It’s really pretty simple. Some nights, all we want is to sit at the bar, alone, and order a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine. It’s one of life’s greatest combinations, and a type of self-care that’s hard to beat (no offense to baths). Still, when you’re looking for the perfect place, there are some factors that guarantee success: a relaxed atmosphere, a nice bar where you can sit, and, of course, great pastas and wines by the glass. Here are nine great options.
Cotogna in the Financial District works for many situations: a team dinner, a sexy little date night, or a celebration with friends in honor of you finally buying that cute bed frame. But the Italian restaurant is also built for walking up to the bar and settling in with a face-sized raviolo and a glass of wine. Their pastas are our favorite thing on the menu, from the aforementioned raviolo stuffed with ricotta and a gooey egg yolk to the triangoli filled with a silky smooth corn puree. If you can’t narrow down your pasta choices to just one dish, we fully endorse getting two.
Itria is a new spot in the Mission with excellent pastas and crudos, but it’s also a great option for the next time you want to escape your overly-chatty roommate and be alone for the night. Their airy, bustling space has a long bar that’s available first come, first served. Grab a seat there and sip on some wine while getting into a bowl of their house-made pastas - we like the gramigna with a tender pork and beef ragu.
It’s been a long day of deciphering whether your coworkers were being passive-aggressive to you on Slack or if that’s just how they type. Sounds like you’re in the market for a bowl of pasta, a glass of wine, and some serious alone time. Pearl 6101 in the Richmond and its friendly neighborhood feel and long, curved bar is here for you. Bar seats are reserved for walk-ins, so you can drop in and get cozy with a plate of their handkerchief pasta with rich, white bolognese, and people watch from your perch.
Romanticizing your life while sitting solo at Nopa’s bar is practically a rite of passage in this city. The classic SF restaurant is one of the first places we send people who are new to town - it’s laid-back, inviting, and has excellent food that works well for any occasion. They save room up at the bar for walk-ups, so you can twirl their pappardelle bolognese around your fork while contemplating how you’ll someday furnish your imaginary Pac Heights mansion.
For a more casual bar and pasta situation, hit up The Italian Homemade Company on Union. The Cow Hollow location has bar seating and wine by the glass or bottle, and all of the pastas hover around $15, making it one of the less expensive options on this list (plus, the portions are pretty big). You can mix and match sauces with their fresh, house-made pastas - our go-to is the pappardelle with bolognese or the tortellini with butter and sage, but it’s pretty hard to be disappointed here.
Sure, there’s technically only one pasta on the menu at Ernest, and if you’re coming here - one of the hottest restaurants in the city right now - you’ll probably want to order more than just one dish. But now that the Mission spot has opened their bar for walk-ins, it’s almost too easy to casually swing by on a random weeknight and post up with their decadent uni carbonara and a glass of orange wine. It’s kind of a power move, and one you should definitely consider making the next time you want to sit alone and scroll through your ex’s Twitter likes in peace.
Barzotto literally advertises itself as a wine and pasta bar, so we are contractually obligated to include it on this guide. But that’s not hard to do, since the Mission spot is churning out great pastas, like a bucatini with spicy tomato sauce and guanciale that you’ll be very glad you’re not sharing with someone else. Hunker down on one of the wooden barstools while you nurse a $10 glass of house red and contemplate buying a one-way ticket to the Italian countryside.
If you’re desperately in need of comfort in the form of carbs and cheese, but want an experience that’s a little more chic than eating boxed Annie’s straight out of the pot, swing by Che Fico Alimentari in NoPa. Seats at the bar are available first come, first served, so you’ll have a bowl of their fantastic rigatoni amatriciana in front of you in no time. And you’ll definitely leave here feeling much better about getting through the rest of the week.
The Italian American spot in Bernal Heights is home to tons of fun, eclectic decorations like a giant horse mural, cheetah-print tables, and colorful hand-drawn menus. In other words, come here if you need to be cheered up after a sh*tty day, preferably with a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and a glass of wine. The servings are huge, too, so you’ll probably head home after and immediately crash on the couch.