San Francisco has a storied history of speakeasies and old-time bar-and-grills. There’s something romantic about stepping into certain old-school San Francisco bars and grabbing a drink. As a photographer, I decided to take a closer look at four of my favorites.

Tadich Grill 

Established in 1849

Neighborhood: Financial District

Pictured Drink: Old Fashioned

Known for: Seafood Cioppino and super sour sourdough

Catering to long-time San Franciscans, business professionals, and tourists alike, Tadich Grill oozes with local history. Go here for super fresh seafood and bartenders who have seen it all and have a real story to tell. As Herb Caen once said, "San Francisco without Tadich Grill would not be San Francisco." Interesting fact: Tadich Grill accepted gold nuggets as payment through 1990.

The Old Clam House

Established in 1861

Neighborhood: Bayview

Pictured Drink: Bloody Shark Chili Mary

Known for: Clams (duh) - Clam Bake Cioppino and Steamed Clams    

Most people won't make the time to head down Bayshore to find the original location of The Old Clam House standing amongst taquerias, fast food restaurants and gas stations. But trust me, it's worth it. Once inside, you're treated to the rich smells of mouth-wateringly tasty seafood and visual delights such as a tin tiled ceiling, vintage collectibles and the original bar from 1861. Challenge: find the photo of the US President in office when this restaurant first opened.

Sam's Grill & Seafood Restaurant

Established in 1867

Neighborhood: Financial District

Pictured Drink: Martini

Known for: Fresh-out-of-the-water fish and sweetbreads 

Sam's Grill was originally an oyster saloon, located where the Bank of America building stands today. Today, its Bush Street location is both cozy and welcoming. If you are lucky, you will get a chance to sit in one of the original booths, complete with a curtain and a "doorbell" to summon your waiter at any time. Open on weekdays only, Sam's is a favorite of local professionals and has been the scene for many a "wet lunch." If only these walls could talk...

John's Grill 

Established in 1908

Neighborhood: Union Square

Pictured Drink: Negroni

Known for: Chicken Jerusalem and Oysters Wellington

The setting for Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon and the first local restaurant to open after the devastating earthquake of 1906, John's Grill preserves its old-timey feels with rich wood paneling, pressed white linen tablecloths and walls covered with black and white photos of famous patrons. Visit the 2nd floor to see a replica of the Maltese Falcon (replaced in 2007 after the original replica was stolen!) and to take in some jazz. Worried about all the construction in the area? Don't stress - John's Grill is still open seven days a week.