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Zeitgeist

Not Rated.
ZeitgeistZeitgeist
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

61 Ratings
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 8.29%
Taps: 48
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

199 Valencia St
San Francisco, California, 94103-1117
United States
phone: (415) 255-7505

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @zeitgeistsf

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: noob)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rikatine
4.14/5  rDev +1%

We really enjoyed our visit to Zeitgeist. We started out our day here around noontime on Thursday. There were only a couple of people at the bar, and a few small groups outside. It was a gorgeous sunny day. They had a very nice tap list while we were there, and a nice selection of stuff we did not see elsewhere in our six day beer tour of SF and points north.

The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable about the beer, and offered us a taste to help us decide what we wanted to order. We were interested in local beers that we could not get at home, and we were not disappointed.

Decided to move outside, and enjoy the sun and the outdoor space. If we didn't have many more stops to make we could have hung out here all day. Didn't get to eat, but the stuff people were bringing out looked good. If is self service here, but that is fine with us. No waitress to deal with etc.

Used the bathroom off the outdoor space, and it was unbelievably new and modern and clean.

Glad we put this place on our "must do" list. Would not have wanted to miss it. It was very easy to get here using the Muni system.

rikatine, May 16, 2012
Photo of BenHesk12
3.73/5  rDev -9%

Zeitgeist is exactly what you would expect for a divey beer bar in the mission. The place has black and red paint and is moderately dirty. The place gets very crowded and has limited standing room indoors so you will be fighting the crowd to get a beer. Prices are a little bit more than you would expect and at the time I went, the selection was limited to a few popular microbrews that most people have already tried. The best part about ZG is the large outdoor area which has lots of wooden benches for you to sit at. It's a great place to share a pitcher with friends, but be sure to bring a warm jacket because it gets cold and breezy at night. Overall, if you can mind the crowd, this is a good place to come with a few people and have a few beers, sit on a bench, and have a good time.

BenHesk12, May 05, 2012
Photo of LeeMarvin
4.66/5  rDev +13.7%

The first stop on a day-long bar crawl in San Fran. We arrived early on a Friday afternoon before the rush. Zeitgeist is an old biker bar with tons of character and an old school bar staff. So old school that they have a Bultaco sign hanging hugely on one wall. Other motorcycle memorabilia and What Would Lemmy Do stickers contrast with an impressively refined craft beer list. Heavy Metal was blaring out of the jukebox when we walked in.

After ordering an Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout, the no nonsense bartenders doled out our orders and we adjourned to the back yard to enjoy the sunny day. This is the kind of place you can get really comfortable at, and we stayed for three hours, nursing our beers and pitchers of water as we let the hair of the dog heal our previous night’s hangovers. Bands like Corrosion of Conformity, W.A.S.P. and Slayer provided a fitting soundtrack. By the time we left, the place was hoppin’. I didn’t get a chance to try the food, but it looked good. This place will figure prominently upon my return.

LeeMarvin, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of coldriver
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

Stop 2 on a San Francisco pubcrawl 7/17/2011. Gotta say being middle aged somewhat conservative Texans we were slightly apprehensive going in to this place. But this establishment is all about diversity and from that aspect we fit right in. With a table of bikers, a table of college kids, a table of tattoo exhibitionists, a table of lesbians, etc, the only thing missing was a table of middle-aged Texans and we were somewhat amazed to find the crowd to be very friendly and accepting.

Outdoor beer garden with picnic tables was a great place to enjoy the cool San Fran weather. A bit divy on the interior side but again a very comfortable vibe. Tap selection wasn't huge, but certainly adequate and nicely selected with plenty of the west coast hop bombs we'd come for. Wish we'd stayed longer instead of wasting our time in the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area - Zeitgeist seems like the quintessential San Francisco beer experience.

coldriver, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of Cmack15
4.14/5  rDev +1%

Zeitgeist means "spirit of the times" and I think this bar is appropriately named. The inside has a small bar with like 10-12 seats and two long tables. In the back room there is a pool table and some pinball machines. There is also an outside sitting area with picnic tables and a rack to hang your bike. The draft list had about 30 or so beers and all of them were quality. I ordered Deschuttes Mirror Pond Ale and my friend got a Russian River Supplication. The place was packed witha young college and thirty something crowd, lot of tattoos and hipster but its all good. I really liked this spot and can see why its rated so high.
Cheers

Cmack15, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of Gambac
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

Surprised to read how some people don't find the selection extensive. True, the list is West Coast centric, but is that really a problem with 50+ beers available?

Able to get some unique beers from Moylan's, Anderson Valley, and El Toro brewing, all West Coast, but also had Chimay on tap, as well as some Weihenstephaner beers. Bartenders were patient and helped me with a couple of things, food servers the same.

Hard to find a good beer garden on the peninsula, but Zeitgeist is definitely a good place to kick back. Cheap, decent food and reasonable beer prices make this a solid foray into the mission. Some taps run out sooner than others, just beware of that.

Gambac, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of Chincino
4/5  rDev -2.4%

I visited Zeitgeist after attending a festival in the area. From both the outside and the inside this establishment looks and feels like a dive bar-a fun dive bar. Upon entering, I was informed by a not so courteous bartender that my friend and I were not allowed to take photos inside, but besides that person we had prompt and helpful service by our served and the other bartender who was working.

We opted to sit outside at one of the family-style seating tables which were benches surrounding long tables. The outdoor section resembled a german biergarten while the inside resembled your average dive bar. The outside was very german-esque, while the inside was biker bar/dive bar style. The food at this establishment was good and there was a self-proclaimed "Tamale lady" who sold vegetarian and chicken tamales outside for only three dollars each. From what our server said, everyone loves the "Tamale Lady."

The beer selection was decent with about 8 beers on-tap. We split two pitchers of beers, one a Pilsner and one a Hefeweizen.

The prices for both food and beer were reasonable.

While I agree with a previous review that this place is by no means Toronado, it is worth stopping by if you are in San Francsico.

Chincino, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%

A crumbling wooden complex nestled under the freeway and surrounded by barbed wire - welcome to Zeitgeist! Complete with pool table, dim lighting, port-a-johns, and countless cigarette butts, it's got all the makings of dive bar. And it certainly is one helluva dive bar. Don't expect to find any weathered sots though; the crowd at Zeitgeist is decidedly youthful and energetic.

My girlfriend and I drank and people-watched out back in Zeitgeist's massive, picnic table-spotted, gravel pit. The mood was relaxed and comfortable, and it felt really nice being outside on a clear San Francisco night. The airiness and openness of Zeitgeist's backyard allowed smokers and non-smokers to enjoy their drinks together. While neither of us smoke cigarettes, we've got friends who do, and this is one of the few places I've come across (in San Francisco) that's so smoker friendly.

The beer selection wasn't extensive, but all of the offerings were high quality and very drinkable. Nearly everything was from California or Oregon, but the beer styles were pretty diverse. I started things off with a Damnation and followed with a Stone Pale Ale and then Black Butte Porter. All three were delicious.

The bartenders were both very attentive and friendly, and I never had to wait for a drink.

ThreeWiseMen, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of drseamus
4/5  rDev -2.4%

What this place lacks in selection it makes up for with it's courtyard. Not that the selection sucks but it's no Toronado. The courtyard is pretty big and the weather in San Francisco is such that you can use it frequently.

Their selection has a decent selection of California beers and some other west coast beers but almost nothing from the east. The place is hugely biker influenced but it seems that as craft beer has become "cool" the hipsters have moved in also. They also apparently have awesome burgers but I did not partake.

drseamus, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of berkey
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%

I don't get out to The City as much as I used to but I've been here many times over the years and have a fair amount of affection for this place. Atmosphere is extremely relaxed, a good place to dress down and not stress. I've met many interesting and friendly people here, the clientele seems to be mostly locals. The outdoor area has lines of benches and is very convenient for killing time on a cool Summer night. I've seen cleanliness issues at this bar at times though, especially in the bathrooms.

Service is mixed but overall not bad, you might wait awhile for your drink if it's busy though. Selection is a little uneven, sometimes they'll surprise you with something great and other times it's relatively standard issue. I don't really like the fact they have a good number of taps taken up by non-craft offerings but the full bar makes it easier if you have non-beer drinkers with you. Prices are very good for the area. Parking is a complete hassle but it's not a bad walk from BART.

