Tower Bridge

I’ve spent more nights out in midtown Sacramento than I’d like to admit but I don’t even remember all of them. I’m a fan of a places that offer good drinks, atmosphere, and pizzazz. I’m not a big fan of clubs so those types of places are not on the list. There’s so many memorable places but I narrowed it down.

Thanks to my alcoholic tendencies, here’s a list of my top 15 favorite places to grab a drink in Midtown Sacramento.

  1. R-Street

Nothing like declaring a whole street as a favorite place to grab a drink, eh? Wikipedia would argue that this is in Downtown Sac if you draw the Downtown-Midtown line at 16th street but who cares? This street has many popular bars but there’s three bars in particular that get my love; Bottle and Barlow, Fox and Goose, and Shady Lady Saloon in no certain order.

Bottle and Barlow reminds me of the 1920’s Great Gatsby style and the drinks aren’t too expensive for my cheap taste. That combined with a nice outdoor seating area makes it great. My favorite drink choice is the “High-five and a Stage Dive”. There’s also an attached barbershop which is closed at night but looks hella legit.

Fox and Goose is an English pub that probably has the best poured Guinness in town. Good atmosphere with live music (sometimes) and outdoor seating area. Good for breakfast and dinner too. Only downside to Fox and Goose is the weird and inconsistent closing hours which I never seem to get right.

Shady Lady Saloon is a dark and lively atmosphere and the most popular bar of the three mentioned on R Street. The drinks are great with many of their ingredients being made in-house. It can become too crowded in here for my liking and the live brass band is nice but too loud for the small venue. You can escape the live music and go outside but the patio is small and filled with smokers. If it’s not super busy I like this place a lot. If it’s super crowded on a Friday or a Saturday night, I skip. Sometimes it’s too busy to even get served and I’ve walked out before as a result of poor service by bartenders. It’s not perfect but a nice place for a hot date.

  1. Tank House BBQ & Bar

One of my favorite spots. Pretty small indoor area but equally sized outdoor area. Has delicious BBQ and my favorite drunk snack, dirty tots. Great craft beers on tap, fair prices, cheap buckets of beer, BBQ, sports on TV; Tank House is a win all around in my book.

  1. Kupros Craft House

Good spot. Full bar and full menu built into an old Craftsman style home. Huge bar with good service, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and cool stained glass over the bar area and some outdoor windows. My favorite part of Kupros is their Craft Can Roulette where they pick a random craft beer can for $3. You never know what you’re going to get but that’s the fun of it and they’re usually pretty good.

  1. Monkey Bar

Best part of this bar is the orange felt pool table where nobody ever plays pool. On rare occasions the room is taken buy a group but most times I’ve been there it’s like a private pool table room surrounded by band posters covering the walls. Besides the pool table the food is high quality thanks to the neighboring Café Bernardo. Fair prices on everything.

  1. The Mercantile Saloon (FB page but no website)

Best gay bar in town and strong AF drinks. Just off-center from the main gay bar district tucked into the bottom floor of an old Victorian home featuring 2 bars and a large outdoor patio. This place is usually packed to the brim with people but you definitely meet some interesting characters. I generally only come here for the strong drinks, not to hang out too long.

  1. Thai Canteen

Not really a bar but more like 90% restaurant / 10% bar. I threw this one in the list because I treat this place like a bar, ordering non-stop saké and beer from the late-night happy hour menu is one of my favorite pastimes. Some great food although when I got back from Thailand it does not compare.

  1. de Vere’s Irish Pub

This bar is in Downtown Sac but it’s in the list because I like it. Cool Irish pub always playing sports on the TV with a bar in the back room as well. It’s always busy so it’s hard to find a seat if you eat food but it’s not too hard to get a drink. If clubbing is your thing this bar is right near many good clubs.

  1. Karma Brew

Hidden in plain sight and only enough room for like 20 people. Has an eclectic selection of beers, wines, and ciders along with a small selection of fairly-priced food. May be Sacramento’s best kept secret. Huge advantage of this place is the small space and intimate atmosphere. To be honest I’ve never even had their food. Good place to take dates or a friend to just chill and have a drink.

sacramento drinks

  1. Federalist Public House

This was a newer spot when I left Sacramento but I believe by now it’s firmly cemented its place in Sactown. Built out of a couple of 7 old shipping containers and serving their signature wood-fired pizza, this place has a great atmosphere. From what I remember it’s hot AF in the summer but you can cool off with a cold beer or their delicious house Sangria. The Sacramento Brew Bike stops here as well.

  1. “Barmuda Triangle”

Generally refers to the area around three popular dive-bars in Sacramento. Only Sacramento midtown locals know what the Barmuda Triangle is and the term is not wildly used outside of midtown so I’m officially welcoming you to the club. The “official” barmuda triangle may be up for debate but I believe they refer to Round Corner, Press Club, and Zebra Club, three kinda dingy dive bars. Admittedly I’ve never been to Round Corner and but Zebra Club is nice for a couple drinks and Press Club is poppin’ if you want to go clubbin’ for cheap. Side note: don’t go into the bathroom at Press Club.

  1. Der Biergarten

This place is different from the rest as it’s entirely outside and in the theme of a German Biergarten (obviously, as the name suggests). They used 2 shipping containers to build the spot and serve mostly litres of German bier and German food staples while patrons sit on communal benches just like in Oktoberfest in Munich. They have no TVs music or dance floor but rather corn hole and ping pong. Best to go before it gets super busy and can’t squeeze inside.

  1. Alley Katz

Great sports bar with 2 full bars, a huge selection of drinks, dart boards, pool tables, foosball tables and of course a bunch of TVs playing sports. A great spot for larger groups as they have so many places to sit. I went here to watch the World Cup 2014 and it was bananas. Not much else to say about it but it gets pretty busy at night and on the weekends.

  1. Hook and Ladder

Probably the most expensive/upscale on this list but that’s why I like it. The food is killer and the drinks are top notch for decent prices. Nice outdoor garden area and is open for brunch with mimosas on the weekends. Good for a date night.

  1. Blue Cue

As the name implies, it’s a pool bar, and yes, the tables and cue chalk are blue. They market themselves as a sports bar which doesn’t really fit but they found their niche I guess. I usually come here to play pool or celebrate a XOSO soccer win. Prices are in-line with my ideal but I can’t say too much about the food. There are other good spots to wander to from here so it’s a prime location.

  1. Pour House (now called Highwater)

Honestly I haven’t been here since it was purchased by new owners and renamed Highwater but Pour House used to be my go-to spot for nights out. There used to be a Vape shop in the back room bar which was great when I was vaping and as always the $2 train shots when the train went by. There’s definitely not a vape shop back there anymore and I don’t know if they do train shots either but it is what it is. Pour House’s food was great and their Moscow mule was the best in Sacramento. Live music was also a feature of Pour House. I’m not convinced Highwater can live up to Pour House’s reputation but I could be wrong.

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