Smuggler's Cove

San Francisco, CA
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650 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA
Opened in 2009
Daily from 5pm
(415) 869-1900

Critiki ratings

Smuggler's Cove



by 281 people



Everyone You
Decor 9.8
Drink Quality 10
Drink Selection 10
Mood 9.5
Music 9.1
Service 9.2
Tikiness 9.3
Tilt 9.4
Vibe 8.8

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Regulars & Visitors

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Humuhumu’s description

Smuggler's Cove was opened in December 2009 by Martin Cate, a renowned rum expert and longtime tikiphile who was one of the founders of Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
Alameda, CA
in Alameda. Smuggler's Cove specializes in all varieties of rum and rum drinks, with a particular emphasis on historic and exotic cocktails. Cate has attracted some of the top bartender talent in the talent-rich city of San Francisco. Smuggler's Cove regularly appears on the lists of the best bars in the world. It has proven incredibly popular: if you go on a weekend, be prepared to possibly wait in a line for entry.
The decor is a blend of nautical and tiki. The dimly-lit bar spans three floors: the main and lower levels each have their own bars, and an upper half-level is a tiki hut that overlooks the main floor. There is a waterfall between the main floor and the lower floor, with a small pool at the bottom. The construction was led by Ignacio "Notch" Gonzalez, of San Jose's Top Notch Kustoms
Top Notch Kustoms
San Jose, CA
The offerings can be overwhelming in scope: over 500 rums, and more than 75 cocktails. If you're intent on trying as many as possible, consider entering the Rumbustion Society; those who complete the list are rewarded for their efforts.
In September 2016, Martin Cate opened False Idol
False Idol
San Diego, CA
in San Diego.


nightonfire has visited Smuggler's Cove.
February 25, 2018, 3:28 PM
Over all an amazing visit, When we first walked in , just blown away. Everything great you have heard of. I have to say my first bartender ( downstairs female) snapped at me when I asked if she had some specialty drink with dark rum and banana that she liked to make "are drinks are on the menu" As a Restaurateur & bartender I was always excited to make something new and have fun; obviously not with her. Anyways flying to SF just to go to Smugglers; not about to ruin my time, so found some drinks, and chilled by the grotto; excellent and delicious. Went upstairs for what was a MUCH friendlier staff, and very conversational at that. Drinks again on point, and crafted as Martin intended. Planning to go back, and also check out Forbidden Island, and all the others up in SF.
Nalani has visited Smuggler's Cove.
October 31, 2017, 12:21 PM
I was so excited to check this place out, but ended up really disappointed. We had to go downstairs to line up for drinks, and it felt less like a Tiki bar and more like somebody's basement. It was over-crowded and extremely loud; I couldn't hear anything over the noise of the patrons, so I'm not sure if there was music playing. The bartenders were not all that friendly and didn't give off the "fun" vibe I've gotten used to (spoiled by?) in other Tiki bars. We ventured upstairs just to take a look around (there was nowhere to sit or stand to enjoy our drinks) and I did like the decor, but again, it was so overcrowded and loud there was absolutely no Tiki vibe to be found.

If they could severely limit the number of patrons allowed in at a time, I think this could be a great place. But as-is, the whole Tiki atmosphere is lost and it feels like a regular, crowded bar.
PrettiestStarr has visited Smuggler's Cove.
October 16, 2017, 3:51 PM
Was so ready to love this place but just didn't work. I did have a great drink (Singapore Sling) but the vibe just wasn't there. Went downstairs first and bartender told us 'hey, it's really crowded, there's probably still a line to get in (there wasn't) and it'll be a really long while"... hmm ... this was the staffing for a Saturday night! Went upstairs ... bartender was good and fast and pleasant but we liked the feel of the basement room better (but who wanted to hang there then?). Decor was pretty darn awesome. Other patrons didn't work for us but usually, that doesn't matter if I love the bar and bartenders ... but we had a hit/miss feel with those folks. Good drink selection for sure.
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Articles in Critiki News

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Upcoming Visits
visiting on
Monday, August 6, 2018
for the first time
Regulars & Visitors
  • The Jab
  • Tikitastic
  • Rugby Matt
  • Lokelani
  • JenTiki
  • Trott
  • martiki
  • puppo
  • Raro
  • monet2u
  • Super8
  • Aquatic Safarinaut
  • paulynesia
  • Diamond Shoals
  • Zombie Mike
  • BuzDeadwax
View all 513 Smuggler's Cove regulars & visitors