Hard Water

4.6
455 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Southern
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.
What 455 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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I
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We took our best friends on a tour of our favorite bars — Hard Water was on the list!

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JM
Washington DC
45 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great crispy Brussels sprouts. And best fried chicken- with the pepper jelly it was incredible.

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J
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 1

Didn't actually need a reservation. Seating open and first come, first served.

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W
Sacramento
12 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Great selection of whiskey & bourbon. Sit at the bar and chat it up with the bartenders as they have great suggestions.

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HE
Toronto
56 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a fabulous little gem of a spot. High bar seating but the ambiance was very swanky yet casual and the food was delicious. We tried a variety of dishes and they were all well prepared. Brussel sprouts were unbelievably sweet savoury crunchy and soft. Great cornbread & fried chicken. You need to make sure that you are going well before they close as they are not open all night but it's totally worth it. Kitchen closes first.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent evening out tasting whiskey! Very knowledgable staff!

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BR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We had a good time at the Hard Water The small plates to share were yummy. We didn't realize it was a whiskey bar and when I ask for vodka the bar guy was put off and not so friendly. But as we talked to him and let him talk his trade and educate us on brown liquor he was much better and interesting
The food was easy and tasty

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FM
Portland
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing. Incredible experience.

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JM
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I took my best friend to Hard Water for a birthday celebration based on the menu. We are both 60+ and had a complete fun, festive time. She is not a bourbon drinker, and I only became one during our visit. Our server was wonderful, friendly and efficient. We tried lots of menu items, bourbon, cocktails, and wine. All delicious. Best grits ever!

Go. Enjoy. Celebrate.

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GN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 2

A bit loud for our group and we ended up shouting a bit to hear each other. Otherwise really great food and vibe.

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GM
Los Angeles
21 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

It’s definitely an after work watering hole. That said, the food was tasty and the bar tender (we ate at the bar) was wonderful. He shared his recommendations for food and didn’t mind that my dining partner and I didn’t drink (yes, we knew that this is a whiskey bar). Except for the fact that they’d sold out of our first choice for dessert, it was a really nice evening. Oh yeah, the host was also very gracious.

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V
1 review
Dined on December 11, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Loved the whiskey flights and the impeccable service. Some of the food options were awesome as well. I wish they had more comfortable seating :)

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IE
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Whiskey bar in SF!

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DN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the bar at Hard Water... the service is fantastic, always. Cocktails are well made and tasty. Great food to help absorb that third Manhattan.

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KS
Minneapolis
10 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Surprised at how good the food was - plus the range of Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye options. Favorite food included; Hush Puppies, Biscuit, Nashville Hot Chicken, Mac & Cheese, Brussels Sprouts. (pass on Cakes - Dry). Will recommend and go visit again - wish seating with a bit better and no restroom in restaurant - have to walk outside for it.

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AB
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

wonderful friendly spot, great decor for a casual spot, loved the cocktails

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G
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 2ambience 5

I went for dinner with clients and they did not have a table for me. They were understaffed and the service was very slow to start (took about 15 mins to get drink order). The staff was very knowledagble though on whiskey. This is definitely not a dinner place. Best to stop in for some whiskey as they do have an excellent selection.

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A
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Staff are super nice and accommodating. We originally had a dinner reservation for 2 but knew that 3 more people would be joining us later for drinks later. I told the hostess when we were seated and she told me it wasn't s probably, just to let her know before they came. She actually worked very hard and found us a table to move to once our friends joined us. 5 stars all around for the staff. They were fantastic.

Onto food - quite overpriced for what you got. I would say stick to drinks here. Food was very expensive and not large enough in portion to warrant the price.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambiance was poppin! Music was lit! Food = 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥!! We’ll be back!

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RH
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Drinks and food were great. Great Bourbon. The bartender literally chewed me out for grabbing a toothpick... ?

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 4

Bartender forgot my second beer, but then comped it for me, so the service recovery was great. Advise the honey fried chicken!

