Smuggler's Cove

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

Critiki ratings

Smuggler's Cove



by 222 people



Everyone You
Decor 9.9
Drink Quality 10
Drink Selection 10
Mood 9.5
Music 9.1
Service 9.3
Tikiness 9.3
Tilt 9.5
Vibe 8.8

Upcoming Visits

Regulars & Visitors

View all 403 Smuggler's Cove regulars & visitors

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.

How to find it

The bar is low-profile from the outside, with no significant signage. The exterior is a simple flat wall of non-window glass. At night, look for port and starboard (red and green) lights on the building's front.


Parking is often available on neighboring streets, but the bar's location near San Francisco's opera, ballet, symphony and concert center means it can be tough to find a spot some evenings. Cabs are plentiful in the neighborhood, and the location is within walking distance of the Civic Center BART station.


View all 20 comments

Articles in Critiki News

All 8 Critiki News articles
Upcoming Visits
visiting on
Sunday, August 6, 2017
for the first time
I'm planning on getting there at 5.
visiting on
Monday, August 7, 2017
Signing my book and enjoying the number one bar in America.
June 22, 2017, 12:04 PM
Will see you there!
June 28, 2017, 11:45 AM
Me too!
June 28, 2017, 11:50 AM
Working to serve some of Mariano Licudine's recipes that night as well.
Hope Chest
visiting on
Monday, August 7, 2017
Regulars & Visitors
  • The Jab
  • Tikitastic
  • Rugby Matt
  • JenTiki
  • Trott
  • martiki
  • Raro
  • monet2u
View all 403 Smuggler's Cove regulars & visitors
Robin has visited Smuggler's Cove.
June 27, 2017, 2:09 PM
Very nice to meet Martin Cate here! A cozy and very good tiki bar. And we had a wonderful dinner afterwards in Whitechapel ;)
June 14, 2017, 4:39 PM
What is Smuggler's Cove like? Imagine a large cave where a ship’s captain has hidden his bounty and his rum or combine Tiki with The Goonies! Here's my full review...
KevinCrossman is a semi-regular at Smuggler's Cove.
February 17, 2017, 7:40 PM
Visited again last week and had a great time. We visited Pagan Idol earlier in the evening and the vibe and drinks were so much better at Smugglers Cove. My Mai Tai was so fragrant with mint and lime, and tasted great.
View all 20 comments