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The Past, Present, and Future of a Remarkable Spirit: Rum

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ince opening its doors in 2009, Smuggler’s Cove has established itself as one of the top rum and exotic cocktail destinations in the world.   We offer our guests an innovative new approach to rum by featuring the largest rum selection in the United States, and cocktails from over three centuries of rum history. Our stunning interior features vintage tiki artifacts alongside historic nautical and rum décor, and provides a dramatic and inviting escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The look was brought brilliantly to life by local designer Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez of Top Notch Kustoms who also recently designed the epic gin bar, Whitechapel.

Experience the award-winning Smuggler’s Cove for yourself! We look forward to sharing our passion for rum and exotic cocktails with you!

Rum and Nautical Memorabilia
  • World's 50 Best Bars
    (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
    Drinks International
  • Top 10 Concepts of the
    last 25 years
    Cheers Magazine, November 2014
  • The 13 Most Influential
    Craft Cocktail Bars in America
    Liquor.com, September 2014
  • Readers' Poll: Best Cocktail
    Bar in San Francisco
    SF Weekly, May 2014

  • The Best Bars in America 2013
    Esquire Magazine, June 2013

  • The 50 Greatest Bars on Earth
    — Times of London, May 2012
  • 50 Best Bars in America
    (2010, 2011, & 2012)
    — Food & Wine Magazine

  • America's Best Bars 2012
    — Playboy Magazine
  • Nominee: Best American
    Cocktail Bar (2014 & 2015)
    — Tales of the Cocktail
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The Crew

The longevity of our crew is a testament to their dedication to our concept, & the pride they take in being part of the great tradition of exotic cocktail bars.

 

(Select a crew name above to read their bio, or read them all HERE!)

Martin Cate

Martin Cate

Martin Cate is a rum and exotic cocktail expert and the owner and creator of Smuggler’s Cove. He is also the author of “Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki” (Ten Speed Press, June 2016) with his wife Rebecca Cate.  Martin is a passionate rum collector and conducts educational seminars and officiates rum & cocktail competitions across the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. In 2015, along with partners Alex Smith & John Park, Martin opened Whitechapel  in San Francisco to bring the same passion for history and craft to the world of gin.  He is also the co-owner of Hale Pele  in Portland, False Idol in San Diego, and a partner in Lost Lake  in Chicago.

 
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SMUGGLER'S COVE

Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki

Smuggler's Cove now has a book! Whether you’re looking for a new favorite cocktail (over 100 recipes included!), tips on how to trick out your home tiki grotto, help stocking your bar with great rums, or inspiration for your next tiki party, Smuggler’s Cove has everything you need to transform your world into a Polynesian Pop fantasia.

Available at smuggler's cove and these fine retailers
 Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & IndieBound

