Hard Water

4.6
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492 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 492 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
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great venue on the embarcadero's scenic waterfront. Great selection of whiskey and the oysters and fried chicken were fantastic. Will definitely be part of my rotation of bars in SF.

BS
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We sat at the bar, and really enjoyed the ambiance. We'd been there 2 nights in a row, and had a great time both times.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Nice drinks.

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Why haven’t we come here sooner? A new after work favorite! Been here twice and the service was exceptional both times. Fun food menu and mind boggling selection of the hard stuff. I’ve many a visits to try something new here.

n
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always awesome. Great ambiance; amazing drinks. Helps to make reservations when you have a party during a hh window.

JJ
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall5food1service3ambience5

This IS NOT a restaurant. This is a bourbon bar with a very limited bar menu. The bourbon selection is amazing.

LS
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We loved everything about Hard Water, with the exception of the seating. We were a group of 8 and had to crowd into a table and stools barely big enough. The space could have been set up with several small tables instead of primarily a long bar. The food is so good, why not feature a comfortable way to sit and enjoy it?

LM
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Very noisy. But The degustation of whyski was interesting ...

OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and whiskey flights

OT
San Antonio
4 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bartenders got drinks out quickly maintaining quality!! The cracklings were our favorite!

F
Nashville
8 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Nice location at Pier 3. The service was great. The servers were very attentive. Great variety of upbeat music played at a volume that did not disrupt conversations. The Restaurant and bar design with whiskey display reminds me of 1800s pharmacy.

The menu on Open Table is outdated. The actual menu is limited. A majority of the entrees have been eliminated. There are no brussels sprouts or poboy sandwich options.

There is a full service bar, but the specialty is whisky. Only one type of vodka available. They make their own tonic water that results in a ginger ale like coloring for a simple vodka tonic. While the server assured me that their tonic was superior to commercial tonic, it tasted like flat tonic with no flavor to me.

The spinach dip was by far the best thing we ordered. The hush puppies were also good. 3 bbq oysters for $18. The oysters were tasty but small. It was a generous portion of fries, but the fries on the bottom were stale. We could barely chew those. This was true for two separate orders.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Waitress could not describe the types of oysters available and yet kept refusing to go find out.

TG
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hard Water is my favorite place to eat on the Embarcadero. Best service, amazing cocktails and the food is outstanding. For me, it is a must have whenever I visit San Francisco.

ID
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

You cannot beat the location for ambiance. Outstanding selection of whiskey . I drink my bourbon neat so it has to be really good and I have never been disappointed at Hard water . I my friends said that the fried chicken was out of this world . I think their French fries are some of the best in the city and the shrimp and grits is to die for .

JM
London
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place especially on a sunny afternoon in the city. Great staff who can accommodate a custom tasting. My group had a fantastic time.

LE
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Late lunch and whiskey tasting with girlfriends. Our server was excellent and new the menu both drink and food and steered us towards treats that topped off a great day. Seating is on a stool and isn't comfortable for everyone. Seats with backs would be a nice addition.

OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

It’s good for drinking and socializing. For people who are looking for relaxing dining experience, this is not the place to go. The restaurant looks more appealing in pics.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great selection of whiskeys at decent prices! And the good was amazing! We went middle of day so not busy, so able to enjoy much better :-)

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great setting for an incredible selection of bourbons and whiskeys. The small bites are great though the pomme frittes were disappointing. Highly recommend for drinks after dinner or before a night out.

HH
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Lunch on a Saturday. Delicious food. Excellent whisky collection.

e
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bday, they did something special!!

SG
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience2

Not much to look at, but if you want to enjoy pours of very rare very high quality whiskeys, this is a must go place

NA
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Beautiful space, with a chef who knows food. We were ready to dive in deep, order more than enough food because everything sound delicious, but our server made us second guess that thought. We decided to only order a few things due to the lack of hospitality or care. When you have to say hello to your server, there is a problem. You are only as strong as your weakest link...

OT
Grand Rapids
4 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Amazing place to eat if you don’t mind noise

OT
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great fried chicken and biscuits. This is my favorite spot for bourbon and the good food is a plus.

B
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We had a reservation and our table was ready when we arrived. Good and friendly service. We ordered some snacks and they were tasty. Unfortunately it was so loud we thought we had placed an order for oysters but our server didn’t hear us.

The drink selection is the big draw. Two of us ordered whiskey flights and these were outstanding - a good variety within a category, which is exactly the point of ordering a flight. Others had beers and wine - everyone in our group enjoyed their drinks, we never felt rushed, and we had a good time. The down side was the price - but that’s not unusual for San Francisco. I will definitely book for Hard Wayer again in the future.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and drinks!

c
Pittsburgh
22 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Visiting my son for his 25th birthday, and all being whiskey lovers, this checked off all our boxes. Lots of flights to choose from, and great whiskey cocktails. Had the fried chicken with 4 or 5 small plates between the 5 of us. Perfect. Food really good, and sitting out on the bay made for a memorable evening.

s
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Must go for the bourbon and rye selection as it is amazing!

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience2

Reservation wasn't honored, host didn't communicate well (waitress was great) Oysters weren't footed, chicken was dry and biscuits were raw...

JJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

4 stars for food: my group did not order any food; however we saw the food that other groups ordered and they looked great.

MA
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was our 1st time experiencing Hard Water. Our reservations or at 4 o'clock on a Saturday. We arrived 5 minutes to our reservation and was given options on where we could sit. My husband and I chose the bar. All of the bartenders and servers were excellent in answering questions, keeping our drinks filled and made time talking about our interests and what our visit to SF was for. I myself am not a whiskey drinker I was scared to order but the staff assisted me in selecting something per my taste through questioning my likes abd dislikes and sure enough hit it out of the ballpark. We will definitely be back!!!! And the good before I forget... small plates with HUGE taste... we shared the chicken, mac n cheese, and PB Chocolate pie... all so yummy.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

It was a small space but the food and service were great!

AB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The Nashville style spicy fried chicken only had flavor in the crispy skin. If the chicken itself, which was cooked nearly perfectly had some more flavor. I would give it 5 stars across the board.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience4

Cool place. Seems some of the staff do not like customer interactions. One in particular (owner’s son or family member?) may have been having a bad shift, but came across annoyed and condescending in every attempted conversation. Would not recommend based off this interaction but willing to give another chance because of the fantastic whiskey options.

n
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hard Water is my go-to place. The service is consistent. The selection is wide. The ambiance is perfect - with a spectrum of times to choose from (come earlier for that happy-hour FiDi crowd, come later for that late-night murmur). The views are amazing and easily accessible (parking at Embarcadero is across the street and the space is easily accessible for Lyft/Uber/Ride-du-jour drop-off). Security is top notch (it's next to the Bloomberg West offices and consequently you will see 2-3 finely dressed, welcoming security personnel patrolling the premises).

MM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Stuart the bartender was Awesome, I was looking for to try a different whiskey that way I normally order, I asked for a whiskey rye and Stuart brought out this Hill Rock whiskey and it was excellent.

I
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

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

JM
Washington DC
45 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

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

J
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall2food4service2ambience1

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

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