With a vibrant food scene and easy access to some of the world's best wine regions, the San Francisco Bay Area, it should go without saying, is an incredible place to appreciate wine. We asked Shannon Tucker, the Beverage Director at Foreign Cinema, about her favorite wine bars in the area; here's what she had to say.
"For all of the wine bars I love and visit often, it's about the people and the ambience, almost more than the wine. Sure, they all have great and distinct wines on offer, but the real draws are the way the rooms and the people draw you and in and make you want to stay all damn day.
"Ordinaire has great soft light, friendly staff, and often wines I've never seen. They also sell retail, so it's always interesting to browse while drinking. They are super natural-focused and although not all the wines are what I want to drink, it's a great place to push the envelope and try wines I wouldn't normally.
"Bay Grape has all the wines I just love to drink, plus the owners are awesome and always offer up something new and fun. Both Bay Grape and Ordinaire are great options in Oakland and offer two totally different experiences.
"In San Francisco proper, Birba is a great go-to. The room is fresh and airy and the staff is super fun. Hip-hop and bubbles are two things I pretty much always enjoy; they also have great food options if the bottle turns into two and snacks are needed.
"In the same neighborhood there's a Champagne bar called The Riddler that is always a welcome respite from the everyday. Champagne always make me feel like I'm on a tiny vacation. Really -- it never gets old. They also have a great Parisian vibe that adds to my holiday fantasies.
"Up on Hyde Street is Union Larder where they always have something tasty by-the-glass and a cheesemonger onsite; it's also a light room with big windows looking out onto Hyde where the cable car goes by. Even though I've lived here most of my life, I still am a sucker for scenic San Francisco."