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RP
Las Vegas
4 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

When we first walked in, we thought we were in the wrong place. It's more of a bar setting than a sit down restaurant. However, when we ordered our food, we were so impressed. The fried chicken, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, and the jambalaya are a must have. Absolutely delicious! The drinks were a bit too strong for my taste but the food was fantastic. I would recommend this place.

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MT
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

I was pleasantly surprised by Hard Water’s industrial flare. The food was delicious and the bar height seating presented a laid back feel. I’ll definitely be a repeat offender.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Lots of whiskey selections. Good for happy hour

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L
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Ambiance and drinks were good. Food was nothing special and the service was poor. Staff was not friendly or welcoming. Would not come back

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PH
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

They could use a few more umbrellas outside, but the food was great!

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PV
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

This is for the American whiskey-lover, but the sheer range of choices, excellent bar food, and fun atmosphere takes it up several notches from just a niche concept. I've been back many times and always find something new to enjoy.

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OT
Kansas City
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food, great drinks. Close to the Financial District so there’s a lot of folks who come here after work.

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JM
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Very disappointed. And why even take reservations? Upon entering the restaurant at 7 for our 7 pm reservation, we were told the kitchen was closing in 5 minutes? Service was bad, food was ok and our experience was not good.

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OT
New York Area
55 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Hard water has one of the best selections of American Whiskey I have ever seen. The 5 story wall of Whiskey one faces upon entering this gem of a find is awesome in its scale and scope.

I highly recommend the flights as it’s the best way to learn anout and taste many of the amazing small production boutique producers they carry.

I want to thank Mike and his team for teaching me and my pal so much. Can’t wait to go back and get my graduate degree in whiskey over the holidays.

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OT
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was great, Food was great, and prices were reasonable. Would absolutely recommend.

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DC
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 2

Bad place for a date or romantic celebration. It's not the noise level (which is very, very high due to the high ceiling-- it's basically an echo box with 100 people shouting), it's not the food (the food is amazing! Fresh, inventive salads, satiating friend chicken-- most people come here for the drinks, but the food is not to be underestimated), it's the service. The bartender never asked what we wanted, had to be flagged down, got my order wrong...it was a Friday night and he was alone. I blame the management, not him. But still

The one upside is we were 15 minutes late to our reservation, which made me feel like a jerk. But the hostess had saved our seats! I was so grateful and thanked her profusely. All the servers were just oblivious to our existence, despite the fact that we were ready to spend a lot.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 30, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Well cared for...good conversation with our waiter. Enjoyed ourselves.

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KC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Excellent whiskey cocktails and whiskey selection. Reservation required.i called several times during business hours to answer a question the bar had about my reservation but no one answered. I couldn’t leave a message because the message mailbox was full. Friendly staff. No bathroom in bar so need to go outside meant walk to bathroom.

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s
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Being from Kentucky I can honestly say this is one of my favorite spots EVER. Amazing elevated comfort food and a truly GIANT bourbon list. A MUST TRY, it's definitely a unique experience. 10/10

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CB
San Diego
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This location is right next to the water-front so it's an awesome spot to take out of towners in particular who love to wander around before or after. The restaurant itself is gorgeous inside. There's a ton of delicious small bites on the menu so it's easy so share with a group. My favorite were the hush puppies in particular. The drinks were also really yummy. They had a pinot noir on the menu that tasted like an orange wine--some really interesting choices that were fun to peruse and sample. Overall, great spot. My only negative was that the music was SO loud we could barely hear each other across the table. Also, the playlist was a little funky. but other than that it was a great experience and I would highly recommend it.

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AB
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 3

We were not notified of the kitchen closing till we asked for food. Ideally that should have happened when we seated - especially when they gave us the full menu.

The whiskey bar was good though.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were seated outside and enjoyed all the activity. The Manhattan with Angel's Envy bourbon was one of the best I've had.

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AI
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely love the selection here! They have a lot of hard to find bottles and it's amazing to see them all lined up on the walls.

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BB
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fun place. Great people watching from outdoor tables. Food was great.

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