  • Martin and Rebecca Cate are alchemists—Reyn Spooner–wearing, volcano-bowl-igniting, Polynesian-popping, double-straining, Aku-Aku swilling alchemists. Which is to say, they are the finest kind of alchemists known to walk the earth. Buy this book. It will bring you a little bit closer to paradise.
    — Wayne Curtis, author, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
  • With Smuggler’s Cove, Martin Cate did the impossible, folding up a whole rum-soaked sailing ship so that it would fit into a not-very-large San Francisco storefront. Now he’s done it again, and taken that tiki bar--one of the very finest bars I know—and folded it up so it fits between the pages of a book. Just add rum, and watch Smuggler’s Cove—and the whole vibrant, geeky, just a little bit unhinged world of tiki it so perfectly exemplifies— unfold in your lap.
    — David Wondrich, author of Imbibe! and Punch
  • Tiki is simultaneously whimsical and sincere, simple and shockingly complex, which means understanding it can be challenging. This indispensable book explains it all—and is the definitive volume on one of the cocktail world’s most fascinating and complex genres. But in the end, tiki’s essence is based on captivating stories and exotic drinks, and Martin Cate’s Smuggler’s Cove is a tour de force in both.
    — Jordan Mackay, wine and spirits writer, and coauthor of Secrets of the Sommeliers
  • Martin Cate understands tiki like few others do. He not only knows how to ask the right questions; in this book, he also answers many questions that I didn’t know I had. The old guard of Donn, Vic, and Steve can rest easy now that they have this champion of their tradition bringing tiki into the new millennium.
    — Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki, Tiki Modern, and Tiki Pop
  • Here at last are the secrets behind one of the world’s best bars. The Cates have written an engaging, knowing, and personal book that is sure to please tiki lovers, cocktail lovers, and especially tiki-cocktail lovers. Abandon angst, all ye who enter here: like Smuggler’s Cove itself, these pages take leisure time very seriously.
    — Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of Potions of the Caribbean
  • Martin Cate is an authority on rum, and this book will take your level of understanding of this noble yet complex spirit to a new level. Martin offers his own illuminating rum classification system, and also tackles controversial topics head-on, such as sweetening and the use of nebulous age statements. An absolute must-have for rum enthusiasts.
    — Richard Seale, master distiller, Foursquare Rum Distillery, Barbados
  • The twenty-first-century revival of tiki cocktails was spearheaded by a handful of passionate tiki-geeks, Martin Cate among them. With Smuggler’s Cove, Martin and Rebecca teach you everything you need to know to become a tiki-geek in your own right—and to see the world with their Polynesian passion.
    — Gaz Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology and The Negroni

Our pioneering drink menu offers a complete history of rum cocktails

Featuring over 80 exotic and traditional recipes, both classic and modern, made from premium spirits (including exclusive rums available nowhere else) and liqueurs, house-made ingredients, and 100% fresh citrus juiced in-house daily.

On our menu you’ll discover everything from historic colonial tavern tipples, elegant drinks of Prohibition-Era Havana, the greatest exotic cocktails of the tiki era, traditional Caribbean creations, and contemporary & sophisticated rum libations. Even our most complex 8-12 ingredient exotic cocktails are made fresh to order and never batched.

And, if you think you’re up to the challenge, we will give you a special punch card to track the cocktails you’ve imbibed at Smuggler’s Cove. Drink your way through the whole menu, and you’ll become a Voyager of the Cove and receive an exclusive gift and merit badge!
 
Below is just a sample of the drinks you can enjoy at Smuggler’s Cove:

 
Twenty Seventy Swizzle
 
Agricole Guava Cooler
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Rum is unquestionably the most diverse spirit in the world.

It is made in at least sixty countries from different raw materials in different kinds of stills, aged at different temperatures and in different kinds of wood. Smuggler’s Cove showcases over 550 rums on our shelves at any time, and has had more than 800 varieties pass through our doors since opening.  Our collection includes rare and vintage rum, as well several exclusive, handcrafted rums made just for Smuggler’s Cove by distillers and blenders in California, Oregon, Europe, and across the Caribbean.

Historic Rum from the Smuggler's Cove Collection

The Rumbustion Society

We pride ourselves on having built a community of educated rum lovers through our rum club, the Rumbustion Society, and encourage you to come in and explore the fascinating world of rum!

 
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Happy Hour - Every Day

It’s not just a myth! It’s EVERY day, from 5:00-6:00 P.M.
Enjoy $2 off EVERY cocktail on our drink menu.

Upcoming Events

Calendar of Events

Private Events

Smuggler’s Cove is available to book out for private events Sunday through Wednesday nights only.

El Presidente Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler’s Cove is honored to have been named one of the...

World’s 50 Best Bars

Drinks International, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015

50 Greatest Bars on Earth

The Sunday Times, London

Top Ten Food and Beverage Concepts of the Last 25 Years

Cheers Magazine

13 Most Influential Bars of the 21st Century

Liquor.com

America’s Best Bars

Playboy, 2012 and Esquire, 2013

You can find press about Smuggler’s Cove in the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, LA Times, 7X7 Magazine, Time Out, and other print and online publications.

