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  • Hard Water

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

Hard Water Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://hardwaterbar.com/
  • Phone: (415) 392-3021
  • Hours of Operation: 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

    Both kitchen and bar close at 10pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: 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
We are located at Pier 3, The Embarcadero, San Francisco.

Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerVibrant Bar Scene
Diner Reviews
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Service was great. Hostess and waitress were very welcoming and accommodating. Short wait time for food to arrive"
    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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Food was good, service was okay. We will definitely go back, good restaurant/ bar in a good location. Definitely recommend it."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "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!!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "As a former New Orleans resident I am always on the lookout for great gumbo. Found some here!"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "The set-up of this place is more of a bar rather than a restaurant. Food was decent. Would recommend coming here for drinks."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "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."
    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. "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "Lively bar scene with a good looking crowd. All seating is barstools though, and they are not comfortable -- there is not a good place to put your feet, so it makes lingering over a meal problematic. Drinks are excellent, and good bourbon pairs well with the fried pork cracklins as a starter. Calamari small plate was tremendous. Out of 12 oysters ($44), 2 were so tiny we complained, and they did replace the minis -- price was high to send out sub-par oysters though. Menu can be tough to navigate sharing with picky eaters or pescatarians. Go with meat loving friends."
    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. "
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "The food was decent, nothing special. We had shrimp and grits, bone marrow, chicken liver pate, pork cracklings. We were served by 3 different bartenders over the course of our 2 hour dinner who mostly ignored us and we had to flag them down repeatedly. Seating is very uncomfortable and strange. Bar stools with no backs with no bar to rest your feet on, and at 5'5' I could not reach the bar ledge so my legs dangled all night. There are no tables, only bar and counter seating. On the good side, some others have commented that reservations were not honored, but were seated immediately on a Saturday night. I guess if you want to try some rare whiskeys this might be a reason to go, but otherwise there's not much to recommend. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Food menu is sparse, but good. Its all about whiskey and mixed drinks. No tables, just bar stools so not a place for a sitdown meal. Very cool display of 100s of American whiskies. "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "A return visit to Hard Water witnessed a continued commitment to their excellent whiskey selection. That is key, because the food and service were otherwise good, but not outstanding. Long waits between drinks and taking orders for drinks, cramped seating spaces, and tasty, but not mouth-watering small plates marked a nice evening out. And it seemed like the waitress was having a slightly hard day, a hint of surliness was evident."
    Dined on 5/6/2014
  • "While our party of four loved the drinks and the interesting, although smallish menu choices, we found all of the food to be overly salty for our tastes. The spectacular cocktails went a long way to dissipating the salt overload. "
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "The menu was interesting but overall not desirable and some things could have been hotter! Service was great!"
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Whiskey is the draw. What a list to choose from and a very knowledgable staff to assist. A bonus is the food is awesome. Especially the boudin balls, pork cracklings and creamy grits. This is high end southern."
    Dined on 4/29/2014
  • "Have never seen so many bourbons, ryes and other brown hard waters. Food is good but a small bowl of gumbo is priced too high. Pork-belly cracklings are phenomenal!!"
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Have been to Hard Water at least 7 or 8 times in the past 6 months. This used to be my go-to place however the last two times I have been there the menu has been changed, the old favorites are gone .. side of waffles (Boo hoo) and the seared sirloin steak and celery hearts to name a few. All the things I used to order! Also, noticed the last time I was there the drinks were a bit skimpy compared to previous visits. The food is good just wish they would stop changing the menu!"
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "When Hard Water first opened, people raved about it, and they're still thriving off that early buzz. The gluten-free fried chicken is pretty average, which is saying a lot since gluten-free friend chicken is hard to find. The sauteed calamari is so spicy it makes me wonder about the quality or source of the meat. All of the vegetable sides (collard greens, etc) were pretty inedible (bitter, overcooked) and I like collard greens, etc. It's loud, and I wouldn't recommend anyone come here with a group larger than 2, but the service was really good. They were friendly and accommodating. It's a scene, and you go for the scene. I wish I'd come in the early weeks when they were still trying. The menu isn't large enough for me to return. "
    Dined on 4/24/2014
  • "The food is initially interesting, but disappointing. There could be more lunch options. Most everything is very heavy on the carbs. The salads are great! Fried chicken with waffles weird. All brown, no colour. Waffles dry. Flounder tasteless. "
    Dined on 4/21/2014
  • "The wait staff was nice but didn't get our order right....at all. We ordered Calamari and got fried Alligator. The rabbit was actually 2 biscuits with tiny bits of rabbit on the bottom of the dish and we got the Flounder an hour + after we ordered it. It was a frustrating experience and I would not recommend this place to anyone. "
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Hard Water gives and gives, it's absolutely wonderful, from the decor to the food, it's a real joy to experience. I can't wait to return. C"
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "This is the place for an outstanding cocktail. Bartenders rock"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "My party of four enjoyed a lunch and drinks. Service was excellent. Food was delicious. I would have liked a more generous portion."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "I'd come back for a drink but not to eat. Everything was a little too salty. We ordered greens, chicken and waffles, rabbit stew and spicy pork cracklins. We expected t he cracklins to be salty, but every dish was overly salty."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "The food was delicious. Our table had chicken and waffles, rabbit, gumbo and lots of different cocktails. We also tried the alligator appetizer along with the cucumbers. The alligator didn't taste like anything more that the breading but it was good. I was hoping to actually taste the meat. The chicken was fried to perfection and it was a huge hit. The waffles were served with a pepper jelly rather than syrup. I am not a fan of peppers, in general, but this jelly was amazing. I am also not a fan of rabbit but it was done in a stew with dumplings and it was fantastic. The gumbo was smoky and very tasty. Excellent service. The stools are not comfortable and it's pretty loud in there during dinner time but these are my only complaints."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "Great ambience, and the gumbo was as good as we hoped. Great spot for lunch!"
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "Cool, counter top, simple southern styled food. Very much a cobo of a bar and a restaurant, so have a drink, grab something to eat, and enjoy the vast selection of whisky and bourbon."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Drinks were great! Gumbo was cold, too salty and not as good as I remembered it to be. Service was slow."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Great bar, decent food but pricey for what it is and terrible service. We were seated right away at our 7:45 reservation but waiting for 15mins for our water, 30mins to order our drinks waited 15mins to receive the drinks (45mins pass) we finally ordered our food. The food took another 30mins server never came back had to flag someone down for more water. This end up being a 3.5hr dinner for no reason. Will not be coming back Charles Pham needs to revisit as this is a beautiful venue with poor front of the house management."
    Dined on 3/28/2014