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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 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
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.06/5  rDev -1%

Walked from the Toronado down to this establishment.

Atmosphere: outside drinking garden with some shade. 101 within view. Biker feel. A couple of pinball machines and video games. Big bbq pit to the right. A lot of mixed drinks being served. To answer blitheringidiot's famous question: you cannot bring mom.

Selection micros I've seen around the West frequently plus Moonlight Pils (goes by "Reality Czech"). That's why I really came.

Didn't try the food. Food looks like bbq, but take note. Pancho Villa Taqueria on 16th between Mission and Valencia is nearby. It has tremendous Mexican food for cheap. It would be a crime to be so close and not eat there.

Service: busy but good and friendly.

Pubcrawling notes: a somewhat short walk from the Church or Van Ness subway stops. I would take the Van Ness stop. Not too bad from the Toronado either. I used to live near here so listen up: sometimes it looks pretty threatening in the neighborhood esp. at night but no harm has come to me in the area. Would go in groups or by taxi at night. Be smart about your surroundings. Daytime: you should be alright, esp. if you are male.

GeoffFromSJ, Jul 26, 2005
Photo of Bierman9
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%

Interesting, divey kind of place. Think Bukowskis Boston but with an outdoor Biergarten attached. Visited on a lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon (28MAY) with Axisjones. The place has lots of black; walls, tables, etc.... tall tables with stools align the right side of the room, and a long bar is along the left side. Bier posters and typical paraphernalia adorn the walls and open spaces. Mid room on the right are the spacious (Ha!) bathrooms, and further beyond the WCs is a room with a pool table for your shooting pleasure. Past the bar on the left is a doorway leading to their "Biergarten". The far left corner has 3-4 porta-potties, and the far back right corner has an old, beat up tow-truck. Looming above the back wall is a mid-city expressway. Not quite an idyllic scene in the Alps somewhere, but a big-ass tree in the middle of the area leaves lots of shade to relax in. Scattered about are about a dozen picnic-like tables; long, german-style suckers that allow you to BS with table mates if you like (or, yes, pass a joint if you like). A nice touch is the pink elephants painted on one of the walls in the Biergarten. Music was all types...some grunge, some funky stuff.... and the staff was solid and reasonably friendly. Top-shelf selection of about 20 drafts, most being A-1 California brews like Moonlight and Russian River. Had some Moonlight Pils and RR Damnation, for only $4.00 per pint. Yummy!! I stopped by again later that night, and the place was packed and jumping. Didn't try the food, but it smelled great. A must visit!

Prosit!!

overall: 4.36
atmosphere: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: n/a | $

112

Bierman9, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of Troyone
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%

Not much seating around the bar and there is a couple of tables inside with a pool table. Most of the seating is outside where the gravel ground has picnic tables similar to a festival at a park. There is an area for bicyclist to store their bikes and portable potties.

The food is cooked outside on a grill. After one orders their meal next to the pool table the cook will yell their name when it is ready. The unisex restrooms inside are clean.

The service at the bar is prompt and knowlegable. The service for food is ok however they will take breaks from orders until they catch up.

Decent selection of microbrew and Belgian styles, no cask.

Food is good, maybe a little over cooked.

The value is OK for the area,

Troyone, May 22, 2005
Photo of axisjones
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%

Hell yeah, this is grunge done right. Dank? Check. Smoke? Check. 1980's arcade machines? Check.

Zeitgeist is a dive lovers dream come true. Step through the door into a room smokey with bbq, cracked tile floors, grimy, with an arcade in the back and a pool table. Walk past the bar and check out the amazing outdoor patio area, murals on the walls, high fences, lots of wooden tables and a massive bbq pit. This is truly a unique San Francisco experience. This level of dive is truly artistic, and the contact high you get in the back can only raise the score higher.

Not only is this bar completely comfortable, it has a killer selection. With a focus on California greats, Russian River and Moonlight are properly represented with a smattering of Belgians and Micros as well. Probably about 15-20 beers on tap, mostly quality.

The service was fast and non chalant, friendly for sure.

I really wanted to try the food but I had gorged at Magnolia so that will have to wait for another time.

Zeitgeist is a great place to kick back on a hot day, have a beer, get some sun and eat some bbq. After dark, i would really recommend walking the 4 blocks or so to Toronado. The environment was great, laid back and casual and the selection is damn fine as well.

axisjones, May 04, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Grungy, Valencia mission atmosphere with tons of really interesting pople mulling about. Divey with tons of bikers, and all sorts really. I love places like this, but many don't so take it or leave it. Quality of the beer is very good, but I did not sample the food. Service is quick and to the point. Selection is good, but not killer with some macros and many locals on tap. Freshly tapped moonlight pils for $4. Sure. This is a pretty kick ass bar in the mission, but the Toronado is better in the end. Still go here you are in the mission and too lazy to walk to lower haight.

francisweizen, May 03, 2005
Photo of noob
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%

Ahhh.... the Zeitgeist Bar and Guest Haus, where the attitude sucks and the beer is amazing. I go here every time I am in San Francisco and have always been given major attitude by all of the staff, which is very easy to ignore, but this time I was pleasantly surprised to get the service of a very knowledgeable, friendly bartender that let me try the Russian River Damnation before getting a full pint. There were probably 20 taps or so and at least a dozen bottles. All the drafts were crafts or imports, with the bottles being mostly domestics. This is my second favorite place to go in SF besides Toronado. This place has a huge backyard "Beer Garden", packed with picnic tables, that is very chill and inviting.

Beers when I was there:
2 Speakeasy Beers (Prohibition and Big Daddy)
Russian River Damnation
Bear Republic Racer 5
Deschutes Black Butte
Anderson Valley
Lagunitas
Anchor
Sierra
Pyramid
Full Sail
Stella
Hoegaarden or Paulaner?
and a bunch more...

This place is a little rough around the edges and does not win any awards for cleanliness, but is really fun with a group of friends. Plus, they run a guest house upstairs that one could stay at in a pinch (if you get too drunk or get lucky!!!) for $35 bucks.

Did I mention they have an amazing jukebox that always seems to play at least one Misfits song while I am there?

noob, Feb 17, 2005
Zeitgeist in San Francisco, CA
91 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.