Even though it’s been 50 years since the Summer of Love took place in San Francisco, the spirit of the cause is alive and well. The art, music, and love that came from that era are the heart and soul of the city. So when I packed up and jetted off to the City by the Bay, I expected to take in the history and art of the 1960s revolution. What I didn’t expect was the incredible amount of delicious food and drinks inspired by the Summer of Love. While eating out in San Francisco, these are some spots that stood out to me. Their Summer of Love-themed food and drinks will be available all summer long so throw some flowers in your hair and enjoy them while you can.
Eating Out in San Francisco
E&O Kitchen and Bar
I was absolutely blown away by the flavorful options at E&O Kitchen and Bar. Their biggest Summer of Love inspiration is the Guava Lamp cocktail, a tasty infusion of guava and gin.
They also offer event packages for large groups to enjoy after a day of visiting the themed museum exhibitions. Along with the cocktails or glasses of wine, the group can savor some appetizers.
One of the most unique small bites I’ve ever tried was the Indonesian corn fritters. When it comes down to it, the dish is comprised of fried pieces of corn, but the rich, buttery flavor was more amazing than I could have ever expected. We sampled other appetizers as well, from slips of lettuce topped with mango salsa to ahi tuna inside crispy wonton cups.
Each Sunday, Off the Grid hosts these amazing picnics in The Presidio that are free and open to the public—and they have some surprises in store for the Summer of Love celebration. With flower crowns galore for us to wear in our hair, we soaked up the California sunshine while enjoying tastes of grilled cheese sandwiches and empanadas from the picnic’s food trucks and booths.
The 1960s takeover also offered some stellar themed cocktails, including the vodka, ginger, blackberry, and lime-filled Purple Haze and the tequila-pineapple infused Flower Power. They were also serving delicious (but strong) Tie Dye Mai Tais, made with rum, strawberry and tiki bitters—the perfect way to cool off on a hot day.
Tents of locals and visitors that flock to the park each weekend to savor the foods, sip some drinks and toss a football in the sunshine filled the lawn. There are regular yoga and dance classes available, and friendly faces offering hula-hoops as well. With an ocean view, it’s was easily one of my new favorite things about this vibrant city.
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
The food at Magnolia isn’t necessarily Summer of Love-themed, but its history definitely makes it a relevant player in this summer’s festivities. Located in the heart of the Haight Ashbury district, close to Golden Gate Park, it’s central to where the hippies lived during that summer. The building, first erected in the early 1900s, served as a couple of markets before a few decades as Schumate’s Pharmacy. It was transformed into the Drugstore Café a few years prior to the Summer of Love. A foodie hotspot haven for hippie drugs and hangouts in the 60s, it eventually closed down only to reopen as various restaurants throughout the years.
In the late 90s, it became Magnolia. The owners carved out some extra space in the basement to brew their own beer on-site, and they have a great variety to show for it. Our group was treated to three flights so we were able to sample nearly everything on their varied menu of draft beers, cask beers, and ciders. While the highlights of their menu include meats, sausages, and cheeses, they also offer burgers, sandwiches and steamed veggies.
Hard Rock Café
Another foodie spot in San Francisco enjoyed more for the ambiance than for the food is the Hard Rock Café. While this popular chain can be found all across the world, there’s something special about the memorabilia inside the one on San Francisco’s Pier 39.
Whether you opt for a burger, fajitas or the macaroni and cheese, the gear on the walls of the recently remodeled restaurant will play right into your Summer of Love experience. Take a walk around to find a setlist handwritten by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead as well as a drum set belonging to the band’s drummer, Bill Kreutzmann. From Jimi Hendrix, you’ll spot a set of maracas and a Fender Champ amplifier. We also spotted a sequined cape, worn by Janis Joplin on the cover of her final album “Pearl.”
But possibly the most stunning of all was the painting of Jerry Garcia adorning the restaurant’s walls. Painted by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane fame, the piece of artwork is very special—and the perfect painting for Summer of Love enthusiasts to view while dining.
When I was in eating out in San Francisco, they hadn’t launched their Summer of Love-inspired cocktails just yet. Instead, I dined on some avocado toast and a massive bowl of fresh fruit. For dessert, we split a cinnamon roll the size of our heads—one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Though I can’t vouch for their cocktails, they have some clever names with ingredients that sound delicious. The All You Need Is Love features sparkling wine and ginger liqueur plus ginger syrup and raspberries while the California Nights blends bourbon with blueberry syrup and blueberry-hibiscus bitters. The brasserie also offers The Beet Goes On, a cocktail that mixes sparkling apple juice, gin and fresh lemon with beet and apple puree.
Unique and delicious eateries are sprawled all over this fabulous city, making eating out in San Francisco one of my favorite activities. Want to explore some other genres of eats in SF? Take a peek at Zagat’s 50 Best Restaurants in San Francisco.