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  • Hard Water

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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 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

    Sunday:
    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

  • 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 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
  • "...save room for the bourbon! Little gem and chicory salads were perfect. De Maison oysters, although pricy, were cooked perfectly. Seafood gumbo delicious. The cracklings were yummy chunks of pork belly, great with a few dashes of their housmade hot sauce. Fried chicken was very good, lightly coated, not, greasy. And OH those whiskys!"
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "Really excellent experience. Seating is tight but the ambiance is great. When we ordered a bottle not on the list we were alerted to the fact by the appearance of two samples of similar wines - evidence of excellent front of the house training which every staff member from the manager to the host displayed. Everyone seemed eager to catch our eyes to provide any additional assistance. We sent back a chicken liver dish as it wasn't to our liking it was removed from our bill, the manager even asked for comments to take back to the chef. Very professional and appreciated. Food was delicious overall but needs a bit of polish; an acid component in some of the snacks to cut the fat, more texture for the gumbo, but other than that, top marks."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "It was the perfect venue for what I was looking for. While it's not traditionally "romantic" (i.e., candlelights and string quartets), it's a fantastic place for a date. The service is superb and the food/drinks are great. It's not cheap, but neither are you."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "This is a great place to have a cocktail with friends. Seating is somewhat limited so get there early to sit at the bar. The food selection is well...a bit limited. If you're not into alligator, there are a few other options, but not many."
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "every dish we order, mac & chees-chicken and waffles & gumbo was over salted. waited for horseradish for our oysters and it came when all the oysters had been eaten already. not a good experience"
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "It was one if those evenings where you keep thinking about the next opportunity to go back again! Thanks"
    Dined on 3/19/2014
  • "Our first time at Hard Water was a knock-out! Our service was amazing, the food and drinks were delicious, and our server, Brittany, provided impeccable service! Definitely make sure to save room for dessert ... really, it should not be missed!"
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "We had reservations for 7pm and we were sat outside while our table was being prepared ( which is normal). But then we waited 35 mins for drinks and by 8:15 we still had no news or our table so we just left.. The best part was that when we started to book another place on open table for 8:30 - hard water had availability! True bummer."
    Dined on 3/12/2014
  • "good food and interesting drinks but maybe shouldn't take reservations 15 minutes before close. was a rushed experience."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "Food was pretty good. Ambience was very good. Great place to go if you love whiskey and great cocktails. Waitress was bad - Unattentive, unfriendly, answered questions with one word reply which is unacceptable given cost of restaurant. Would be nice if they had more real tables for reserved dining. We were given heads up when we made reservation, but I didn't like the seating. Bar stools, sitting side by side as a group of 4 people."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Title sums up my review of Hard Water. Great whiskey and cocktails,very well made. Food not worth my time or money. Selection of oysters (2!??) were both fresh but pathetically small. Char crudo was OK. Both fried chicken and rabbit entrees were totally forgetable. We didn't even stay for dessert, had ice cream up the street."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "The bar is gorgeous. Whiskeys lined up with backlight. Several shelves. Just beautiful. The materials & decor from woods to old ocean supplies & metal cups makes this a very cool experience. We had a friend though who really needed a chair & all they have are stools. So for very short people (one woman couldn't reach the foot rest) & my other friend was uncomfortable despite the yummy food & fab drinks. I'll go again!"
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Cool layout and one of the best bourbon selections anywhere. This is not ideal for dates as it is noisy and there are only 2 actual tables. The layout is one long bar that wraps around the outside walls and a center bar. So you are always sitting next to people and not across. The fried chicken was excellent as well as the steak. The Gumbo was meh."
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "Hostess seems unclear on the reservation (and didn't check us in on Opentable). Drinks and appetizers went well enough, all very tasty but service disappeared for a while and mains took another 60-70 minutes to arrive and one was way too vinegary to do more then pick the occasional bit out of. Overall a disappointment from a place I've like in the past."
    Dined on 3/3/2014
  • "I made my reservation at the last minute for this popular small hot spot - it was Mardi Gras, so with the southern menu the place was very crowded on this holiday. The energetic surroundings and packed house did not seem to phase the service staff however- and we were greeted and taken care of well. We were offered a couple different options for where to sit and our server was efficient, friendly, and great with food suggestions. It was a really good experience, thank you!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "Food was sooo bad. The fried chicken was 3 small pieces of dried out chicken with no taste. We went on a Monday and I bet it had been cooked on the previous Friday. Cheese grits had no real taste. My wife had same reaction. Son thought steak was "OK". Would NEVER go back. Bar was busy. If you do ignore my warning just go for a drink."
    Dined on 3/3/2014
  • "If you are gluten free, this is the place to get your fried chicken. The chicory salad is the best in town. Even if you are from the South, you've never had grits like these. I'll keep coming back even if the bar stool chairs are uncomfortable."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Hard Water specializes in finest American whiskey. Excellent vintage American Whiskey collection. Outstanding drinks, food. For my lunch: Cocktail a la Louisiane (better than a Manhattan), 1/2 Dungeness crab (best crab dish ever), lemon meringue tart, scotch kisses. One of the best drinking and dining experiences I've enjoyed in recent years anywhere -- SF, LA, NYC. Kitchen team is top-notch. Should be ranked with the best kitchens in The City. Our bartender was simply one of the best we've ever met. Wish every bar and restaurant was as masterful as Hard Water. It's a bar, specializing in exceptional American whiskey, but the food is off the scale. Don't miss Hard Water."
