About Nihon Whisky Lounge

1779 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
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Nihon offers contemporary Japanese cuisine with a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya (Japanese version of tapas). The cuisine also offers a wide array of fresh sashimi and sushi rolls. If you are a whisky lover, Nihon also offers the largest single malt selection found on the west coast with over 400 selections all available through bottle purchase. All bottles purchased can be stored in a private locker in the premises for future visits. Nihon is renowned for amazing house made creative whisky and champagne cocktails.

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Japanese

Hours of Operation:
Dinner:
Tuesday-Thursday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
Friday and Saturday 5:30-12midnight
Closed Sunday & Monday for private events

Cross Street:
14th Street

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 552-4400

Website:
http://www.dajanigroup.net/establishments/nihon-whisky-lounge/

Entertainment:
DJ's play Friday & Saturday from 8pm-1am.

Executive Chef:
Adachi Hiroyuki

Private Party Facilities:
We offer a private room that can accommodate up to 20 dinner guests in a formal setting and up to 30 guests in an informal cocktail style reception setting.

Private Party Contact:
Romina: 4155524400

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room

Restaurant Photos

Nihon Whisky Lounge Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.2

service

4.4

ambience

4.4

noise

Moderate

84% would recommend it to a friend

vibrant bar scene (9)
romantic (8)
fit for foodies (7)
See All
neighborhood gem (6)
hot spot (5)
late-night find (4)
special occasion (4)
good for groups (3)
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327 reviews
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food4
ambience4
service5

Food was good but quite overpriced for w ...

vip
Dined 4 days ago

Food was good but quite overpriced for what we got ($110 per person). Service was wonderful.

food5
ambience5
service5

Came to San Francisco for a quick weeken ...

Dined on April 10, 2016

Came to San Francisco for a quick weekend trip and pleasantly surprised to have been recommended this place! Love it!

food5
ambience5
service5

Large Whiskey selection

Dined on March 31, 2016

Large Whiskey selection

food3
ambience4
service5
value3

Great bar and ambiance! Food though is hit or miss

Dined on March 26, 2016

Came here based on the recommendation of a friend who works in the whisky industry who told me this was the best spot to find a stellar whisky selection in San Francisco. He was right! The selection is AMAZING. Really top notch. The bar is beautiful, the service is impeccable, and the cocktails are pretty darn good as well (if straight scotch isn't your thing). The only aspect of the meal that wasn't absolutely perfect was the food itself. Some of the dishes were great, including the Mars Attacks (deep fried octopus), shrimp and bacon skewers, and sashimi. The pork belly was tough ( literally couldn't swallow a piece without choking unless it was chewed intensely) and the grilled veggies were undercooked. If you're looking for a place to drink some scotch, this is the place for you!

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience5
service5
value4

Go for the bar, not the food.

Dined on March 6, 2016

I think this place is a must for whisky lovers. Its a great spot to get a drink and some appetizers. Or a late night snack. Great service. Mediocre sushi. Presented well but didn't wow me flavor wise.

Tags: late-night find
food5
ambience5
service5

Excellent food and very good service. Wi ...

Dined on February 11, 2016

Excellent food and very good service. Will definitely come back !

food3
ambience5
service1
value3

Waited forever for sub par food.

Dined on February 11, 2016

I waited well over an hour for my food. The others got their food in 15 and about 40 minutes. The first dish was cold and the second was overseasoned. My food was great, but I don't know if that was because I waited so long for it. There were barely any other people dining there. I loved the ambience, but I'm never paying that much to wait that long for low quality food. Not even an apology for the wait.

Tags: vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience5
service4
value2

Cool vibe, way overpriced

Dined on January 24, 2016

Atmosphere is the best part of Nihon. Great date spot if you like a more modern atmosphere w/ cool lighting and electro music background that's at a great background volume (ie. dont go here for a quiet candelit romance) and nice little bar area for happy hours. Food is decent, but definitely overpriced even by SF standards. In a vacuum, the sushi is good not great but in the context of SF, it is not the place to go for good sushi. The drinks list is decent, usually prepared pretty well but mostly on the smaller side, and even more overpriced than the food, even by SF standards. Great whiskey list, had some really great Japanese and traditional scotch when we were there, but again, its pretty pricey.