  • The bartender is flailing about like a heavy-metal drummer, desperately beating eight, ten, fourteen ingredients into towering, elaborately garnished concoctions. Strange words fly about—hogo, agricole, solera, orgeat—and the heady perfume of distilled sugarcane fills the air. Tiki. As San Francisco’s and perhaps the nation’s reigning Tiki bar, Smuggler’s Cove draws a crowd almost every night, and you’ve got to wait outside until there’s space. It’s worth the wait.
    — David Wondrich, Esquire’s “The Best Bars in America, 2013”
  • Since its opening in 2009, Smuggler’s Cove has changed the Tiki and rum bar game globally.
    — Virginia Miller, Where Magazine, October 2015
  • When it opened, Smuggler’s Cove was at the time—and still is today—the new mecca.
    — Corina Quinn quoting Brian Miller in Travel and Leisure, 2016
  • With an extensive menu of complex cocktails and an interior worthy of a movie set, it’s not hard to understand why Smuggler’s Cove is one of the most lauded tiki bars in the world.
    — Drew Lazor, Time Out New York, July 2015
  • I had indeed found a Polynesian wonderland and arguably the best tiki bar in the country.
    — Robert Simonson, The New York Times, April 26, 2013
  • As much as Mr. Cate enjoys the fantasia of classic mai tai joints he is rigorously academic about rum itself.
    — Pete Wells NY Times, December 1, 2009
  • Mr. Cate is an acknowledged master of both the rum cocktail and of tiki culture.
    — Jordan Mackay Diners Journal New York Times, December 4, 2009
  • Bay Area rummies will have a new watering hole of their own from none other than neo-tiki master Martin Cate.
    — Jon Bonne San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 2009
  • It’s truly a complete vision and once you’re inside the windowless space you feel completely disconnected (in a good way) from the reality of Hayes Valley right outside the completely opaque door.
    — Jordan Mackay 7X7 Magazine, December 4, 2009
  • Given Cate’s reputation in the industry his hand with home-made tiki drinks and his unparalleled knowledge of the history and culture of the drinks Smuggler’s Cove will probably be it’s no stretch to say the greatest tiki bar on earth.
    — Jordan Mackay 7X7 Magazine, June 3, 2009
  • Join Martin Cate at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, a shrine to Tiki libations and rum goodness.
    — Oh Gosh! TV, May 8, 2010
  • ...tiki palace Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco features two bespoke spirits.
    — Kara Newman Wine Enthuisast, June 3, 2010
  • Martin was the first to take the principles of the craft cocktail and apply them to modern tiki drinks. I think Smuggler’s Cove is the first true neo-craft tiki bar, and what’s great is that the place itself is not trying to be serious, but the drink themselves are.
    — LA Times Magazine, May 24, 2010
  • Tiki's big move came in the final weeks of 2009, when Martin Cate opened the doors of Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco. A product of years of work and dedication by one of the most talented people (and it should be said, one of the nicest guys) working in bars today, Smuggler's Cove took the once-déclassé realm of exotic drinks and made them respectable, and proved that just because something comes in a volcano bowl adorned with flowers and erupting with flames, it can still be a delicious, well-balanced drink.
    — Paul Clarke, Serious Eats Drinks, December 29, 2010
  • Smuggler’s Cove has tons of potential to be the kind of cheesy bar you’d find at Disney World. But it’s not. You can tell that Cate put a lot of thought, time, and effort into his brainchild.
    — Matt Bloom, San Francisco Magazine, December 14, 2009
  • There is so much history in the place I’m considering asking Martin to train me as a docent to give regular tours.
    — Camper English, Alcademics, December 5, 2009
  • What sets Smuggler’s Cove apart from the tiki pack is its focus on top-notch bartending talent...quality ingredients, and solid technique. It’s a serious rum-focused bar with retro-tropical decor, but there’s refreshingly little of the tongue-in-cheek cheesiness that you might expect.
    — Married…with dinner, December 4, 2009
  • It’s a little bit of rum-soaked escapism, right in the heart of the city.
    — The Inadvertent Gardener, December 7, 2009
  • A rum haven run by one of the great advocates of the spirit.
    — Matt Robold, RumDood, October 5, 2009