Overall not amazing but a decent place to stop for a pint of good beer if you're in the neighborhood. The selection is decent enough that I'll often try to steer my group here when I'm on the Peninsula.

berkey, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

There I was, rolling westbound on the 26 Valencia as we sat at the corner of Duboce waiting for the light to change. All of a sudden, it hit me that place is on the to-do list! I quickly pulled the cord and jumped off of the bus as soon as the doors opened. Woody hit 'n' run Pauline, [SF] bus doors opened ...

Entering, it reminded me of the Chatterbox, another dive-y Valencia Street bar that I used to frequent in a past life. This was no-frills drinking at its lowest. Just my kind of place. The place was littered with spent barrels, plus the flat black paint and low-key lighting just reinforced the mood. The battle-scarred bar ran along the left wall with some industrial looking tables off to the right. Aft was the kitchen to the left and the center was a game room with several electronic games, a couple of pinball machines, and a red velvet pool table. I really dug the mosaic tile floor. Expansive outdoor patio to left of bar.

Beer: 16 CA, 9 non-state. 27 taps, running the gamut from PBR to Delirium Tremens.

woodychandler, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of Irie
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%

I always love going to Zeitgeist.

Good selection of beers, quick serving and quick tongued bar tenders which I like. Plus, they had pitchers of Guinness for $12 which surprised the hell out of me.

The best part is the fact that the outdoor seating area is larger than the entire bar. Plus the tamale lady that just wanders around selling fresh tamales.

The atmosphere leans towards hipsters and bikers (motor and regular) but is a good drinking environment.

Great place for a nice day happy hour.

Irie, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of nephilae
3.2/5  rDev -22%

I'm not sure what all the hype is about. Sure, it's a trendy dive bar, with a decent beer-list, but there are a lot of those. The 'biergarten' people rave about is just a dirty, overcrowded, smokey, patio, with grungy picnic tables at which you have to practically climb over people just to get a seat (IF you can find one, and IF it's not right next to the rank porto-potties). I really dislike being around cigarette smoke, and hipsters who summarily judge you with a glance.

The draught beers are not bad, generally a lot of domestic, local microbrews. But for the selection, I'd much rather go to the Toronado. I've also tried the Niman ranch burgers which aren't bad at $5.00, but not the best I've had. Service tends to be a little slow and apathetic, but I've never experienced anything completely rude and unacceptable. Kudos for the jukebox having Gogol Bordello.

Overall, I'd give the place an "eh". It's okay. I go if I'm right in the vicinity, or if others in my crew demand it. But it's just simply not worth the hype.

nephilae, Sep 22, 2008
Photo of DaveHS
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%

My impressions of Zeitgeist are pretty mixed. On one hand, the service is almost always bad. I have waited up to 20 minutes for a drink on busy nights. My general policy is that if I am not at least acknowledged within 5 minutes of entering a bar, they do not get my business. Of course there are exceptions, but they are reserved for places like Toronado. Zeitgeist is a hipster bar, filled with bike kids and squatters. But that's part of its charm. They always seem to have RR Damnation and Pliny on draught ($4.50 a pint!) as well as lots of Moonlight beers and other cool micros.
What makes Zeitgeist a really notable bar is the outdoor section, with its long picnic tables, port-o-potties, and view of the highway. I always seem to meet interesting people here. The atmosphere is electric, and if they would just hire a few more bartenders, I would spend a lot more time there.
If you're in the mission, it beats most of the other beer bars.

DaveHS, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of RodBurg
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%

Stopped here last Saturday night after a trip to Lucky 13. The place is a total dive...in a good way. Not being very crowded it was a nice change from the very loud and busy establishments I had visited previously that night. Bartender seemed nice enough and there was a good selection of micros on tap. Wasn't too happy about the cash only thing, but no big deal. In the back is a huge patio with picnic tables, very nice. I didn't try the food but whatever they were grilling was making my mouth water. Great hang out. Like the place quite a bit.