Tags: hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Great Whisky List

Dined on January 16, 2016

If you love rare Scotch whiskies, this place is a must-try. The prices are steep, even for the more common whiskies, so it's better for a special occasion. The maki we ate was delicious. There are better spots in the city for Japanese food, but for whisky selection, Nihon can't be beat.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find
food1
ambience2
service2
value2

Underwhelmed

Dined on January 3, 2016

Visiting the area, Nihon came highly recommended by a local resident so we had high hopes. We were told to try the Uni on a Spoon but by our 8pm reservation they were out of uni. The sushi menu is very limited; if you're looking for a traditional sushi place, this isn't it (there isn't even any sake). This restaurant is more about the ambiance and the social scene, not the food. The sushi rolls are mediocre, you can't order any sushi not on the menu, and the best item we tried were the Japanese wings (and normally I wouldn't go to a sushi place for warm food but we were so disappointed in everything else, we decided to try them).

Tags: hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

Hihon!

Dined on November 14, 2015

Great place, extensive whiskey list, fabulous food! Very loud on a Friday night, there's a DJ so not great for dinner conversation.

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience3
service4

Great Sushi and Scotch experience, expect the best

Dined on November 11, 2015

I use Nihon for an early intimate business dinner usually, and then head down to the bar for a taste of some amazing scotch on the way out. I live in Seattle but work in SF, and I am becoming a repeat offender here!

Tags: fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem
food4
ambience5
service5

What a gem of a find !

Dined on October 30, 2015

We were happily surprised to find a sushi restaurant near the venue where we were headed in the mission area. We had never been here and didn't have much time to research or read other reviews so we took a chance and so happy we did. The quality and the creativity of the food presented was wonderful and fresh. The service (we sat upstairs with a male waiter) was awesome - our server was super helpful and very kind - I actually didn't think I was in SF for a second he was so genuine. We will definitely come back!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
food3
ambience3
service3

thought it was okay

Dined on October 24, 2015

This is more of a place for a drink aND appetizer in my opinion. For the price, the food was okay. If you want I spend a lot of money for okay Japanese food then you'll be happy here. They did have an excellent whiskey selection and a lot of good Japanese Whiskeys.

Tags: vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience5
service5

Great place!

Dined on October 17, 2015

Awesome place with hundreds of whiskys to choose from. The service was great as well!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot
food4
ambience4
service4

The food is always great. The quail egg ...

Dined on October 1, 2015

The food is always great. The quail eggs were fantastic!

food4
ambience3
service3

I want to check more attributes but

Dined on September 17, 2015

The odd thing is that I could almost check any one of these various attributes, the issue is that various attributes cancels out others, i.e. is it almost romantic but way too loud. Its so small that big groups seem to overshadow any adjacent tables. That said, the whiskey list is stellar, (a bit pricey for the pour), the plates are perfect for the scale and type of bar, its cozy but upstairs can be incredibly noisy given the hard surfaces, very tight quarters and open mezzanine. I almost hate for it to be any busier .

Tags: neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service4

Great food and cocktails

vip
Dined on August 5, 2015

Great food and cocktails

food4
ambience1
service3

Loud place

Dined on June 27, 2015

This was our 3rd visit to this restaurant. We kept coming back because the food is good. But during this visit, the music was so loud, my husband and I had to yell at each other the entire length of dinner. This place is no longer suitable for romantic date nights.

Tags: vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience4
service3

I would recommend sitting at the back ro ...

vip
Dined on June 7, 2015

I would recommend sitting at the back room upstairs. Intimate and quiet setting there.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food1
ambience3
service3

Ugh sushi, impressive whiskey list

vip
Dined on May 31, 2015

We went to Nihon on Saturday night with a reservation already set for 2 at 8:45. We were there 15 minutes early. We checked in with the host and he said ok, but then seemed to forget about us after 25 minutes even though we were standing next to the desk the entire time! I had to reach out again to ask about the status of our table - and he completely forgot we had a reservation and thought we were walk-ins! A bit frustrating but we finally got seated. Food - we ordered two maki rolls and neither were memorable. The shonen knife maki was so, so bland - there was no flavor. Not only was the maki messily made, but there wasn't even fish on top of the entire maki! What?! The volcano roll was better, but not by that much; the habanero tobiko overwhelmed the entire maki and you barely tasted the tuna. Perhaps intentional? We also ordered the salmon sashimi which had the SCALES on a few of the pieces still, and also the bincho carpaccio which was ridiculously unevenly sliced. C'mon Nihon - you're barely cooking in that kitchen - brush up on your knife skills and work on your flavor profile! For what you are charging at least make sure that the quality is DECENT! And make sure the fish isn't making it's way out of the kitchen with scales on it still. Yeesh. Whiskey list was impressive but that's all that I would potentially (95% not likely) come back for - definitely NOT the food! Even during the Happy Hour special. So disappointing.

