35 Hidden Bars Around the World — and How to Find Them

At Local Edition, drinkers are invited to learn of San Francisco's rich history through newspaper clippings lining the walls. The bar is located within the old printing room of The Examiner, in the historic Hearst building. Vintage paper presses and typewriters line the space, while drinks like the Ava Gardner — jasmine tea infused vodka, coconut milk, lemon, ginger, bitters, and basil — pack a vintage punch.

Talia Avakian / TRAVEL + LEISURE

Doug Dalton
Featured in: The World's 10 Best Secret Bars

Forbes Magazine


Go deep for a unique bar experience as Local Edition is hidden at the basement of the historical Hearst building. True to its location, the bar takes inspiration from newspaper business in the 50’s and 60’s. You’ll see walls covered with vintage newspapers and dark corners adorned with antique typewriters. Check out the plush velvet seated theater for movie nights, as drinks on offer are crafted according to the film.

WHAT YOU MUST TRY: Barbarella - Gin, Lemon, Cocchi Americano, Strawberry, Salt & Pepper, Absinthe. Served Tall on crushed ice

Eustacia Huen / FORBES

Doug Dalton
The Weeknighter: Local Edition

I’d been meaning to check out Local Edition ever since it opened, so when my friend Lauren Nicholl facebooked me yesterday about coming to her Travel Massive event, I jumped at the chance. Travel Massive is a networking and drinking thing for travel industry people that happens at a different bar on the first Tuesday of each month. It’s about as up my alley as anything possible.

Muni had fucked me again and I’d spent more time chasing buses than actually riding them, so upon descending into the basement of the Hearst Building, I was a schvitzy mess. Landing at the bottom of the stairs, I was greeted by framed newspapers from various dates showing off things as disparate as clothing ads from the late 1960s and Herb Caen columns. I didn’t dawdle too long, though. I needed a drink.

Walking from the landing into the main room I was astounded by its size. Local Edition is huge! Vintage typewriters (at this point are there any other kind of typewriters?) were randomly placed around the room on any surface that wasn’t a cocktail table or a banquette. The movie theatre like curtains that lined the back walls were complemented by low lighting and the little candles that dotted the tables. There was even a huge, old school projector projecting something that I didn’t bother to check out. After taking this all in I decided that Doug Dalton, and the folks from Future Bars, really went all out as usual. Having hit homeruns with the much smaller venues, Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse, Doug and Co. absolutely rose to the occasion of outfitting such a large space. Being inside Local Edition made the thought of being a newspaperman (or woman) seem glamorous, like something special, like something that is gone forever and can only now be accessed with romantic hindsight and a well planned bar.

I caught up with Lauren and some other friends that I’d met through various travel related events. My buddy Mike McColl, who does a monthly adventure travel drink up, reminisced on one of the previous incarnations of the Local Edition space, “Man this place used to look like a 1980’s cocaine nightclub,” he told me, “There were mirrors everywhere and even little side rooms with tiny tables also topped with mirrors.” Looking around the room at the people drinking fancy cocktails made by bartenders in suspenders, I was glad the space no longer looked like it was a nightclub from Scarface. The Future Bars people even went so far as to create drinks with newspaper referencing names like “The Yellow Kid” and “The Masthead” and have the cocktail menu look like it was an old paper itself.

While finishing my drink and typing notes into my phone for this article I couldn’t help but wonder what Herb Caen would’ve thought of the place. Would the patron saint of ellipsis and vodka have ponied up to the bar and laughed about the fact that there was a bar turning his sacred profession into a museum piece? Who knows, it doesn’t really matter anyways. What does matter is this: Local Edition is a brilliantly executed idea and a great bar. With the right amount of booze in you and the perfect level of light, you might just be able to be nostalgic for a time that existed before you were even born…

Stuart Schuffman / 7X7

Doug Dalton
Meet Your Mixologist: Local Edition

Local Edition For its latest trick, Future Bars — the crew behind the trend-setting San Francisco cocktail staples Bourbon and Branch, Rickhouse and the upcoming Tradition — has turned black and white, as in newsprint. In the subterranean downtown Market Street space that once housed The San Francisco Examiner’s printing press, marble once intended for newspaper magnate and Examiner owner William Randolph Hearst’s castle in San Simeon tops the tables in a cavernous high-ceilinged space. Old printing press equipment decorates the dark hardwood floors, vintage typewriters festoon the curtained walls and ancient newspapers from the heyday of the print era sit under glass. “I don’t know of anywhere else in the country that offers legit cocktails, great shows and such a swanky space,” says general manager Joe Alessandroni.

