There are few things I love more than an afternoon pit-stop. If you’re walking around the city between meals and find yourself in the mood for a little beverage and maybe a quick snack, The Sycamore is exactly the kind of place you’re looking for.
More like a cozy local coffee shop than a pub, The Sycamore has board games, local artwork, hundreds of beer taps hanging from the ceiling, and a plush leather banquette that hugs the walls. There is an air of the Beat Generation in here, and I can see William S. Burroughs sitting at the corner table next to the window working on his latest novella while sipping a stout. On the weekends, bottomless mimosas and cheap brunch on the back patio hail hipsters from all over the city, and the great beer selection is perfect for any beer nerd looking for something a little different. But beyond the atmosphere, what I really love about The Sycamore is its fun little menu of cheap bar bites.
If you’re in the mood for something on the decadent side, I recommend the pan-fried provolone, a gooey disk of cheese that’s crispy and golden brown, served with roasted garlic and chimichurri. It’s not the lightest snack, but something about fried cheese during happy hour feels so right. The Sycamore is also known for its pork belly “donuts,” with a maple syrup-Maker’s Mark glaze. They’re a perfect little starter if you’re with friends and want to share something small that packs a big punch.
What I usually come to The Sycamore for is the adorable little sliders, which are delicious and won’t spoil dinner. The little lamb burger comes with caramelized onions, romesco aioli, and manchego cheese. It is perfect. Its has everything that makes a burger delicious, from the smooth onions to the oozing cheese, but the flavors are funkier and a little more exotic. If you want to keep it simpler, the fried chicken sliders with pickled red onion, slaw, and roasted garlic are a guaranteed win, reminiscent of a sandwich eaten outside at a family picnic. What’s better than a bite of fried chicken with a beer? Nothing.
The Sycamore can also be a great place for someone looking for a lunch that’s a little more substantial. The $8.75 “famous roast beef sandwich” is something of a legend. Slathered with mayonnaise and a delicious sweet-and-spicy BBQ sauce, it’s everything a roast beef sandwich should be. It has layers of beef dripping with sauce and a crunchy pickled slaw, all served on a soft white bun. They also offer lunch specials, like the Monday steak sandwich or the Wednesday fish-and-chips with a PBR for $12. If that isn’t a deal-and-a-half in this town, I don’t know what is. The Sycamore isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but what it does, it does extremely well. It’s low-key and the food is great — and sometimes, at 4 p.m., that’s all you’re looking for.
The Sycamore, 2140 Mission St., 415-252-7704 or thesycamoresf.com