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General Info
During Prohibition, the San Mateo Coast was an ideal spot for rum running, bootleggers and “speakeasies,” establishments which sold illegal booze to thirsty clients. One of the most successful speakeasies of the era was “Frank’s Place” on the cliffs at Moss Beach. Built by Frank Torres in 1927, “Frank’s” became a popular nightspot for silent film stars and politicians from the City. Mystery writer Dashiell Hammett frequented the place and used it as a setting for one of his detective stories. The restaurant, located on the cliff, above a secluded beach was a perfect location to benefit from the clandestine activities of Canadian rum-runners. Under cover of darkness and fog, illegal whiskey was landed on the beach, dragged up a steep cliff and loaded into waiting vehicles for transport to San Francisco. Some of the booze always found its way into the garage beneath “Frank’s Place.” Frank Torres used his excellent political and social connections to operate a highly successful, if illegal, business. Unlike many of the other speakeasies along the coast, “Frank’s Place” was never raided. With the repeal of the prohibition in 1933 Frank Torres remained in the food service business as one of the most successful restaurateurs along the San Mateo County coastside. “Frank’s Place” now called THE MOSS BEACH DISTILLERY still retains its spectacular view and secluded location above the ocean coves.
Hours
Regular Hours
Mon - Sat:
Sun:
Payment method
amex
Price Range
$$$
AKA

The Distillery

Category
Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street, Lot, Private

Wi-Fi: Free

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Pets Allowed: Yes

Reviews

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coastxside

03/21/2013

Overall
LoCals OnLy

Its funny how half the people dont like this place just because they lied on ghost hunters that show aint even good

limaloof

04/23/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Old favorite

Wonderful location in Moss Beach, practically right on the ocean. The view is fantastic. The place has a lot of ambriance owing to the fact it was built in the early part of the 20th century. There's a patio (also with a great view). My husband and I have been going for years - it's a tradition for us - and the service has always been good, so has the food. There's even an elevator for people who need assitance in getting down to the patio floor, which is the bottom level. The food is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. For us, it's completely worth it.
Finally, some might criticize the whole Blue Lady thing, but it's not a gimic. As a native, I remember hearing rumours about a ghost at the Moss Beach Distillery way back during my childhood, which was the 1950s.

annfensel

03/01/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Beautiful and relaxing

We had an excellent meal here with an unbelievably yummy dessert. Definitely try the banana-marshmallow wontons, they are delicious! You can't beat the view, it's so relaxing to sit out on the deck and watch the sun set. It's a great little get away from San Francisco. We had a perfect evening here, and we'll be back soon!

Smitty101

09/22/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
GreatPlace on a Sunny Day

One of the best places for a pint and some food along this section of the coast. Plenty of deck chairs ensure everyone can enjoy the view. Thoughtfully, a large cache of blankets is available in case the fog starts to roll in.

valpro99

07/06/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
No Way out

After watching the Ghost Hunters episode there is now way I would pay to eat there. My wife and I are coming out to San Francisco and will eating and spending our money somewhere else.

ksjjj

11/03/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Different Restaurant?!

I am not sure if I came to the same restaurant that any of these people came to, who wrote reviews before me.
I did not come here to find a ghost, I came here to surprise my husband with an amazing brunch and stunning views, and that is exactly what I did.
I made a reservation and we were one of 3 tables to be seated in the front room at 11am this Sunday. Unlimited mimosas were delish, the fresh baked pastries were so yummy I think we had 3 servings, then we both ordered something different. I had Croque Madame and my husband had Gingersnap Pancakes, we loved every decadent bite and I think we were full into the next day!
Beyond the food being perfect, the views were stunning overlooking the ocean, even though it was a cloudy day the views were overwhelmingly perfect. I will be back for a drink to sit outside with my dog and a blanket. I am baffeled by these reviews before me, check this place out and you will be pleasantly surprised!

Mike9z

08/10/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Awful service, low quality meals

Slow service. Low quality meals. Iceberg lettuce salad = a head of lettuce, two strips of bacon, a couple of cut up cherry tomatoes, a picked onion and some dressing. We used to love this restaurant. Very lowly rated in our books now.

jhog

06/28/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Rebuttle to ghost hunter episode is rediculous

Did the person who wrote the rebuttle to the Ghost Hunter Episode see the show? The chef told Ghost Hunters of activity that included ""Swinging Lights"" and ""Laughing in the Ladies Room"" and claimed it as paranormal. Come on. Completely rediculous Moss Beach Distillery.

hatesfatboys

06/22/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Only ghosts should set foot

Reviewed both the Ghost Hunters episode and the Distillery's rebuttal on their site, and am appalled at the lack of remorse and absolute smug response by executive chef. I will make it a point to inform familiy, friends and co-workers to not support this establishment.

8675309121

06/20/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
what else are they dishonest about?

i wouldn't recommed this place either.i also saw the ghost hunters eposide where they lied and said it was haunted when it was proved that it was cleary a deliberate HOAX used to get more customers.in the description it says that the customers laugh it off.well im not laughing it off and im sure that was put their by an employee or the owner himself.
what else are they lying about? am i having steak or dog meat? is it really fine wine im drinking or is it cheap stuff from wal-mart?
they lied to the public about their FAKE ghost story so they very well could be lying about alot of other things as well.i wont go back there again and dont recommend them at all.the food isnt that good and knowing the place is rigged with stuff to make you think there are ghost is just plain childish and insults the intelligence of its customers.
any buisness that lies to your face and wont budge even when confronted with the evidence that was found is not worth trusting again.their hoax ghost story was also on Unsolved Mystery show.yes their lies go that far back!
makes me think that they might also have cameras to watch me in the bathroom or something.no,im not over reacting.
just go to youtube online and watch the episode and then see for youself.

monkies

06/16/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
expensive, and slightly above average food

So we went there on a recommendation saying the view was nice, good food, etc. The view was nice, and the brunch menu was tasty. But I would never go back mainly because it was waaaaay to expensive for what you get. Sure there's a frosted flake french toast, and it was good, but nothing that warranted a $60 bill for 2 people. Oh, and the hashbrowns were the microwaved kind!...yeah, the kind that you get at McDonalds! How hard is it to make your own hash browns, especially for that price?

GodRaider

06/10/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Worst Hoax

Let's be realistic this place may have great food and a great location and even great ghost stories but how can you believe in there ghosts after watching Ghost Hunters. I was planning on going with my wife for dinner but after watching The episode on June 4th 2008 and seeing all the gadgets they use to make you think it is haunted give me a break. I don't know if I want to eat at a place that has no morales or respect for the cliental that eats there. I wounder if they would think it funny if after I ate my meal I tried to pay with fake money mabey monopoly money it's as real as the Blue Lady.

jenlasyl

06/09/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
What Jerks

I would never even consider your restaurant based upon Taps visit. Pathetic! A schooling on morals and ethics would be appropriate.

cigardan1

06/07/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
The restaurant without ethical standards

In response the appearance of MBD on Ghost Hunters, on SciFi:
Summary:
MBD brought in the team from Ghost Hunters on SciFi and lied to them about reported hauntings and then tried to cover it up.

Review
MBD mocked people trying to do a job. Whether their food is good or not is not even relevant for me. They tried to mislead people who were investigating on good faith. The folks at Ghost Hunters traveled all the way across the country to check out this farce. Too bad they wasted their time.

And then, the response from the restaurant is to post some long winded Soliloquy on their website, without the ability for readers to respond or counter. This written trash attempted to attack the credibility of the GH team that had on good faith taken what they had been given, and had in all fairness been mocked. Why would the GH team do any historical review, why would they research the Internet to see if something is real? The poor guy who represented the restaurant was the worst. he mentioned all the ""haunted"" things and then acknowledged later that they were all fake? What????

This was a publicity stunt of this restaurant, and it failed miserably. Why would you support a restaurant by buying their food when they openly display that they have no morals or ethical standards. Even if their food is edible, there are better restaurants with harder working more ethical people in the Half Moon Bay Area. (My favorite is Barbara's Fish Trap in Princeton, and the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is doing some great things with their new chef). Do not take your $$$ to this mockery of a restaurant.

I have been there once, (Before seeing this mockery on TV) and have not made it back. Must not be that great. Weird that I have been to Barbara's about 10 times since then.

Ridiculous.... Give your money to businesses that deserve it

Eaglesong

06/06/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Cheap, Pathetic Shot At Advertising Your Disgusting Restaurant

Too bad I had to put a star there. I'm disgusted that for a place that claims to be haunted for generations, you have to submit to cheap dimestore theatrics. Oh wait, you have your ""certified psychic"" on your site disclaiming the Taps Team regarding their recent 'ghost hunt.' And we're supposed to believe someone that is on the payroll of your restaurant, right? Heh - your so-called 'Psychic"" is just as cheap and disgusting as your Manager who, by the way is on the same payroll right?

It's disgusting that TAPS - WHO YOU DID NOT PAY TO BE THERE - drove all the way from RI to be there to sincerely help you, and all you did was invite them to a cheap carnival. Gas is expensive, time is priceless, and according to the other reviews here your food and service are as disgusting as your theatrics.

What a cheap-shot at advertising your pathetic restaurant.

Oh yeah, ask your ""psychic"" if he can see what I'm holding up...it's personally for him...

iwthcs

06/05/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
FAKE!!!!

They advertise that the place is haunted by the ""LADY IN BLUE"". TAPS went in to try and find something paranormal. They found quite a bit but it wasn't paranormal. Moss Beach Distillery is nothing but a cheap funhouse trying to give it's patrons a fake thrill. If you want to go because of the food, that is fine. If you're going to try and see the ""BLUE LADY"" then do not be fooled by the circus tricks they try to pull.

Idolsmasher

06/05/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Over-Priced Tourist Trap! - Tacky with a view.

Not a good example of lovely San Mateo county night life. It's basically over priced food and seafood you can get anywhere else. Yes, the bar is lovely and everyone's got a story (or knows someone who had an experience there) but the view of the ocean is the only redeeming feature. You're paying for a view and if you buy enough booze at the bar you may actually enjoy the place.

As for the 'Ghost story'- I was just informed that a TV show called ""Ghost Hunters"" investigated and debunked many of the unexplained 'ghost activity' as mechanical hoaxes!- (this as of 6/4/08) The head chef (Spencer Grey) didn't seem to care he's been jerking people around with these stunts.

newlife2211

06/05/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
DON'T EAT HERE!!!!

The owners of the Moss Beach Distillery have no problem with going on a nationally broadcast show, Ghost Hunters and have absolutely no problem LYING about their supposed ""HAUNTED"" establishment. What does that say about their restaurant, their supposed HAUNTED establishment (Which is just a funhouse filled with tricks to dupe the public into stopping to buy their cheap food) and the owner's ability to do ANYTHING in order to make a buck! These people are disgusting!!