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San Francisco nightlife

One day if I go to heaven, I'll look around and say, "It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco."
– Herb Caen

$1 - €0.91
78 °
Photo courtesy of Bin 38

Blackbird Bar

  • Castro, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 2124 Market St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94114
  • +1-415-503-0630

Drinks and beer are a steal, but intriguing drink ingredients like acid phosphate and "Trix syrup" keep your eyes on the curious cocktail menu.

Blue Bottle Coffee

  • Hayes Valley, Cafe, $$$$ $
  • 315 Linden St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94102
  • +1-415-252-7535

The small-batch roaster of legend with smooth brews and deep espresso. What the Hayes Valley kiosk lacks in counter space it makes up for with neighborhood charm. For a proper sit-down and maybe a bit of breakfast, stop by the .

Boot and Shoe Service

  • Oakland, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 3308 Grand Ave.
  • Oakland, CA, 94610
  • +1-510-763-2668

By the same genius behind the beloved , you can expect much of the same here by way of excellent pizza and Italian dishes. But the strong cocktails and communal tables makes for a fun night out. Come back the next day to nurse a hangover with Sightglass coffee at the cafe.

Bourbon & Branch

  • Tenderloin, Bar, $$$$ $$$
  • 501 Jones St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94102
  • +1-415-346-1735

There's the main bar, and then there are five more not-so-hidden bars inside, including the standing-room only , a fictional , , and a secret trapdoor that leads to the original speakeasy but is only available for large events. It's not all smoke and mirrors though — the drinks are strong, the classic cocktails are solid, and the craft ones are fun. There's a refreshing no-cellphone house rule too.


  • Embarcadero, Bar, $$$$ $$$
  • Pier 5
  • San Francisco, CA, 94105
  • +1-415-704-8866

Come at sunset for delicious tapas by Michael Chiarello, Moscow mules, and a stunning view of the Bay Bridge.

Hard Water

  • Embarcadero, Bar, $$$$ $$$
  • Pier 3
  • San Francisco, CA, 94111
  • +1-415-392-3021

The bright, horseshoe-shaped bar has the deepest whiskey cabinet in town (some 400 American varieties!). Pair your tumbler with soulful Creole fare and sunset views of the Bay and you've got a good night ahead of you.


  • Financial District, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 246 Kearny St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94108
  • +1-415-398-2827

If there was ever a reason to be spirited away to a FiDi (a cutesy moniker that makes the financial district automatically more fun), it would be sharing a seemingly bottomless punch bowl at a handsome watering hole.

Smuggler's Cove

  • Fillmore, Bar, $$$$ $$$
  • 650 Gough St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94102
  • +1-415-869-1900

Accessorize with an eyepatch here and no one will think anything of it. High seas overload is only emphasized by bartenders pouring long drinks and mixing swizzles fit for a Caribbean island, prohibition-era Havana, and the tiki god next door.

The Tipsy Pig

  • Marina , Beer Garden, $$$$ $$
  • 2231 Chestnut St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94123
  • +1-415-292-2300

The garden of this gastrotavern provides the perfect backdrop for frosty pints of artisanal brews and pretzel braids served with whole-grain mustard and smoked cheddar dip. If macaroni and cheese suddenly appears, no one is to blame.


  • Tenderloin, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 441 Jones St.
  • San Francisco, CA, 94102
  • +1-415-474-2284

A revelrous cocktail revival bar in the Tenderloin remembers its manners with a reverential menu that spans every era of alcohol (really) and reservations-only snugs (high-backed booths that were introduced so European ladies could imbibe with with abandon without being seen).

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