Here's what we consider five top highlights:
RN74: Michael Mina’s SoMa Burgundian-inspired wine bar will storm the holiday early with a special Parisian-themed blowout on Friday, July 13, replete with French food and live entertainment. Highlights include a special $1 menu (the likes of oysters, French pastries and truffle popcorn), special themed cocktails and a slew of performers such as acrobats, contortionists and an accordion player. There’s no cover charge, and guests who come dressed in Parisian costume will receive one free drink and will be eligible to win a gift certificate for two at RN74 or, for the runner-up, a bottle of wine (July 13, 3-10 PM; 301 Mission St.; 415-543-7474).
Grand Cafe: Union Square’s send-up of La Coupole will be hosting a Bastille bash so grand it has been extended to two days. On both Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 5:30 PM, guests can expect to find “Marie Antoinette” at the restaurant passing out French cupcakes and glasses of wine. In addition, anyone wearing a beret or a mustache on Saturday will receive a free glass of champagne and be eligible to win dinner for two at the Grand Cafe. Diners who stick around can order off the regular or special à la carte menu that will be served in the main dining room (July 13 and 14; 500 Geary St.; 415-292-0101).
Bouchon Bistro: Up in Yountville, Thomas Keller and crew will be putting on its annual holiday family-friendly Bastille Day carnival. The all-day celebration includes food, French wines, face painting, live music and other festivities, including the ever-popular Dunk Tank, in which guests can take their best shot at Keller and other local Yountville personalities, with proceeds going toward the local elementary school. The event is free, but tickets can be purchased for food and drinks (individually priced from $2-$6). Pre-purchased tickets are being sold now at the host stand at Bouchon Bistro. In addition to the event, Bouchon Bistro will be open for its regular service (July 14, noon-9 PM; 6534 Washington St., Yountville; for more info call 707-944-8037).
Left Bank: Roland Passot and his merry band of brasseries in Larkspur, Menlo Park and Santana Row will be celebrating the holiday in style with a series of à la carte specials, live French music, staff dressed up in traditional French garb and festive decorations (July 14, check the website for details for each branch).
Chouchou: It doesn’t get as much ink, but out in Forest Hills (that’s near West Portal for those who don’t get out this way often), the owner of this petite bistro and patisserie goes all out on Bastille Day. He and his staff plan to once again dress in period costumes (Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette) and serve a special 5-course prix fixe ($50) along with the regular la carte menu (July 14, 400 Dewey Blvd.; 415-242-0960).