Hard Water
Hard Water
  • Address:
    Pier 3
    Suite 3-102
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    Neighborhood:
    Financial District / Embarcadero
  • Cuisine:
    Contemporary Southern
    Price: $30 and under

Hard Water

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://hardwaterbar.com/
  • Phone: 4153923021x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch Every day from 11:30am-2:30pm

    Monday - Wednesday:
    Kitchen serves food from 5-10pm
    Bar is open until 12am



    Thursday - Saturday:
    Kitchen serves food from 5-11pm
    Bar is open until 12am



    Sunday:
    Both kitchen and bar close at 10pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Contemporary Southern
  • Executive Chef: Charles Phan
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Between Broadway and Washington
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Hard Water
Hard Water is a whiskey bar with the largest selection of craft and highly allocated whiskey on the west coast. We serve delicious small plates and fried chicken in a convivial and lively bar setting. We have two tables for large parties and communal counter seating for snacks and cocktails. Join us for lunch on our sunny patio that fronts the Embarcadero.
We are located at Pier 3, The Embarcadero, San Francisco.

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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
Hard Water reviews from OpenTable diners
89 reviews since May 20, 2014
Overall Rating3.7
  • Food3.9
    Service3.5
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
vibrant bar scene (55)fit for foodies (34)scenic view (26)hot spot (25)late-night find (12)great for lunch (9)neighborhood gem (8)special occasion (6)romantic (5)good for groups (5)great for brunch (4)great for outdoor dining (3)Show More
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Great cocktails. Good, but expensive, whiskey list. Snacks and apps were good. The fried chicken was very bland. Food came well before the cocktails arrived.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Best!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    I'll be brief,"The Best Fried Chicken in Bay Area"..Everything was very,very good.The bar?.Mind blowing selection of whiskey,rye.We tried damn near the whole menu(small plates) simply delicious!Cant wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yummmm
    philVIP
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    GREAT selection of whiskey! Some of the best gumbo I've had outside of New Orleans and ditto the chicken and waffles. Very good blistered peppers too. Service was excellent and the designer cocktails they offer are also quite remarkable. Funky design works.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    Raisethebar
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    First, great selection of Americas finest whiskeies and bourbons. So, if we went there just for drinks, and if we had gotten there at 5 when they opened, and we didn't want to talk to each other, including our clients, great experience. If, your going know there are no tables just stools most againt the wall or around the bar, and not many. You should be made aware that a reservation means facing a wall or if you get lucky around the bar. I will say, there are tables outside and on a nice evening would make for a great casual evening spot. We had reservations for dinner, but after an hour we were reaching out through OpenTable to find another spot. We all will return though, I personally never judge a restaurant by one visit.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • HaveMealWillTravel
    HaveMealWillTravelVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Have visited this unique eatery in SF 4 times in the past 2 months and have not been disappointed ever. The limited food options are exceptionally flavorful. I know it's good when I want to keep eating more and more. The drinks are original, tasty and too easy to consume. This is a dangerous place because you are lulled into thinking you'll only have a couple of food items and drinks and end up not wanting to leave. Very casual and very 2014. My suggestion, make a reservation in advance or risk a long wait. This is a very neat place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Whisky Galore
    Evatron
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    This bar had a marvellous selection of mainly North American whisky. We stopped here after a trip to Napa, and wanted somewhere to stop for a light bite to eat. We had the aligator bites and these were fantastic. Service here was excellent, and there was a good vibe to the place. It is quite small, and so if you wanted to each with more than 2 of you, you should call in advance to make a reservation.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mvr0519VIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    The good is southern. Not many healthy options. I would go back from drinks just not dinner.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Expected More
    datediner
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Everything about this restaurant was just okay. I took my boyfriend here on a date, but it was definitely not the best date spot. There were only two tables inside, but they were meant for larger parties. All other seating was either next to the bar or at a counter-top that wrapped around the room. We sat at the counter, and I felt like I was staring at the wall for the majority of the evening. I was disappointed that they had no wine. If you really like whiskey, then I would recommend it. The food was southern-style, but it was all small plates. I ordered two things for about $10 each, but they were served in little cups, and barely filled me up. This place would be great for an appetizer and drink before heading to dinner.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • delicious food
    PferazziVIP
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    but much more of a bar that serves food than a traditional dining experience. amazing selection of whiskeys
    Special Features:
    scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not a restuarant, but a great bar
    KennyDVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    More of a bar with great food than a restaurant. I enjoyed the food and drink, but don't plan this for a nice dinner, it is high tables only. I am disabled so that seems odd they had not way to accommodate me. The chairs are high and hard with poor food rests. I did enjoy everything I ordered but still do not think I will be coming back soon. It is more of a bar there is no easy way to have dinner there unless you like eating off a bar, the sides were also set up as bars. The pork belly cracklin' was great. I think I will attempt this at a slower time. BOURBON deluxe, I could get into trouble with their bourbon list and had the Bourbon Lift and really enjoyed that.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • amazing!
    salseraVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    Best fried chicken ever. Everything was absolutely delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Incredible Selection.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Was just trying to find a good place to drink before Dinner and I had stumbled upon this little gem. I thought it was strange that I had to have a reservation for a Bar Stool, but found out that there was a reason for this due to the incredible Whiskey selection they had. Discussing with the bartender on what I liked, they suggested a great whiskey for me to try and even gave me a a little history lesson. I had even tried a flight of whiskeys in which the bartender provided a great suggestion. Also, even though this was mainly a bar, the food was just as good. I recommend highly the Pork Belly Cracklins.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good stop for whiskey fans
    dieterVIP
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Hard Water is a bar with a massive whiskey selection that also has Cajun influenced small plates. Seating is all counter height and stools ... so it is not an especially comfortable environment. We ordered several cocktails (all quite good), small plates and desert. The cocktails were great as well as the recommended bourbon shot. Small plates were good but nothing special. The chocolate creme pie (with peanut butter) was the hit of the evening. Bottom line, this is a nice spot for a before or after dinner drink ... I would not recommend it as a stop for anyone wanting to eat dinner.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Return customer
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    When we arrived at 2:00pm per reservation ,$20.00 cab ride, sign on door read closed do to equipment failure?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Something Different
    Mediumrareallday1VIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Cool spot and a nice change up from the traditional bar. Did the Whiskey 101 tasting and really enjoyed it at $27. Also had the Mac and Cheese which was excellent. Our server was not attentive at all which was kind of annoying. Would have been tough to eat a full dinner there at that level.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Hard Water
    Hubie
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Had an amazing feel coupled with a Whiskey flight. Can't go wrong with the food either. Go here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Hard time w/ service
    OaklandFoodie
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Took an important client here as thought the setting was unique and location was fun for an out of towner. Our server was terrible. Rude, never smiled, and when we asked her about the menu she was borderline offensive. She only half heartedly spoke to things and pushed the items that clearly are not what most folks would gravitate to--alligator being one of them.After we muddled through on our own, she came back to tell us they were out of lettuce so could not do any salads. Then they were out of another entree, can't recall which. She offered little apology (and it was only 7:30p so running out of items on such a limited menu was odd). She plunked down our receipt w/out offering dessert, which we wanted. That was at least great!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful food terrible seating
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Great food and drink, terrible seating. Hush puppies are delicious and perfect and so were all the other dishes we tried. The seats are so uncomfortable when I left my legs were some combination of tired, pained, and numbed. My butt was sore from the hard, hard seats. Also, no purse/coat hooks under the bar/counter is a minus. My husband also loved the food but said he won't go back because the place is so uncomfortable.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Top Notch Service, Great Food
    rareReveiwer
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    The food was much better than expected. Typically if you tell me "cheese and crackers", I think that will be okay. At Hard Water, It was amazing. They're service was Grade A. They were very attentive to us, made great recomendations and made us feel like their top customers. I will highly recommend this place to friends looking for a great place to eat in San Francisco, which is a very short list.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    They should not be on open table as they have 2 tables for dinner. That's it. We used open table to get a last min reservation .. when we got there we were told "I don't know why you were allowed to make a reservation on open table cause we have no place" The hostess was pretty rude. She "heard us" that we were 4 yet asked us to sit at a bar in a row for dinner. We were on a double date. We told her that the other table was paying up (she should have known this) so she asked us to wait. After that table was empty we waited for 15 mins as noone came to help us. Once we sat another 15 mins to getting menus. Our waitress was very sweet. They need more staff. Food was OK. Drinks were good. This is more of a Bar than a diner place.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Don't waste your time
    LoveSF
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    This place has non existent staff who when they do show up are rude! The cooks who eat and drink over the food they are preparing. The health department needs to visit this place and you need to think about how to spend your money on food and service at one of the many other great places in this city!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Not really a food lover's spot.
    Theoph
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    The whiskey and bourbon selection was awesome. And they new how to serve each selection appropriately. The food on the other hand, was quite disappointing. We ordered grits, pork skins, gumbo and macaroni and cheese. The grits were good and cheesy but everything else was extremely salty! My wife and i like a lot of salt but this was too much. The thing that concerned us was that it wasn't just one dish but all of them. The grits were also pretty salty but the cheese cut the saltiness enough so that we could enjoy them. Everything else was very difficult to eat. They should think about just having snacks and a whiskey bar.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Neat place but poorly exectuted
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/30/2014
    6 tiny baked oysters for $22. They were hardly cooked, not fresh and basically terrible. I have gotten oysters twice that size for half the price in SF The mac and cheese was fine but overall it was just a miss. I really wanted to like the place.... but there are too many other southern food restaurants that I know I like in SF
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • LellaVIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    De Maison oysters good, shrimp and grits delicous. Very busy, but when food came was good. Take your patience with you if its really busy as is only a small place. Recommend reserving. There are not any tables, but seating at bar and at counters around the sides, with a couple of tables near entrance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loud but Delicious
    LauraLizVIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    It was SO LOUD in there it was impossible to hear the 2 people I was with without shouting. That being said, the food (and drinks) were delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • SanFranFoodie72
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Service was great. Hostess and waitress were very welcoming and accommodating. Short wait time for food to arrive
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Interesting spot
    smudgeVIP
    Dined on 6/17/2014
    It was really quiet here at lunchtime but I can see how the bar scene could be really crazy -- in a good way. The server mentioned one could make reservations even just to come in for a drink so clearly that's the thing to do first time--especially. The menu is a bit limited for lunch but afterall it is a whisky bar first. We enjoyed the food and will go back for drinks.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Go for whiskey, stay for the food
    DougerVIP
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Food was amazing. We couldn't decide so we shared family style. We had baked clams, gumbo, mac n cheese, shrimp and grits and some outstanding chicken and waffles. Whiskey coctails were very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good review.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Food was good, service was okay. We will definitely go back, good restaurant/ bar in a good location. Definitely recommend it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food and Drink
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    Amazing selection of bourbon and delicious, well-made cocktails. All of the food we ordered was incredibly flavorful. Simple fare made with top quality ingredients and preparation. Service, unfortunately was not of similar quality. Multiple servers arrived to take our order--after we had ordered. At some point we seemed to get "forgotten," and was hard to get anyone's attention. All dishes arrived at once. Items added to bill which we did not order. Maybe an off night? Discombobulated overall. Service was very good on a previous visit. We'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pork Belly Crackling. Bomb Dot Com
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    Order the pork belly crackling. You won't regret it. Came for the ridiculous selection of whiskey but all we could talk about when we left was that darn pork belly. It certainly added to my belly but it was ah-maze-ing!!
    Special Features:
    scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I live for Gumbo!
    FlyingforFood
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    As a former New Orleans resident I am always on the lookout for great gumbo. Found some here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • No tables, just communal counters
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    The set-up of this place is more of a bar rather than a restaurant. Food was decent. Would recommend coming here for drinks.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just get the Fried Chicken
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    I understand you'll be tempted to order lighter maybe even healthier options, but just order the best thing on the menu: the fried chicken. They should offer the cheesy grits for lunch too.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrific food but too loud for us!
    PVfoodlover
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    We came here with a group of 5 and got one of the two tables in the bar/restaurant. It was right next to the door and quite chilly. The food was outstanding and it was a fun place to be. A very youthful scene, but too loud for us seniors (or any other group) to hear each other)! It is really best for two or three people who want a great drink, a fun "scene", and terrific food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Improve the Food or just be a bar
    DebE
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    The whiskey, bourbon selection, though expensive was outstanding. However, unless you are ordering raw bar, the food is terrible. The menu should be titiled "Fat, Fat and More Fat". Also, the cajun cooking theme is not representative of real dirty rice or anything else that is remotely cajun (i am sorry but i cook cajun food and it was not palatable at all). I do understand the scope - with the HARD WATER that you are serving, you want some grease to absorb in order not to have drunk patrons, but geez! some improvements need to be made....fast!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 53 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 20, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.9
    • Food3.9
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service3.7
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 135 reviews are from the Hard Water reviews archive.
  • Small but Great Food
    TootsVIP
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Love the location. Right near the water on the Pier. I went with my husband and daughter. Great place for adults not so great for kids. You sit at high counters and not really facing the people you are eating with. The food was delicious but they specialize in whiskey and bourbon which is fine if that is what you drink. I don't so the choices of cocktails is limited. Not a lot of choices for kids either. We ordered a bunch of their small plates which were delicious. We had the pork belly, alligator, and cheesy grits to name a few. So if you are going out for a quick meal and like bourbon and whiskey drinks and don't have children this is a great place.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Terrible Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    I had a reservation for 7:30. We arrived at 7:29. We were not seated until 7:40. We were not asked for our drink orders for another five minutes. At 8pm, when we still did not receive our drinks, we decided to leave. I would not recommend anyone to go here.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Southern Cuisine
    TMidge
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    The food was delicious and one of the most authentic southern cuisines I have encountered in San Francisco. An amazing array of whiskey with seasonal drinks that were perfection.
    Special Features:
    scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • noisy, good drinks by waterfront
    restorvwr
    Dined on 5/13/2014
    The lemon/citrus drinks were delicious, though at $11 a pop, not cheap. Did not try the food, none of it was finger-food like enough to be appealing as drink appetizers. Lots of young, loud people in the early part of the evening, which then mellowed out to more comfortable noise level. On a warm night, the bar seats near the windows, particularly facing the water are quite nice, but we couldn't get seated there. It's a pretty decor, with great lighting, but all the marble also makes the setting noisier.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic