Katie Sweeney

Correspondent

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Katie Sweeney is a correspondent based in San Francisco who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. A Bay Area native, she was one of the founding editors of PopSugar’s online food destination, YumSugar. An adventurous eater with a flair for parties, Sweeney is constantly tracking down the city’s newest pizza places, cocktail hot spots and neighborhood dive bars. She chronicles her escapades as a San Francisco girl-about-town on her website, Six Twists. She also writes for Eater, Grub Street and CitySearch.

  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What is the hottest nightclub in San Francisco?

    San Francisco isn't a town that is known for its nightclubs. Locals prefer to see and be seen at trendy restaurants and popular bars instead of packed nightclubs. That being said, I believe there are a couple of nightclubs worth checking out, if that is your thing. These places are the hottest in my humble opinion.

    Mighty, located in Potrero Hill, is a square-shaped club that has a great scene and an assortment of DJs, musicians, and bands roll through. The space is industrial chic with a brick wall behind the long bar and high concrete ceilings.

    Supperclub is a chain of nightclubs that promotes itself as a 'feast for the senses.' The San Francisco club has low lighting, a circular bar, and beds to lounge on. There is an upstairs area that allows dancers to show off their skills.

    Cat Club, the seediest nightclub of the bunch, is an awesome place to let loose and get your dance on. Thursday nights are incredibly popular because the music is all 80s, all the time.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where are the best places to go dancing in San Francisco?

    Most San Franciscans avoid the downtown club scene because it generally draws a crowd of non locals, whom natives refer to as 'bridge and tunnelers' because they enter the city by crossing a bridge or coming through a tunnel. Well known nightclubs like Ruby Sky, Harlot, Infusion Lounge, and Slide, are somewhat seedy and attract young drug-using partiers. I advise against checking them out on a weekend night.

    Instead, go to a popular establishment that is known to play a mix of top 40, classic dance, and hip hop songs. The upstairs bar at Le Colonial transforms into a super fun dance floor around 10 PM on weekends. Blondies, in the Mission, is another bar that locals flock to for a great dance scene. For an outrageous night, try the Cat Club, which is known for it's lively characters and rave-like scene. If you're into hip hop and rap, Double Dutch, also in the Mission, is the ideal spot to bust a move.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What would be a perfect date night in San Francisco?

    For me, a perfect date night in San Francisco involves a meal at one of the city's top restaurants followed by drinks at a nearby establishment. Choose a restaurant and bar that are within walking distance and on the same level of formality.

    For date night downtown, start with dinner at Gitane. Located on the adorable Claude alley, you'll be instantly transported to another place. The lounge and bar at Gitane, which specializes in Spanish and Basque cuisine, are particularly sexy. Afterward walk around the street to Rickhouse for a whiskey-fueled nightcap. The lighting is low and the atmosphere intimate.

    For a Mission district date night, go to dinner at Central Kitchen where chef Thomas McNaughton specializes in high end Cal-Italian cuisine. The covered patio is romantic and comfortable. When dinner is over, pull up a couple of bar stools at Trick Dog, the bar next door. The changing cocktail menu features some of the city's best drinks.

    For a date night in North Beach, begin with a meal at Park Tavern. This Washington Square Park restaurant offers delicious renditions of American cuisine, think spicy deviled eggs and perfect roast chicken, in a chic and bustling setting. Grab an after dinner cocktail at Toni Nik's, a dark watering hole that has been serving up classic concoctions since 1933.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best sports bars in San Francisco?

    One of the best sports bars in San Francisco, Public House, is located at AT&T Park, home of the 2012 World Series Champions, the SF Giants. Public House has a massive selection of craft beer on tap and plenty of state of the art flat screen televisions. The menu consists of upscale versions of classic bar snacks like chipotle buffalo wings with housemade ranch and soft pretzel bites with porter mustard.

    If you prefer a dive-y sports bar, head to the Bus Stop in the Marina or Greens on Polk Street. Both of these establishments have been providing locals with affordable drinks and round-the-clock sports for years.

    For those looking to watch a soccer match, Mad Dog in the Fog, in the Lower Haight is your best bet. Most soccer leagues are shown on one of their many TVs and there is a back patio and a decent selection of beer. Pub food, like fish and chips and bangers and mash, are on the menu.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where are the best cocktails in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a cocktail lover's city and the bartenders here take their drink-making seriously. Look in any neighborhood and you'll find several craft cocktail bars where the staff make their own bitters and tinctures, fill the shelves with artisanal spirits, and offer a unique selection of classic and modern libations.