Tags: vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience4
service4

Some dishes were great

Dined on May 16, 2015

Most of the dishes we ordered were very good. Some were outstanding and some were just good. We loved the hamachi dish in the crudo section. 2 out of 3 cocktails were great. Interesting space and seating, cozy and romantic. We were in the mid-level room in the back.

Tags: romantic
food5
ambience4
service4

Really good

Dined on May 16, 2015

The food was really good. The pork belly was uuuuuuhMAZING! Everything was great. We ordered the chefs plate for sushi and it was fantastic! It's a little pricey but for a special night out it's great!

Tags: fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience5
service4

Happy Hour spot

Dined on May 10, 2015

The best place to be is downstairs during happy hour. We were upstairs in the dinner area. The food was pricey but delicious. It's half off at happy hour. The whiskey list is 5 pages. Try one of the Suntory. Delicious and smooth. Bottom line: Go for the whiskey. Have a half off small plate. It will be delicious. Do not try to eat a dinner's worth of food. It will break the bank for food that does not quite blow your mind, but is good. We spent $200 on two people for food and drink, and I still went home and ate a sandwich.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience5
service5

Whisky and Sushi is a wonderful mix!

vip
Dined on May 9, 2015

You wouldn't ever thing or expect it, but whisky (straight up) completely compliments sashimi. Its a great food-taste-experience

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot
food5
ambience4
service5

Whisky Paradise

Dined on May 6, 2015

We had a lovely dinner at Nihon. And what a treat for a whisky lover! So many single malts to choose from. You can order either a full pour (1.5 oz) or a half pour (.75 oz). Half pours allow you to sample more from the vast and impressive selection and also help soften the blow of premium prices. Other reviewers have complained about the pricey menu. We found the whisky prices to be high but on a par with other high end restaurants in SF. But no other restaurant will have a selection like this. The food was quite good. We found the preparations to be creative and pleasant to the eye and the pallet. The service was prompt and friendly. Sure it's expensive, but it's also a special experience. We had a wonderful evening and will definitely return whenever we are in SF>

food3
ambience4
service4

Overpriced. Food isn't particularly amaz ...

Dined on April 16, 2015

Overpriced. Food isn't particularly amazing. Good place for groups, I wouldn't come for a one on one date. Fun place to drink and socialize with a group of friends to split the tab.

food5
ambience5
service5

Exceeds All Expectations!

Dined on April 12, 2015

If you are a Japanese food fan, whiskey fan, or just a foodie in general, look no further! Everything here is melt-in-your mouth amazing! It is pricey but the value exceeds the price and is well, well worth it. The bar is the only thing that matches the quality of the food. For example, I am not a whiskey fan and yet, their whiskey sours are so impeccable, I enjoyed every last drop. My husband is the whiskey fan and he and his buddy had so much fun pouring over the endless selections. The only thing that would've made it above amazing would be if they had whiskey flights!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience4
service4

need to update menu

vip
Dined on March 28, 2015

Points off for having a menu on.line and on their window that lists oysters. They don't serve them anymore. We were disappointed but the food they actually serve is great.

Tags: fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience4
service3

Go for Happy Hour only.

Dined on March 15, 2015

Good whiskey collection but pricey. Mediocre food. No Japanese/Asian people working (except for one female waitress). Doesn't carry main entrees like Soba, Udon, Tempura Vegetables, Teriyaki dishes... mainly just appetizers and sushi rolls. Very design setup. Cute interior. Upstairs is very vibrant and cool. However, in the 'orange room' upstairs, they were blasting 80's pop rock music really loudly.. which was kind of annoying. Service was friendly but extremely SLOOOOOW - literally had one person . Our food took 45 minutes to arrive. (People were complaining) Got the Happy Hour specials down stairs first, then moved upstairs... only to find that they served from the same menu! ... Yeah, so I would go again, but only for the Happy Hour from 5:30-7pm.

Tags: good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience3
service4

Good but not outstanding.

Dined on March 1, 2015

We reserved a table on the second floor. I was glad to be up there as the first floor lounge was too loud for conversations. The Whiskey list as suggested by the name of the restaurant was quite long and varied. You have your choice of .75 ounce or 1.5 ounce glasses. Prices range from 8 to 35 plus a pour. We enjoyed the drinks and the food was tasty. I was disappointed by the rubbery and cold quail eggs and bitter pork belly. Hard to mess up pork belly! The Dr Octopus was exceptional and I enjoyed the yellow fin shiitake dish. Over all it was a decent but not exceptional restaurant.

Tags: special occasion
food5
ambience5
service5

Great for people who love Burbon and whi ...

vip
Dined on January 18, 2015

Great for people who love Burbon and whiskey, cocktails are great too. Their food menu is pretty extensive for the space and has something for everyone. Loved our server, have had him couple of times now and always provides great service.

food5
ambience4
service2

Service Standards

Dined on January 10, 2015

I have been to this restaurant a few times now and have very much enjoyed it each time. The only problem I have ever encountered was feeling like our server is always overwhelmed with larger parties which then makes he/she unavailable to the smaller parties. It has happened a few different times and and paying the prices that you do at that restaurant and also feeling neglected isn't the best combo. I definitely suggest going and trying out this restaurant for yourself. Food is incredible.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

Had a great romantic dinner

Dined on December 17, 2014

We were surprised & delighted by the food and excellent service. The shrimp tempura maki was our favorite.

Tags: fit for foodies, romantic, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience4
service3

Whiskey…lots of it

Dined on December 14, 2014

This place looks cool, feels very laid back and makes really good drinks. You are paying for them though. The drinks are way way too expensive. When asking for a shot of a whiskey they recommend, their go-to was a $40 shot. Hahaha! Food was good, and a lot of it you can find at any sushi spot. The one thing that stuck out was this hot stuffed mushroom. Wow! I will be back, but for happy hour!

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience4
service4

Great Style in an Unlikely Setting

Dined on November 23, 2014

Located on a funky stretch of Folsom Street the warmth and ambience of Nihon Whiskey Lounge is an astounding contrast. It comes with a price, however. $13.00 cocktails and $19.00 sushi rolls. Expensive Crudo in Lilliputian sizes. If you have the dough for it, go for it. The food and drinks were quite delicious. They also have a happy hour where some selected menu items are half price-which would put them at a reasonable level. We tried the THUNDERBIRD: fried soft shell crab, kaiware, gobo & daikon sprouts, topped with eel, avocado & tobiko and while the large maki slices were a little difficult to eat, it was very tasty. We also had the diminutive Black Ahi and Salmon Belly crudos, yummy but tiny, and Goma Ae: spinach with sesame paste, which weirdly also contained chilled hunks of cauliflower AND broccoli. We did expect the cauliflower since it was listed on the menu, but broccoli TOO? I would have liked more spinach! We sat upstairs on the Folsom Street side where the music was a bit on the loud side and the noisy conversations and laughter of the bar patrons carried up the stairs. Probably not the best for a quiet conversation or romantic dinner, but it certainly gave it an exciting atmosphere. There is also a smaller cozier dining area a couple steps down where the sound was more muted. I got the impression that the bar was really where it was happening, and I will sit down there when I return to check out their happy hour one day.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
food3
ambience4
service4

Fun Night!

Dined on November 16, 2014

We came here early for dinner. The bar area is beautiful with wall of bottles. We ate upstairs. Service was slow. Some of the food was good, and some not so good. None of it was great. The drinks were fun.

Tags: special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food4
ambience3
service4

Yummy

vip
Dined on November 2, 2014

Like the food and drink here. Chose to order apps and starters - Manila tofu, jalapeño hamachi, carpaccio were wonderful.

Tags: neighborhood gem, hot spot
food5
ambience5
service5

YUMMMMMM!

Dined on October 29, 2014

Excellent food, service and drinks! This was probably my favorite sushi experience outside of Japan! Great quality fish! And the whiskey selection is off the charts!

Tags: fit for foodies, special occasion, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
food5
ambience4
service3

Great food and drinks

Dined on October 18, 2014

The food was delicious and the drinks were perfect for the start of the weekend. They have an extensive menu of whisky and a decent selection of signature drinks. The problem we had was at the very beginning; it took over 20 minutes for someone to bring us water, and that was only after we asked for it. A few minutes after that, our server finally came by to take our food and drink order.

Tags: fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene

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