RodBurg, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of ojclark
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%

Kind of dumpy (in a cool way) interior. Huge patio with several picnic tables and BBQ being prepared outside. Full bar with 25 nice taps of beer, basically all micros, mostly local and California beers. Had a holdiay beer from Moonlight called "Rated X-Mas" that I hadn't seen before or since. Slow service, but it was New Years Day and several people were ordering the elaborately prepared bloody marys. Kind of like the Toronado, but with a full bar and beer barden. Good vibe. I could imagine hanging out in back for several hours at a time.

ojclark, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of Schultz
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

After reading the reviews I had to stop in to check it out. Inside bar area has a pool table and unisex bathroom and acts as the keg storage area. Out side beer garden is packed with picnic tables, a large grill, and people enjoying the beer. Seemed to be lots of regulars and everyone was enjoying themselves. I seemed to be the only one without multiple tatoos and/or piercings.

They had about 20 beers on tap, evenly split between imports and domestics. No problems with service despite previous reviews. In fact, on both visits bartenders were more then willing to give samples of beers before ordering. I guess if youn treat people right they will treat you right. I enjoyed a Reality Czech, Damnation, and a Poppy Jasper Amber to mention a few on my visits and all were fresh and delicious. Had to limit my visits to only a few beers as both times i was there the wind was blowing all of the smoke from the grill into the bar area and i could not stand more then an hour of drinking in a campfire. Left here and took the 10 minute walk to Toronado.

Schultz, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

At first glance this place appears to be a hipster and biker bar, but its much, much more. There is a grill outside, a huge outdoor, enclosed beer garden almost underneath a freeway ramp, and eccentric but friendly people. The beer garden has an industrial feel, and nice artwork on the adjoining building walls. Bike racks are mounted on the inside of the garden wall so you don't have to worry about locking up out on the street. A good place to take out-of-towners, as it embodies the Mission vibe without being too irritating.

Beer selection is very good to excellent-- they have a nice cross section of styles from mostly local brewers, and the high turnover ensures a fresh pint. Moonlight and Russian River are highlights.

I've never spent less than 3 hours here, and its always been hard to leave. When all the other beer-geek bars are slammed and loud as hell, come here and relax outside.

bcm119, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of jgnatek
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

i spent two days here while on a beer vacation on the west coast. it is by far my favorite place on earth. motorcycles, rock and roll and lots of beer.

most everyone loves a good dive, which may never be fully understood, but none the less, this place is one. dirty, a bit smelly, dark... the porta johns filled up when i was there on saturday night and started overflowing on the floor. no worries, i am home. this place fills up quickly, so if you want your best chance of enjoying it, go on a weekday at noon. you will have the place to yourself. oh and its happy hour for a ridiculous length of time around here.

service is good, they are pretty quick. sometimes you might feel like they don't care, because well, they don't. thats okay, i just want a beer, not someone to listen to my sad story. honestly they are just busy, they deal with a million people, and sometimes they might say THANKS, but don't hold your breath. one of the guys bought me a beer when he found out i was a bartender back east and i had just arrived at mecca for the first time. my kind of place.

selection isn't bad. i guess i have high expectations, because i work with one of the best selections in the country, but i had plenty to enjoy here. a lot of california brews, anything out of the west coast was a bit lamer. i think its just harder to get a lot of quality belgian and german beers out here (read shelton bros). i had beers from russian river, bear republic, speak easy, green flash, and a few others which must have resided on now dead brain cells.

food was awesome. they only have brats and burgers with a side of homefries, but it is fantastic after a few pitchers of racer 5. can't complain.

value wise, you can drink a LOT of beer here and have a burger without hurting your wallet too much. beers range from about 2.5 to 4 i believe, depending on happy hour situations. pitchers are a deal as well.

if you aren't a total puss, you owe it to yourself to come here.

jgnatek, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of trevorwideman
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

One night, after eating some great pizza at a Punk Rock pizza joint, I and my three companions wandered to Zeitgeist for some quality brew and good times. I needed more Reality Czeck dammit!

When I walked in I was surprised at just how much of a dive it was. Straight up biker bar with tons of kegs all over the place and just crowded to the rafters. Nonetheless, after we got our beers we headed outside, and lo, it was a whole new world. Awesome setup with picnic tables all over and a massive crowd of people all partying, smoking weed, and enjoying good beer. The service was as fast as could be expected from such a busy joint, and the selection was second only to Toronado that I saw in the city. The food comes from a BBQ setup that they have out back, and they yell at you when your food is ready. I didn't try anything, but I liked the setup. It was all very punk rock/biker, but without the shitty beer. Tons of fun, I'd go again.

trevorwideman, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of 0tt0
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Grungy, biker bar decor. Small front bar area with a pool table in back. Two unisex bathrooms with a long line. Lots of tap handles. Metal and old-school punk on the 'box (Minutemen playing when I arrive.) Overall, seems cool enough. Then, the revalation: a monster back patio area with picnic tables and a shitload of people. A big grill is posted in the corner cooking brats and burgers. The cooks shouts your name when your order is ready (example: John, Renee, Todd-- Come get your damn food!!!). I'm hooked already.

