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San Francisco, CA 94111
Financial District / Embarcadero
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$30 and under
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Hard Water Details
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
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Late Night, Wheelchair Access, Wine
A word from Hard Water
We are located at Pier 3, The Embarcadero, San Francisco.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
Diners' Choice Winner
Vibrant Bar Scene
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
I requested a brand of whiskey,
that they did not have, amazing given the collection really - it was not that far out of a request really - and they served my Manhattan with Grand Old Dad. I guess it was a joke as he poking fun of me ordering a whiskey that was god forbid only 80 proof. Anyways, the food was good, but not incredible. Steak was great and did not care for the port belly."
Dined on 1/25/2014
As a lover of bourbon and southern
food, I wanted to love this place, but I found it be a bit disappointing. Nothing was horribly wrong by any means, but I doubt I'd return. Whisky selection is indeed astounding, but so is the overpricing. Food is ok but not great - we tried just about everything on the small menu and it all scored about a B. Service was just ok too - kinda slow and unfriendly. The room is beautiful and cool but the stools are just as painful as everyone says - very unpleasant after about 30mins. Won't be rushing back."
Dined on 1/25/2014
I met my sister here for a catch
up and it ended up being the perfect spot. She loves bourbon and good food, and this had both. We started with the baked oysters which were amazing, followed by a salad that was dressed in a buttermilk dressing. I had the pork chop which came with sweet parsnip puree which was outstanding. The wine list is short and sweet, which we appreciated - did not have to do much thinking to get a great bottle. It's definitely a hot spot - every seat was filled and the place had a great energy to it."
Dined on 1/23/2014
Good selection of fresh oysters.
Exceptional inventory of whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails. So-so gumbo. Mostly bar seating on uncomfortable wooden stools. Right on the water."
Dined on 1/17/2014
Great place for drinks. They have
an absurdly large selection of Whiskies. Definitely worth going back to."
Dined on 1/16/2014
Yes the food is very good, and the
oysters are a must have, but really you should come here to taste Bourbon. Flights or 1 oz. pours can get you a long way in exploring the library like wall of delicious golden liquid."
Dined on 1/13/2014
On a kick to find the best fried
chicken in the city, I ventured to hard water. Other than the glorious Mac n cheese, the other dishes including the fried chicken, baked oysters, little gem salad and black eyed peas were just fair. Don't be surprised in this small dining room to find no traditional seating but rather bar tall chairs eveywhere. Their bourbon and whiskey selection is very impressive and they do nicely priced flights. Service was uninspired, which was a real surprise for a Charles Phan restaurant. Our server was way too laid back and undoing to be the lead behind the food and Beverage bar."
Dined on 1/9/2014
Went with my friend and coworker
to celebrate her birthday and new career. We were seated at a window with a great view of the bridge. Service was excellent. Food and drink highlights were the presbyterian cocktail (lots of ginger, yum) and the rabbit with dumplings (ultimate comfort food). Had a couple of flights for dessert too. I will definitely come back."
Dined on 1/6/2014
My husband and I went here on a
recommendation. The food is great (Southern with a SF twist). If you love whiskey this is the place to be. However I would not recommend it for more than 2 people as it is all bar seating. The worst complaint we had was the chairs, we had sore butts at the end of the evening."
Dined on 1/4/2014
Seriously impressed with the
whiskey selection here (must be at least 100 offerings). We enjoyed raw and baked oysters and were very pleased. Service was reasonable. The other patrons made this experience very enjoyable."
Dined on 12/8/2013
I guess I was surprised it was all
bar seating. Even with a reservation, it seemed like the host had to ask if someone was using a spot along the wall. Very small menu. The alligator was delicious but didn't realize it was going to be drenched in an aioli. Could use a few more greens type dishes. The food overall was great and I love the idea of bourbon flights but its definitely not a place for dinner. Everyone basically would sit side by side along a counter unless you are lucky enough to get 1 of the 2 counter tables."
