms
San Jose, CA
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.
In September 2016, Martin Cate opened False Idol
False Idol
San Diego, CA
in San Diego.

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.


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Upcoming Visits
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Regulars & Visitors
  • Humuhumu
  • The Jab
  • Tikitastic
  • JenTiki
  • Trott
  • martiki
  • Raro
  • monet2u
View all 220 Smuggler's Cove regulars & visitors
Secretsource has visited Smuggler's Cove.
September 8, 2016, 3:07 PM
The drinks were awful. I believe the bartender was in training. However, it was a Friday night and the A team should have been working.
kortiki has visited Smuggler's Cove.
March 1, 2016, 7:48 PM
I enjoy the drinks, especially the Dead Reckoning... however the set-up is inherently flawed as getting a drink requires one to wrestle their way through large crowds to get to a single bartender (servicing two floors) who is struggling valiantly to make complex drinks as quickly as possible... makes the whole situation a bit stressful.
Deege has visited Smuggler's Cove.
January 23, 2016, 9:58 PM
Thanks for the El Dorado 15, Marco! A perfect evening of escapism!
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