Brasserie Saint James brings tavern warmth to the Mission

Old world tavern warmth meets Valencia Street’s main drag. For just over a year, Brasserie Saint James has been infusing the Mission with its gastropub menu of comfort foods and in-house microbrews — all under a Euro-influenced umbrella you’d expect from a brasserie.

Owner Art Farley’s award-winning craft beer operation started in Reno, and now his lofty SF brick and mortar serves casual dining for day and night walk-ins. With the West Coast hop craze currently pouring at full speed, Saint James stands out in the microbrew trend as a niche beer spot making traditional brews and farmhouse ales informed by Belgian, French and German styles. (Still, the in-house Hopalong Cassidy Double IPA is a must-try!) And it’s all just a couple blocks around the corner from 16th St./Mission Station.

Visually, the well-manicured setting reflects the tasty beers: rustic yet refined. The restaurant’s long walls are lined with unpolished wood planks accented with eye-pleasing bric-a-brac (miscellaneous mirrors and aged photos), while two separate bars with knowledgeable bartenders help patrons cozy up to 24 handles. Too crowded inside? Nab a spot amongst the outdoor seating.

The happy hour here runs 3 to 6pm every day. Yes, even weekends. Brunch has the popular chicken and waffles alongside bottomless mimosas, again, every day. Wednesday food and beer pairings are now dishing up changing complementary flavors each week to bring out the best on the menu, which features indulgent poutine, gumbo and the staple Bone Marrow Canoes. (The basic fries with homemade sauces are good company with anything you order.)

While beer is the big honcho at the brewpub, you’re still in SF, and that means you can get your fix of egg white-topped specialty cocktails and fanciful concoctions when fruity and booze-forward imbibing is your preference. But, really, it’s worth tasting what they do best — so start soaring with a flight of Saint James small-batch beers. 

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