    Dined on 2/24/2014
  • "You should know Hard Water basically only has counter seating, with very limited exceptions. I made a reservation for four, and with only counter seating available, conversation was awkward at best. Food and drinks were fine, but better for meeting a friend than for having a dinner out with another couple."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Nice place to go to drink whiskey with the guys. Room arrange is a little odd - with everyone at the long bars on either side of the room sitting with their backs to the action. Set up like a bar, but as it's reservation only it has more of a restaurant feel. So there is less socialization with the people around you, i.e., bring your own companion(s)."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "I had high hopes for this restaurant because it has a great location and a hipster vibe. However, the food was lackluster and not a great value, the service was inconsistent, and the bar stool seating is very uncomfortable—talk about having your legs cramped at a seat. I won't be going back."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "Hard Water is nothing but a bar that serves delicious and decadent New Orleans style food. That said, it is fine with me since sitting at a bar is most times an option we prefer when eating out. Don't plan on showing up and expecting to find an empty stool, make a reservation! Favorite dishes: The cracklings, best pork belly ever! The seafood Gumbo.......I can go on and on."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "noisy, uncomfortable seating, small portions, average tasting food, great cocktail."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "I really want to like this place, nice friendly staff, huge bourbon selection, tasty cocktails and a hip modern interior. Problem is the is horrible table arrangement. Two tables and the rest bar seating. Sitting at the bar is great, but only if there is two maybe three in the group, If there is no room at the bar you end up sitting facing a wall eating on a ledge. I made a reservation a few weeks earlier and requested one of the tables; it was a very important meeting. No one responded to my request. When I called to inquire about my request they said that the big tables were for walk-ins for 6 or more people. The night I was there, the table was empty, no walk-ins, we went to another restaurant."
    Dined on 2/11/2014
  • "Went in a hunch for lunch. Seating is all high stools which worked for us. Had the Gumbo, really tasty, though portion was small and not enough meat or sea food. Two orders would have made a full lunch. The desert was great! Shared a Chocolate mousse cake was great with tasty peanut butter Grenache. Also had a yummy fruit crumble of sorts. Would definitely go back again."
    Dined on 2/6/2014
  • "Expensive whiskeys, bourbons and ryes. Don't even think about ordering anything else. Food is a total bust. Do not, I repeat do not, eat the oysters (baked or otherwise.) Seating is strange - you can't talk to more than one other person, because you are wedged up to outward facing windows. Can't imagine this place will last."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "We showed up early for our reservation. No table available yet so we were told by the hostess to go to the bar next door at La Mar. We ordered champagne and drank half of it before our table was ready. We returned with our drinks and hostess said we couldn't drink them at Hard Water. Ok, no problem, we figured she'd take the glasses and have them returned to La Mar for us at some point in the evening. Uh, no. She expects my guy to take the glasses back to La Mar while I wait for him to return. "Fail". We left without ordering. (I rated food above because it's required and because the food - and service - at sister restaurant, OTD, is amazing). Even the grocery store clerk has better hosting skills."
    Dined on 2/4/2014
  • "Not sure this a restaurant really -- seems like it's a bar with food. It's a cool concept, but if you are coming looking to sit down at a table and enjoy the view because you are on the waterfront -- think again. You will sit on a stool facing the wall! Cool vibe, got us to try some whiskey drinks which we never drink. Our food was interesting and good -- but the stools are uncomfortable for a dinner stint. Hard to converse with anyone other than the person next to you -- and you don't really see anyone else anyway as you are facing the wall. Best seats are at the bar or at ONE of the TWO tables.... yes only two tables."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "The layout of the restaurant is strange as the seating is almost entirely at a bar and around the perimeter of the room. When we arrived on time for our reservation, our table was not ready and the hostess told us we weren't allowed to go to the bar for a drink because people were eating there. That was a big turn off. She did offer to get us drinks but unless you want bourbon the selection is not that good. Once we were seated, we did enjoy the food but continued to experience weak service - for instance even though we were seated at the main bar, it was hard to get someone's attention to order a fresh drink, and our food was delivered but we had no utensils and we finally had to get up from our seats to ask someone to get them."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "GREAT fried chicken!! Not my favorite slaw, but that's a personal taste issue --- but the soundtrack playing was THE BEST -- great American classics - and not so loud we couldn't hear each other talk. Can't wait to go back and try more on the menu. We went at noon and there was not a wait - nice bartender served us. Cute & yummy little Scotch Kisses a nice bite for dessert. I'm going after work for drinks, dinner, and great ambiance/music - can't wait!"
    Dined on 1/27/2014
  • "Everything was just great. Cocktails were intriguing with nice balance of usual and unusual components. Whiskey selection is insane with plenty of affordable options. It's also fun to watch the bartenders climb a ladder to reach the bottles in the upper shelves! The food was flavored a bit on the salty side for some dishes like the salad, but that only enhanced the whiskey-food affinity. We ended up with two piping hot deep fried entrées, but would love to be back for the other items. Service was well timed, and we never felt rushed, even though the place was full. Must come back!"
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "An American whisky bar at its best. The $20 flight is a must - five one ounce pours and not one of hem from Kentucky or Tennessee! Two from Colorado, one from New York, one from San Francisco and one from Oregon. Had this with the steak, and the different flavors complemented the meat in 5 unique ways. Finished of with an amazing chocolate mousse / peanut butter desert with French press coffee. Small, great vibe and great service - will definitely be back"
    Dined on 1/23/2014