Cool off with these fun cocktails from San Francisco and beyond this summer

Can you even call it summer if you’re not sipping a refreshing cocktail? Around the Bay Area, new bars have surfaced within the past seven months, and after a grueling year for bars, we think drinks are in order. SFGATE’s Food + Drink team visited some of the newcomers found throughout San Francisco and beyond to try a selection of tropical to low-proof drinks. Drinks aside, many of the new bars come with a playful atmosphere, like Jaranita’s festive dining space and garden-centric bar Propagation. The only problem you’ll have is deciding which place to hit first.   

The Red Window Cobbler at Red Window, a new tapas bar in North Beach. 

The Red Window Cobbler at Red Window, a new tapas bar in North Beach. 

Madeline Wells/SFGATE

At North Beach’s colorful new tapas bar Red Window, you won’t find any whiskey or gin on the menu. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t cocktails. 

Instead, you’ll find a creative menu of low-proof cocktails, in

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The Chef Who Led a Global Dining Empire Sets Out on His Own in San Francisco’s Chinatown

Before it became known as a nightlife brand associated with globetrotting DJs and elaborate bottle-service presentations, Hakkasan was a global pioneer of contemporary Asian food. Ho Chee Boon, who was Hakkasan’s international executive chef, opened restaurants for the high-end hospitality group in London, Moscow, Bangkok, New York, San Francisco and beyond. Under Ho’s leadership, Hakkasan restaurants earned Michelin stars in both London and New York.

Now in 2021, a year that’s seen hospitality behemoth Tao Group acquire Hakkasan (which closed its New York and San Francisco restaurants in 2020), the Malaysian-born Ho is writing his own path at a new buzzworthy restaurant in San Francisco. On June 18, Ho will open Empress by Boon with modern Cantonese food at the former location of Chinatown’s iconic Empress of China restaurant.

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“I was fortunate to visit San Francisco for the first time 10 years ago as we

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Explore the latest restaurant openings, including sushi pop-up Ken in San Francisco

Chef Chi Hang Ngai, also known as Chef Ken, is finally opening up his own proper restaurant in San Francisco.

Ngai has worked at Sushi Ran in Sausalito for 10 years and more recently spent five years at Kusakabe, both jobs under chef Mitsunori Kusakabe, before striking out on his own with his new restaurant, Ken, on Divisadero.

It hasn’t been a straight route to opening, however. 

“Right after I told my chef that I decided to open my restaurant, [it was] not even a week and then the city, everything just shut down,” Ngai said of his decision to strike out on his own in the spring of 2020.

Ngai has had the keys to his restaurant for a few months, but he’s been mostly operating out of the space like a to-go pop-up. He set up an ordering system using a Google form to organize to-go orders and

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Grab a bite at these exciting new restaurants in San Francisco and beyond

Despite the dirge of restaurants closing during the pandemic, plenty of new restaurants are opening and keeping the scene fresh this spring. With this latest batch of restaurants, expect some new takes on classic cuisines, the return of local favorites and the expansion of some beloved restaurants into new territory.

Plenty of customers were saddened when Art’s Cafe announced its closure after 30 years in July 2020. Owners Sarah and Hae Ryong Youn were looking to retire, although it meant that longtime staples of the cafe, such as their crispy hash brown sandwiches, would go with them. The story of Art’s, however, doesn’t end there. At the start of February, the cafe reopened under new owners. Read more here.

Lazy Susan (a reference to the rotating tray that sits at the center of dining tables) is a new restaurant serving as an ode to Chinese American cuisine with Mister

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