Dined on 12/10/2013
This is really a whiskey bar with
a few food items (good by the way) thrown in. An unbelievable selection of whiskies. The only complaint would be that the stools (no chairs) should have a foot rest as they are very uncomfortable after the first 15 minutes."
Dined on 11/17/2013
Great selection of all of the
above and more. Will definitely be going back the next time i'm in town"
Dined on 11/14/2013
So many whiskeys, including a lot
they have to climb ladders to get for you, are center court. The food is supposed to pair with them, but despite this new trend (hard alcohol with gourmet food), the hard truth is hard liquor numbs your tastebuds, so only the most flavorful (and salty) foods can stand up. I drank wine instead and was glad, despite the limited options, because the food really was pretty interesting. The rabbit, topped with biscuit crust, was good; the oysters, though so slow to arrive I thought perhaps they were in the Bay gathering more, were fresh and crisp. It has been impossible to get a reservation here -- and believe me, despite the casual look you must reserve. Probably more buzz than reality, but still worth a try."
Dined on 10/24/2013
The food was good, fried chicken
was very tasty and the waffle was amazing. However, we really went for the cocktails and I must say, they were a bit strange. I was surprised as they sounded really good on paper but were not very well balanced, especially the one with milk, orange and bourbon. It sounded really good but tasted like alcoholic milk. Unfortunately not great."
Dined on 9/3/2013
I've been to Hard Water twice and
will definitely come again. The food is excellent; however due to the configuration of the restaurant, this place is better for Happy Hour than a full meal. There are only 2 tables, the rest is bar seating. My biggest gripe is that the stools here are incredibly uncomfortable. All around, a good spot and worth a try."
Dined on 10/17/2013
The seating was a surprise. We did
not realize there was not a proper dining room. The food was very nice. Cocktails were de-lish. I'm not sure that I will be a regular but I would definitely recommend this restaurant to my friends. The fried chicken was perfect."
Dined on 10/12/2013
I love this place. This was my
third time visiting and it never disappoints. Top notch everything! Thank you. (Make a reservation!)"
Dined on 10/10/2013
it takes the food forever to come
out and things that are supposed to be hot were either cold or lukewarm. also, portions were small. the food was hit/miss. we liked the pork belly snack bit the collard greens were almost unpalatable as it was too acidic. the rosemary bread was cold and greasy but i can imagine it being good if it was hot. the sirloin arrived lukewarm...it was likely sittng too long. however, a great selection of whiskey. the noise level was high and you're seated close to your neighbors. so it's a great place for drinks but not for catching up with a group of friends."
Dined on 10/9/2013
it was hot, loud and there aren't
really formal tables to sit on. bar stools every where. definitely felt more like a bar than a restaurant. food was okay, drinks were great. we could frequently smell the bay which was terrible."
Dined on 10/5/2013
Went here to say goodbye to one of
my friends moving away who loves whiskey. They have a GREAT whiskey selection but you need a reservation to get in. No bar scene unless you have a reservation. Crowd wasn't as young as I was expecting. Service was quick but not the friendliest."
Dined on 8/31/2013
if you want a quick drink and a
snack- it will be ok. They guys loved the fried chicken sandwich. You want a glass of wine- this is not the place. The bar tender was not attentive. after all the hype - sure was disappointed"
Dined on 9/25/2013
The interior of the restaurant
left me cold, with the majority of seats facing the wall or window, this is not a place I would come with a group. The food is good, and I love the gluten free fried chicken, but over all the apps were stronger than the mains. Stop in for a drink and apps if your in the neighborhood, but don't plan to make a night of it."
Dined on 9/22/2013
Nice casual place with top-quality
drinks and food to match. Food is on the heavier side, but you can always start with some oysters. Impressive whiskey selection."
Dined on 9/22/2013
Very cool space on the water.
Service was less than attentive but friendly. Food was good, but this place really is a bar that serves high-end snacks/tapas. I'd call it a pub rather than a restaurant. Drinks were excellent!"
Dined on 9/16/2013
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