    15 Romolo and Comstock Saloon are two favorites in North Beach. They are within walking distance of each other and make a great mini cocktail tour of the city. 15 Romolo is a modern speakeasy with Pimm's Cups and fried chicken sandwiches on the menu. A juke box always plays in the background. Comstock Saloon has an old time feel with a live jazz band most nights and excellent preparations of classic drinks like the Southside and Negroni.

    Other noteworthy bars with exceptional cocktails are Rickhouse (known for its collection of whiskey and punches), Elixir (a dive with the city's best bloody Mary bar), Smuggler's Cove (a tiki bar that has many hard to find rums on hand), and Trick Dog (San Francisco's newest cocktail bar that has a line around the block on weekend nights).
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best ice cream in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is an ice cream lover's city and there is something for everyone from the old school ice cream purist to the modern flavor evangelist to the the gelato aficionado.

    If you're after a classic ice cream experience, stop by Swenson's Ice Cream on Hyde Street. Opened in 1948, this is the original Swenson's store. Traditional flavors like cookies 'n cream, rocky road, and strawberry are on the menu.

    For an unusual ice cream adventure, head to Humphry Slocombe in the Mission District. This avant grade ice cream shop is known for its outlandish flavors like Secret Breakfast (bourbon and toasted cornflakes) and Elvis The Fat Years (banana and brown sugar).

    Looking to savor a scoop or two of gelato? Ciao Bella at the Ferry Building offers creamy, smooth, and delicious gelato in flavors like hazelnut and mango.

    Other popular ice cream shops include Bi-Rite Creamery, which introduced the world to the salted caramel flavor, and Smitten Ice Cream, which makes ice cream to order using liquid nitrogen.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best makeup stores in San Francisco?

    Big name makeup brands like Mac, Nars, and Khiel's all have stand alone stores in San Francisco. There are also two locations of Sephora — one downtown directly in front of the start to the cable car line at Market and Powell Streets and another in Cow Hollow on Union Street.

    If you're looking for locally made lipstick or lipgloss, check out Elizabeth Street Cosmetics. This boutique collection of lip products are named after the streets of San Francisco and were hand crafted by Kelly Crispen, a makeup stylist with over fourteen years of experience. All of her products are free of parabens and infused with antioxidants and hints of vanilla. My personal favorite is the Indiana lipgloss; it's a brilliant berry hue that saturates the lips in vibrant color.

    Although it's a nationally known brand, Benefit Cosmetics was founded in San Francisco over thirty years ago. They produce everything from powders to shadows to signature products like the Benetint cheek stain and package everything in inspired designs with irreverent names. There are three stand alone Benefit boutiques throughout the city.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best outlet shopping in San Francisco?

    There are not too many well known outlet shops in San Francisco. Nordstrom Rack is located on Ninth Street, but the store is often messy, understaffed, and picked over. If you're searching for designer deals, head out of the city to Petaluma, Livermore, or Gilroy. Forty minutes north of the city, up highway 101, you'll find the Petaluma Village Premium Outlets. There are lots of shops to peruse: Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Levi's, BCBG Max Azria, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brother to name a few. About forty minutes east of the city, you'll come to the recently opened Livermore Premium Outlets. The highlight here is the Bloomingdale's Outlet Store. There is also 7 for All Mankind, Burberry, J. Crew, Prada, and Lucky Brand. About two hours south of San Francisco are the Gilroy Premium Outlets. This massive outlet has Juicy Couture, Lacoste, Nike, Coach, and French ceramics maker Le Creuset.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best yoga studios in San Francisco?

    There are countless yoga studios in San Francisco. However, in my opinion, the top three are Urban Flow, Yoga Tree, and Aha Yoga. Urban Flow, which is located on Mission Street near South Van Ness, offers vinyasa-based classes that are generally in a heated room with a state of the art sound system. Urban Flow was founded by Rusty Wells, a yoga guru with a massive cult following in San Francisco.

    There are seven Yoga Tree studios throughout San Francisco along with a teacher training center and retreat in Sonoma. There are plenty of classes in a wide variety of styles, from acroyoga to hatha to yin, and even yoga for kids. Classes are offered all day for $18 each.

    Aha Yoga promotes itself as a center for health and healing and is located on Union Street at Laguna in San Francisco's Cow Hollow district. Instructor Jennifer Jarrett is a favorite — her classes move at a fast pace and feature vinyasa flow yoga. The rooms are filled with light and have sustainable bamboo floors.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best places to buy shoes in San Francisco?

    San Francisco has its fair share of shoe stores. There are high end destinations like Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo as well as low end stores like Nine West and DSW. Most of these stores, however, are not unique specifically to San Francisco and their shoes can be found all over the world. If you're truly looking for a distinctive shoe experience head to Freda Salvador's flagship store on Union Street. The footwear company features a line of cutting edge wearable contemporary shoes and boots that are produced in family factories in Spain and Central America. All shoes are made with the best leather and highest quality products.

