San Francisco doesn’t have a lot of secret bars and it’s not hard to find the ones that do exist - they probably realize that you need actual customers to survive. Pawn Shop in Soma is another “secret” spot, but instead of having inventive drinks or a constantly changing passcode to get in, it’s primarily an actual restaurant. When you walk in, you’re greeted by a wig-wearing pawnbroker named Jerry who leads you through the ridiculously decorated “pawn shop” up front and into a windowless room that feels like a hidden cabaret bar, with a peacock-colored glowing bar and stained glass on the walls. There are no cocktails here, but the wine list is solid and goes with the tapas they serve, like pan con tomate and serrano ham, along with larger things like pulpo a la plancha. After you’ve spent enough time here to justify the potentially long wait to get inside, head back out through the pawn shop and thank Jerry for showing you the back room where he keeps all the good stuff.
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