Zagat reviews and rates 651 bars, clubs and lounges in Northern California in the updated guide, which serves as a resource for locals and tourists who want to know the hip places but don’t want to sacrifice a night looking for them.
Nearly 3,000 participants — people who go out at least twice a week — provided input for the survey.
The winner for overall satisfaction is the Highlands Inn in the Park Hyatt in Carmel. Otheroverall favorites are the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley and Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, along with the previously mentioned Gary Danko and Fillmore.
Best décor winner is the Paramount Theatre in Oakland; Seasons Bar in the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco got top marks for best service. Mecca and El Rio in San Francisco were voted as best gay venues, BIX in San Francisco for jazz club, and the Albatross Pub in Berkeley for beer specializing.
For wine lovers, the book rated Tra Vigne in St. Helena, and Hôtel Biron and Bacchus Wine in San Francisco as the hottest wine bars. For best kegs, Monk's Kettle and La Trappe in San Francisco were named the best in town.
Other favorites in The City are Pied Piper Bar, for best after-work stop; and Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe, for best coffeehouse. Farallon, with its underwater fantasy atmosphere, earned marks for best themed restaurant.
Notable new and renovated places include Epic Roasthouse and Waterbar along the Embarcadero and a more low-key Perry's Downtown.
The “San Francisco Nightlife 2008/09” guide costs $14.95.