Nothing shocking on tap, but there are roughly 40 of them and a very attentive staff. Had a blast here.

0tt0, Jun 14, 2007
Photo of clickpush
4.18/5  rDev +2%

This is a killer place - one of my favorite bars in SF.

You have to go when it's warm out because the inside is small and littered with kegs, but the outdoor atmosphere is spectacular. Row after row of picnic benches lined edge to edge, you'll make new friends whether you want to or not. Always hopping, this is the place to be on Sunday afternoons when everyone and their mom is the mood for a pint. It's friendly, easy going, and encourages ruckus behavior for those who like to misbehave. It's got the label of a biker-bar, but I'd say in general it's just a place for an older crowd. Escape the college kids and mingle with 30-40 somethings.

Beer list is pretty good - draught list is almost all domestic though. Having Moonlight and Russian River on tap isn't something you see everywhere, and at $4 a pint no one can complain.

I like this place and recommend to everyone.

clickpush, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of bradybeer
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%

After eating at a Mission Mexican joint and walking around the Mission looking for a bar that wasn't a Hipster Dufus hang out-our friends mentioned this place-so off we went.

Folks, this is in the Mission which is seedy-period-no getting around it-it is however a 5-10 minute walk to the BART.

The atmosphere rocks-it was much more to my liking-inside is a typical bar with about 2 dozen taps-with Lagunitas, Mt. Tam, Speakeasy, etc.

Outside there is a biergarten with picnic benches and Portapotties (sic).

I didn't give it high marks for service because it is cash only-which blows when there are so many good beers to try.

Didn't try the food-however, from what I saw it is very basic-Brats, dogs, etc.

I was only able to drink the Speakeasy Big Daddy-because we were out of cash.

We loved this place and I have moved this to the top of my must vist beer bars when we are in the city.

bradybeer, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of Tbone
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%

This place is now third on my list of S.F. beer destinations, after Toronado and Magnolia. The neighborhood is a bit sketchy and gets worse to the south. If you feel a little too "normal" and deficient in piercings and tatoos at Toronado, you will feel more so here. But the crowd isn't as rough as it looks (or rough as it used to be according to one of their bartenders). I gave it extra atmosphere points for the local color who frequent (there was a 400 pound transvestite with two midgets that made me feel like I just walked into a David Lynch film). The highlight of the atmosphere is the enormous 4000 sq foot beer garden in back with a dozen large picnic tables, tall trees, and a Grill that they serve burgers and brats from.

They have about a dozen taps that include good locals, such as Russian River (Damnation when I was there).

You have to order from the bar and you'd better know what you want when you get there, but I got decent service all night.

Tbone, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of Denali
4/5  rDev -2.4%

I have been here a couple of times, once during the day and once at night.

This is a very dark laid back dive-bar like place. Bar seats around 15 people. Tables are also available inside. They also have a pool table in a room next to the bar.

There is also a really cool large beer garden outside with about 10-15 picnic tables and some really nice and tall trees. Really cool murals on the walls outside too. This is where to hang if the weather is good. The BBQ pit out there smelled really good too, although I haven't had any of the food yet. That is on the to-do list.

Beer selection is very good. About 15-20 taps, of which includes California micros (Moonlight, Russian River, Bear Republic, El Toro, etc...). I had a Racer 5 and a Poppy Jasper. Both were in very good condition. They also serve plenty of mixed drinks which makes for a very mixed crowd - some are really into the beer and others don't really care. On a side note, as for the liquor, I was very surprised to see that they had Green Chartreuse - not many places carry that stuff.

Crowd is very friendly as are the bartenders, but its probably better to go with someone as opposed to going alone.

Not too far from the Toronado and worth coming in for a change of pace. I will be going back.

Denali, Jan 21, 2006
Zeitgeist in San Francisco, CA
91 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.