What sort of people drink here?

We see a lot of the same people we already see at Bourbon and Branch and Rickhouse. And that works: We wanted to take the seven years of lessons we’ve learned and apply them here, where there’s more space and

Why a newspaper-themed bar?

It grew organically out of the space. When the space became available, the owners took it and then figured out what to do with it later. We wanted to move away from the Prohibition aesthetic at Bourbon and Branch, and the newspaper idea fit the space and filled the sophisticated, adult kind of feel we were looking for. Hearst [which still owns the building] opened up their newspaper archives to us, so we have the entire history of the paper here. We have more artifacts waiting to roll out, too.

Many San Francisco bars claim to serve classic cocktails, and many do. But tell us about some of the drinks that set you guys apart.

The Gibson … is a great example. It’s a respectable cocktail alternative to a dirty martini, which is a train wreck most of the time: well gin, olive brine that’s had dozens of people’s fingers in it. It tastes like a dishrag. But this has that savory flavor and it’s light, easy to drink. Simple.

What was the inspiration behind the cocktail menu?

The 1950s and 1960s was the last era of classic cocktail knowledge before it got lost. We’re trying to take that idea forward with a lot of simple, elegant, spirit-forward cocktails. We also have the culinary highballs that start from one of our intricate syrups — like The Chief [named for Hearst himself], which is vanilla sasparilla syrup with bourbon, soda and an orange twist.

Mixologist bars, sophisticated bars and classic cocktails are sprouting up more and more in San Francisco. Has the audience adapted?

How do you keep them happy and not jaded? At first, when this kind of cocktail-making was revolutionary, you had to do a lot of education about the drinks. Over the last five years, people have become much more sophisticated. Ingredients that were once esoteric, like rye whiskey or Maraschino [liqueur], are well-known. But nobody wants to wait 20 minutes for a drink, either. So you need a bar that’s fast, friendly and makes great cocktails. Doing it with an attitude won’t cut it anymore.

Chris Roberts / SF Examiner

The Gibson

  • 2 oz. 209 gin

  • ¾ oz. Cocchi Americano

  • ½ oz. Vya dry vermouth

  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth celery bitters

  • One cocktail onion (red onion, with in-house secret brine)

Mix ingredients together in glass or mixer. Add ice and stir. Strain into glass. Garnish with an onion.

Doug Dalton
Inside Edition: Drinking in the Old Examiner Printing Room

Newspapers like to hide things.


Poorly disguised superhero reporters.

Cocktail consumption lairs housed in old printing rooms...

Presenting Local Edition, the former printing room of The Examiner turned subterranean, 1950s-era cocktail lounge from the Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse folks, opening Thursday in the Hearst Building.

This is not the kind of bar you walk into randomly on a Wednesday night after work. It takes a little effort. A little elbow grease. A little “I want that perfect sidecar.” It also takes a date who’s into high-end American whiskeys.

First off, there’s the matter of a reservation that you’ll need to clear the doorman and be escorted to the basement. From here, you’ll be greeted with champagne cocktails in a gallery-like shrine to bygone newspaper days. Printing artifacts and century-old papers are everywhere. Soak it all in.

Once seated at your table (topped using leftover marble from Hearst Castle), you can order cocktails like the Remember the Maine, or opt for bottled cocktails like a green tea/rye Artillery Punch for the table. But for cart-driven service, rare selections like George T. Stagg whiskey will come decanted tableside on a silver tray with all the proper accoutrements.

And at some point, you’ll probably want to secure an audience with the city’s only in-house historian who works in a bar.

Tweeting from here somehow feels wrong...


Doug Dalton