Your complete guide to nightlife in San Francisco
With its culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods the nightlife in San Francisco offers up something for everyone. Whether you are looking for the newest brew pub or even strip bars San Francisco has you covered. This guide will help everyone, from those visiting San Francisco, those brand new to the area, or those who are San Francisco natives. Looking for the best San Francisco nightlife is important when planning an evening outing with friends.
If you are planning to go bar hopping in San Francisco with your friends to celebrate a birthday, or you are in the area for the first time and want to visit a classic San Francisco establishment to those searching for casual sf bars this guide has you covered for the best nightlife in SF.
While there has been some uncertainty around nightlife in San Francisco since covid that may have left you wondering “are bars open in San Francisco?”, we can assure you, SF nightlife is back! We’ve compiled our all-time favorite bars to give you a roundup of the best nightlife in San Francisco.
Finding the Perfect Bar
There are many different ways to approach finding the best nightlife in SF. We always think the best way is by getting recommendations from friends and family. They know you best and can help guide you to a spot that will suit your personality and fit the mold for the type of outing you are trying to have.
Many people might not have friends or family who have been to San Francisco, thankfully there are many other ways to find the best nightlife in SF. Instagram and Tiktok are both wonderful resources when you are searching for the best places in a new city. Here you can find influencers who have tried and tested a number of different places in an area and can give you a good sense of what the vibe in these places are. You will be able to tell from their videos and images if the place they recommend fits your needs.
If you are briefly visiting the area and are looking for a bar or multiple bars in close proximity to you, you may also want to try googling with the parameters “bar hopping near me”. This search will give you a list of bars and the hours that they are open. This way you can properly plan an evening out.
Lastly, this guide is the perfect roundup of must-see San Francisco nightlife. Try to visit as many spots as possible on your next visit to the city by the bay.
There are so many amazing restaurant bars that are perfect for a night out. We recommend hitting up restaurant bars for early nights or even for any day drinking outing you may be planning. Check out the below for our favorites!
Also known as the House of Prime Rib, this iconic SF establishment is not to be missed when you are visiting San Francisco. This spot is a landmark, which opened in 1949, and it will transport you back in time. While you are here, visit the cocktail lounge and make sure to order a classic martini, manhattan, or gimlet. This will give you a taste of old SF.
Fog Harbor Fish House is one of the top 5 seafood restaurants in San Francisco according to Eater. They not only have a killer California focused wine list if you are in the mood for vino, they have some amazing cocktails that are crafted after the city itself. Try the Love Potion 39, a tribute to PIER 39, where they are located. If you’re looking for something more tropical, try the Alcatraz Escape cocktail, which is rum based. The list goes on, and you truly can’t go wrong with anything you order. Pro tip, they have a great Happy Hour!
Perfect for those looking to catch a game and have a casual evening out. With its multiple tv monitors, full bar, and great beers on tap you have everything you need for a fantastic evening. Get into the California mood while you are surrounded by the fun surf and sea inspired decor. Order one of their GIANT 21oz signature cocktails including the Sharkbite, Maverick Mai Tai, or California dreamin’. Or, make your drinking interactive with a 21oz Corona-rita, a margarita with an upside down corona inside! Located on PIER 39 this spot is in the center of all the action.
SF Brewing Co.
Sometimes you want to hit up the local brew scene and we know just the place for you to go. SF Brewing Co, which is located in Ghirardelli square is the epitome of local, not to mention this place is also delicious. They have San Francisco themed brews like their signature “Karl” which is a Hazy IPA. This represents the unofficial mascot of San Francisco Karl the Fog. They have beers for all types of beer drinkers from those looking for lighter versions like their light lager to those who are a little more adventurous and are looking for a sour. This spot also serves up some great pub food.
21st Amendment Brewing
Located next to the ballpark this spot is easy to get to and perfect place to go after you catch a game at Oracle Park. They not only serve up some delicious brew they are also slinging some scrumptious food offerings. 21st amendment is best known for their seasonal beers that are widely distributed, however, you can find some special small batch brews when you visit their brewpub. This spot is only open until 10pm so make sure to plan your evening accordingly.
Magnolia Brewing, the 20 year old brew pub is located in the heart of the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood. The building itself was built in 1903 and is historic in and of itself, it was home to a pharmacy for many years, until it became a hippie hangout in 1964 known as the Drugstore Cafe. They specialize in only a couple styles of beer, but have visiting beers on tap as well. Try their “Kalifornia Kolsch” or their “Magnolia Fivey time Pale Ale” to get a sense of their brewing style. This is also a great excuse to check out a different SF neighborhood that has so much history.
Madrone Art Bar
When it comes to San Francisco nightlife Madrone Art Bar is a local favorite. The proof for this lies in its recent accolate, voted “Best Bar in the Bay” in 2022. Its rotating art installations, full bar, and late hours are also reasons it tops the list as a go-to spot. Their entire mission is to bring people together over beautiful exhibits from both emerging and established artists. Open from 4pm to 2am this is definitely a spot where you can end the night.
Buena Vista Cafe
Located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood the Buena Vista Cafe has a storied and important history to SF. Their famous and historic Irish coffee story starts in 1952 when the owner was trying to recreate an Irish coffee that he had at an airport in Ireland. TheIrish coffee recipe hasn’t changed since they perfected it and it is now a staple in SF for visitors and locals alike. The fame and legend of the drink can’t be understood until you try it for yourself. Make sure that this gem is on your list when visiting SF.
Daytime Must Visit
We know, we know this isn’t a nighttime location. However some of you may be searching for the best place to go to get breakfast cocktails, especially when you’re on vacation. We may be a little biased, but we are serving up the BEST bloody mary’s throughout San Francisco. From the homemade mix to our bacon topping and perfect amount of spice, this bloody mary will blow you away. We also have an assortment of breakfast cocktails for you to enjoy as well. Make sure to try the blood orange mimosa for a little twist to a classic or order up a sex on the beach for something a little stronger. Eagle Cafe is also a great spot if you are looking for a little romance.
We hope that this guide gives you a good sense of the different nightlife available in San Francisco. No matter where you end up going, we know that you’ll be able to take in all the San Francisco charm.