The Pub at Ghirardelli Square 851 Beach St./Hyde St., in Ghirardelli Square, (415) 351-0500. L-D daily; $$.
Not your typical dark Irish pub, this sleek spot has a bright contemporary industrial decor accented with rustic grey-wood wall planks and leather banquettes. It is located on the ground floor of Ghirardelli Square and opens to the street and park and to views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Music is loud and surfaces are hard, so it gets noisy. It is the antithisis of cozy, yet welcoming. Booths and sidewalk tables with bay views are also available.
The best news, though, is that the kitchen produces some excellent barbeque, and prices are fair for this touristy area. I loved my pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw, and the brisket with its exceptional sauce is outstanding.
We accented the dishes perfectly with a draft Lagunitas IPA and Stella Artois Lager. Raves are also given to the burgers—the Gucci with mushrooms and truffle aioli, the espresso rub with bacon and blue cheese (decaf is not an option), and the quinoa and kale for vegetarians—and to the mac & cheese—choose the version with foie gras, truffle, chili, or blue cheese with buffalo-wing sauce. The Tommy tater tots tossed in a sweet-spicy sauce with blue cheese and the southern fried chicken also interested me but there simply was no space. Portions are generous. The perfect dessert is chocolate chip cookies made with Ghirardelli chocolate, but you can also wander up into the square and get a famous sundae.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers