One of our favorite things about being on the road is sampling different types of food indigenous to certain regions; deep dish pizza in Chicago, thin crust pizza on the New Jersey Boardwalk or Brooklyn (sadly, a good corner pizza joint is rare where we live in Northern CA), a Philly Cheesesteak or Soft Pretzel, Kansas City BBQ, Louisiana Bayou etoufee, New Mexican Christmas chilis in Santa Fe (if you know, you know, Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin summers, the list goes on and on. But the one thing that’s shared and shared well by every inch of this country is a solid Hamburger. And whereas we’ve prided ourselves in finding a good burger in many places throughout the US, we figured it’s only appropriate that we share the best 10 spots from our home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
More in Static and Surrender here:
1- Luka’s Taproom, Oakland:
This place is as Oaktown as it gets. Right on the cusp of Downtown, Lake Merritt and West Oakland, and less than a mile from our rehearsal studio, it boasts a consistently good selection of craft beer, good cocktails and regional American Fare. But their Burger is not only a standout, it’s perfect. The patty is the right size, they always get the temp right, toppings are on point and the bun is great (gluten free option to boot). And the price is right, at $15 (which sadly is a bargain for a restaurant burger around here). But this is the burger I crave when I crave one from anywhere else.
2- Marin Brewing Company, Larkspur:
This burger has some sentiment for me. The day I flew out to CA with my Father to look for an apartment after I’d decided to move to the Bay from my hometown of Philadelphia, this is the place we went for a beer and a burger after we found the perfect first CA apartment in central Marin County, which was conveniently right across the street. The smell of this place, which is a combination of the grill and the beer wert) reminds me of that day with my awesome Dad, which was one of the best days of my life. And it’s a great burger to boot. Specifically, the Mt. Tam burger, which is big patty with swiss, avocado (CA, duh) and bacon. I couple it with a Mt. Tam Pale Ale and have dubbed it “The Mt. Tam Combo”, and although they haven’t taken my suggestion and actually added that to the menu yet, I still look forward to an excuse to head to Marin whenever I can to order one.
3- Black Sands Brewery, Lower Haight, San Francisco:
This is a classier version of CA’s own In-N-Out Burger (see #10) in that it’s a thin and cheesy double patty on a thin toasted roll, but they nail it. And it’s a pretty low priced happy hour special most days. Couple that with amazing craft beer brewed 9 feet from the grill and you have a great addition to a neighborhood that’s mostly just dive bars.
4- Farm Burger, Berkeley:
These guys are a chain, but a small one. With about 10 locations scattered about the great SEC, they oddly decided to drop 2 into the Bay Area as well. It’s a counter place with grass fed beef burgers, made to order with great local beers in rotation (yes, I’m/we’re seeing a pattern here) and fast service. The reason the Berkeley store is a standout is because it’s a block from both 9th Street Opus, the amazing recording studio where we’ve done lots of work with insanely talented local producer Jim Greer, but also from Gilman Brewing, the brewhouse in which our drummer John is currently running with 2 of his friends. And the Farm Burger location there is awesome/smart enough to have some Gilman brews on tap on the regular. 2 birds, one stone. Although we’re talking beef, not chicken.
5- Harry’s Bar, Fillmore, San Francisco:
I used to live in this neighborhood and this was my local spot to watch NFL games on Sundays. Nothing fancy, but nothing compromised in their perfectly sized, perfectly bunned and perfectly cooked burger offering. They also have amazing wings and it’s a great walking’ around neighborhood in one of the coolest parts of the city.