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Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

London, United...
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Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Hi all,

I'm hoping to go to SF at the start of February on my own. I'm a female in my late twenties. I have read up on lots of good tips for tours to do on your own (thinking maybe an UrbanTrek and one or two of the SF walking tours) for the daytime. Hopefully will get to meet a few people on those. I have stayed in hostels on other holidays but decided to treat myself to own hotel room on this trip - thinking it might not be as easy to make friends in this setting though.

I will be there on a Friday and Saturday night and was wondering if anyone had any tips on:

1. where I could eat on my own and maybe meet some people? I have had a search on the forum but it is bringing up quite old posts and I'm not sure if the places mentioned still are going/still to a good standard. I'm not hugely fussy about type of food so any suggestions welcome :)

2. I would love to go out for a few drinks but a bit nervous about looking a complete lemon on my own! I like cocktail bars just the same as I enjoy a beer in a pub over here so again not fussed particularly the exact time of establishment, just nowhere too fussy or dressy, and that has a good environment to arrive on your own and feel comfortable. If it's music based I love anything from blues to trance to chart stuff so again not an issue.

I will be staying on Union Square so places that are within walking distance (and safe at night time) would of course be great, but happy to get a cab or public transport otherwise.

Thank you so much for any recommendations you may have!

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Santa Clara...
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1. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Hi Kat!

Here is a trip report from a young lass across the pond who had a blast: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60713-i30-k703207…

I just returned from a trip abroad and found that a simple smile and friendly conversations starters usually go a long way. As for meeting folks as a solo traveler, the hostels are a great hub. By any chance will you be staying at a hostel? The Adelaide is near Union Square and would have some activities for solo travelers. I have friends and kin of various ages who do travel solo and stay at hostels all over the world. They usually can find folks to do activities with them there.

Another suggestion would be to see if there are any sports events that weekend. Super Bowl Sunday (our American football championship game) on Feb 2 would be a great time to show up at a sports bar to enjoy the atmosphere. But I don't think you will be here yet.

I have had good times at the Golden Gate Tap Room, but it looks like there is still growing pain with this relatively new establishment. Might be a good place to go with new friends.


Edited: 23 January 2014, 01:07
San Francisco
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2. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Let's start by reading the posting. The OP says: "I have stayed in hostels on other holidays but decided to treat myself to own hotel room on this trip"

We used to have a Top Question on traveling solo in SF but it looks like it got lost in the shuffle. There are a lot of restaurants in the city which have a communal table. This is often used by solo diners and is a good way to have a chat with others who are also dining alone. It's also often easier to get a seat at a popular spot as reservations are not required at these tables (and, in fact, aren't taken).

However, I'll say that Friday/Saturday nights are usually when people go out with friends or on dates and not on their own.

Here's a thread that has a list. It's a bit old (Nettie's Crab Shack has closed) but I think still fairly sound: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60713-i30-k285178…

Santa Clara...
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3. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

My bad! Recommendation still unchanged about visiting a hostel to meet up with other travelers.

San Frantastic
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4. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

I should think you could meet folks quite easily in any of the many bars in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Where is your hotel? We can recommend dining options if we know your hotel location.

London, United...
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5. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Thank you all!

chinita415 - thanks for the link to the trip report, was a very interesting read! SF definitely sounds more and more like a good place to walk around and explore. And thanks for the link to the bar - I will be watching the Super Bowl at some ridiculous hour of the morning here in the UK :) but will still give it a look.

WhiteDahlia - the communal dining definitely sounds like the sort of thing I'm after. Thanks for the link to the list - will have a browse through.

Real_Grenadine - thanks for the suggestion, I will do a search online for some bars in that area. Definitely hoping to get there in the daytime so will keep an eye out for potential places too. My hotel is The Chancellor on Union Square

Northern Ireland
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6. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

I am a solo traveller too and visited San Francisco last September. Like you I stayed in a hotel in Union Square and the two main restaurants I visited were Johnny Foley's Irish House on O'Farrell Street and Puccini and Pinetti italian restaurant on Ellis Street (it was a little expensive but well worth it). The service and food was excellent and at no time was I made to feel uncomfortable sitting alone. That being said I did get chatting to another couple from the uk at johnny foleys and you do also have the option of sitting at the bar.

I know some places offered me the choice of a twenty minute wait for a table or sit at the bar and be served straight away... I chose the bar and got talking to lots of other travellers.

I know when I first went travelling I was a bit self conscious sitting in restaurants by myself but you would be surprised at how many solo travellers there are and every time I go away I make new friends!

Have a brilliant trip!

London, United...
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7. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

hi bajp23 - thanks so much for all tips! Will definitely check out the restaurants you recommended. :)

San Francisco, Ca
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8. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

I go to restaurants by myself all the time, and while I'm generally not interested in meeting/talking with other people, I've never had any funny looks or attitude because I'm by myself. So look through the restaurant posts (lots of current ones, just search for restaurants and sort by date) and decide what sounds good.

For meeting people at restaurants, I'd eat either at the bar or the communal table. Almost all newer, trendier restaurants have a communal table (you can do a Google search to confirm... something like "Nopa communal").

But the ones I know that have communal tables/counters include: Nopa, Salt House, Sauce, Bocadillas, Barbacco, State Bird Provisions, A16, Delfina Pizzeria and so many more.

Edited: 25 January 2014, 02:43
San Francisco...
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9. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Have to 100% agree with SFSusan's first paragraph in that you will have no trouble at all. I live outside SF but usually spend 10-11 days there alone each year (in lodging near the Chancellor) and just find that wandering around Union Square and nearby areas (such as Chinatown, near the gate, or down the hill on Grant, etc.) poking my head into certain places will give me an idea if I want to spend more time there. I just did a lot of that in Germany also, where I don't even speak the language. So far, it works for me.

Sorry not to add more specific restaurants but, honestly, I don't usually write down the places I stop at ---- I know them by landmarks.....where they are located. Most of them are in the Union Square area or on the path down the hill on Powell to AT&T Park (our baseball park).

Just wanted to encourage you that you won't have a problem. In San Francisco, around where you're staying, you will have no trouble meeting people and you will NOT look out of place dining alone. We females in SF tend to be an independent bunch and plenty of women dine alone, since many of us are either working in the City or shopping alone so you will not stand out as being unusual.

Even though I'm like Susan in that I don't necessarily look to meet people in SF per se, I seem to always meet people. You will too, For one thing, people will love your accent (assuming you sound like a Brit).

You'll have a great time! You picked an excellent place to stay also, as a single female traveler.

Key West, Florida
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10. Re: Solo Traveller - Places to Eat and Drink

Although I wasn't alone when I went to Caffe Trieste, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. We sat outdoors that beautiful afternoon, right next to a guy writing music. If I was alone, I'd have stayed inside and enjoyed my coffee with the fantastic vibe.

From a poster on another thread within the past couple days: "For the original (since 1956) beatnik coffee house, go to Caffe Trieste and rub shoulders with the remaining poets of the era. Take a bag of fresh roast home with you."