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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
  • "The good is southern. Not many healthy options. I would go back from drinks just not dinner."
    Dined on 8/17/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "but much more of a bar that serves food than a traditional dining experience. amazing selection of whiskeys"
    Dined on 8/10/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Best fried chicken ever. Everything was absolutely delicious."
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "When we arrived at 2:00pm per reservation ,$20.00 cab ride, sign on door read closed do to equipment failure?"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Had an amazing feel coupled with a Whiskey flight. Can't go wrong with the food either. Go here!"
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    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
  • "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 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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "A beautiful informal setting with a full view of the kitchen from the bar in this litle gem on the Embarcadero. We stumbled on Hard Water on a Sunday afternoon, and were able to get seated immediately. The bartenders - who were also our servers - did great job at both. And the food? Aw man - we still talk about it. If you're a whiskey buff, there's an entire library-type wall o' whiskey behind the bar - odds are you can find that elusive drink that you've been searching for at Hard Water."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "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