It seemed like a simple request: OliverB had a car for the night, wanted to impress his lady, and asked about places to visit within an hour’s drive of San Francisco. OliverB was seeking a destination with history and ambiance, though with more charm than Michelin stars.

Le Chalet Basque in San Rafael hits the spot for DavidT, who says it’s “an old-school, family-style place” with stiff drinks and a pretty patio.

Robert Lauriston suggested Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero, which is both a restaurant and a 100-year-old bar where townies go to wet their whistles.

The Pelican Inn at Muir Beach, which feels like a 16th-century pub, is a favorite of Sharuf, who notes the reasonably priced lunches and weekend brunches.

Le Chalet Basque [North Bay]
405 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
415-479-1070

Duarte’s Tavern [Peninsula]
202 Stage Road, Pescadero
650-879-0464

The Pelican Inn [North Bay]
10 Pacific Way, Muir Beach
415-383-6000

Discuss: Bay Area driving destinations (or within 1hr of region)

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