    Another great store with an excellently curated offering of shoes is Heidi Says Shoes in Pacific Heights. This Fillmore Street boutique is a part of the local chain of shops all under the HeidiSays name. The shoe salon has designs by a variety of American and International designers like Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Missoni, and Pura Lopez.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What new dance shows are in San Francisco?

    From modern dance to classical ballet, San Francisco has plenty of options for enjoying a dance performance. The ODC Company is presenting a Summer Sampler the weekend of August 2-3, 2013. This show of the internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company will feature choreography by Kimi Okada, Kate Weare, and Brenda Way. The Joe Goode Performance Group will be debuting a new modern piece, Hush, on September 26, 2013. The show will run through October 5th and uses dance to explore the ways humans are hushed by society.

    The San Francisco Ballet has finished its 2013 season. The company is currently on tour and will not take to the stage again in San Francisco until early December with their annual production of The Nutcracker. Performances of the beloved Christmas ballet run from December 11 through December 29th. The company's 2014 season is January 25 to May 11, 2014 and ballets like Giselle, Firebird, and Cinderella are on the schedule.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best scenic drives in San Francisco?

    At just seven by seven square miles, San Francisco is a relatively small city. However, it's somewhat difficult to navigate by car — there are countless one way streets and many formidable-looking hills. If you do find yourself in a car and want to take a scenic drive around the city, start by following the 49-mile scenic drive. The route is marked by blue and white signs and leads you all over San Francisco past landmarks like the Civic Center, Japantown, Union Square, Chinatown, the Transamerica Pyramid, North Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor, and the Presidio. It's an incredibly comprehensive tour of the city and will probably take about two hours to complete.

    Another drive, that's not quite as scenic, but is certainly worth doing, is down San Francisco's most famous street, Lombard Street. Known as the 'crookedest street in the world,' it's fun to slowly make the winding drive down this steep hill.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best art galleries in San Francisco?

    Walk around the streets near downtown San Francisco's Union Square and you'll stumble upon a wonderful collection of art galleries. If it happens to be the first Thursday of the month, you're in luck. That's when all of the galleries open their doors and invite the public in for a free evening of art, nibbles, and wine.

    The first stop on your gallery crawl should be at Caldwell Snyder on Sutter Street. The 30 year old gallery features new exhibits monthly and specializes in a variety of 21st century paintings, sculpture, drawings, and prints. The curators at Caldwell Snyder are known for bringing in big name Latin American and European artists who wouldn't otherwise be found in the United States.

    Walk down the street and around the block to Post and you'll come to The Dolby Chadwick, another superb gallery worth visiting. Founded by Lisa Dolby Chadwick in 1997, the gallery represents emerging and early career artists from all over the world. Exhibits include drawing, photography, print making, sculpture, and oil painting.

    The last gallery that's not to be missed is the Fraenkel Gallery on Geary Street. Established in 1979, the Fraenkel focuses on photography and everything it encompasses from how the medium has evolved over time to its relation to other arts.
  • On June 14, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best holiday events in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a beautiful place to celebrate the December holidays. There are several brilliant Christmas trees on display. The first is in Union Square, which is transformed into an ice skating rink. The second is at Pier 39. When I was growing up, my family would always visit this massive tree. You can enjoy a bowl of clam chowder or an ice cream sundae at one of the shops nearby. The Embarcadero also has its own ice skating rink, one that is a little larger than the Union Square rink. Local hotels get in on the holiday spirit, too. The Grand Hyatt has a massive hanging light display and miniature train exhibit, while the The Fairmont is home to an extraordinary life size gingerbread house. Of course, no holiday season should pass without a show and San Francisco Ballet's rendition of The Nutcracker is superb. The American Conservatory Theater's annual production of A Christmas Carol is another great show that is not to be missed.
  • On June 14, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best beaches near San Francisco?

    When planning a trip to a beach near San Francisco, the first thing you need to know is that it will most likely be foggy and cold. Occasionally the beaches are warm enough to be in a bathing suit, but this only happens a few times a year. Also note that the average temperature of the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco is in the mid-50s, so it's never really hot enough to swim. Still with a sweater, blanket, and picnic, the beaches can be quite enjoyable.

    For a view of the Golden Gate Bridge head to Crissy Field or Baker Beach. To watch the sunset over the Pacific, Ocean Beach is your best bet. Natives to the Bay Area love to head to the cost and spend a day at one of the beaches in Marin. Stinson Beach has a small seaside town feel and family-friendly beach access. Tomales Bay is home to the Hog Island Oyster Farm, which is a great place to spend an afternoon eating fresh local oysters with a beautiful view as a backdrop.