Text Size:-+

San Francisco Wine Bar: The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Bar

ferryplaza_card.jpgRegular readers will know what a fan I am of the Ferry Plaza Marketplace, or the "San Francisco Gourmet Trap" as it might be better known, and one of the reasons is the wine bar at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

Situated dangerously near the Recchiuti chocolate store (double trouble) the wine bar offers marketplace shoppers an opportunity to take a load off with a glass of wine, and gives serious wine buyers the opportunity to sample a few things before buying. The bar is set up as a somewhat enclosed area as part of the store, and is strictly a bar format with high stools and few amenities other than the view of the wine store, or, more to my preference, fellow shoppers passing by.

One of my favorite aspects of the wine bar is their open door policy with regards to food: buy anything at the Ferry Plaza for lunch or a snack and you are welcome to bring it into the bar to have with a glass of their wine. When I was working downtown last year, it was all I could do to keep from getting a sandwich and a glass of wine for lunch every day.

The menu of wines on offer changes significantly week to week, and is remarkably free of commercial schlock. I find it always an interesting mix, and one that mirrors the international and eclectic offering in fpwm.jpgthe store, with everything from small producers of California to grower Champagnes, good Burgundies, a nice Austrian and German selection, and bits and pieces from Spain, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and more. The selection tends to highlight small producers and often good values, as well as the occasional opportunity to taste older wines and exclusive wines if you're willing to pay a bit more for a glass.

My one complaint about the wine list has to do with its brevity. The bar does a good job of creating different flights of wines, and changing them quite often, but the variety of wines to choose from is somewhat limited compared to other wine bars around town. Certainly this space is a complement to the retail store, but it could stand prouder on its own as a legitimate wine bar with a bit more depth by-the-glass. Having said that, the knowledgeable staff is very helpful in steering customers to wines they will appreciate and enjoy.

While the atmosphere is not much more than an upscale mall, this wine bar is a great place to stop for a glass over lunch, and has hosted more than a few of my own impromptu business meetings, if anything for an excuse to get out of the office and smooth out a conversation with a little wine. This is not a social destination to be sure, and does not attract groups of people out for the evening (especially as it closes around 8:00 PM), so it tends to fill up with businesspeople from the nearby financial district, tourists looking to get off their feet, and local gourmands.

WINE LIST: two and a half stars

STEMWARE: three and a half stars

SERVICE: three and a half stars


ATMOSPHERE: one and a half stars

OVERALL: two and a half stars

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Bar
San Francisco Ferry Building
On The Embarcadero at the end of Market Street
Shop #23
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.391.9400
Toll Free: 866.991.9400
[email protected]

Open 7 days a week with the following hours:

Monday: 11am-8pm
Tuesday-Wednesday: 10am-8pm
Thursday-Friday: 10am-9pm
Saturday: 8am-9pm
Sunday: 10am-7pm

Valet parking for marketplace customers is available, and various downtown parking garages are open on Saturday for the farmer's market, but parking is usually a pain. I recommend public transportation, either BART or MUNI.

Dress is casual.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud