Really, you should drink in every San Francisco bar before you die. But since that's not going to happen (or is it??), here are 42 San Francisco bars you absolutely HAVE to drink in before you make your way to the big fernet factory in the sky.
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If you've never been on a tour of San Francisco's 119-year-old brewery, you need to go on a tour of San Francisco's 119-year-old brewery, if only to get access to Anchor's taproom. Overlooking the brewhouse's massive copper stills, the taproom (which has every Anchor Christmas Ale bottle since 1975 behind the bar) is where you'll both start and end a tour that includes really, really generous (and tour-included!) pours of as many as eight different on-tap Anchor beers. Pro tip: schedule a tour TODAY; it's $15 a person and the soonest you can book one is three months from now.
2. Aub Zam Zam
Once overseen by the awesomely iron-fisted reign of Bruno "Don't You Dare Order A Vodka Martini" Mooshei (RIP), Aub Zam Zam still has the only three things you need to make an SF drinkery bucket list: 1) a Persian mural (MUST. HAVE.), 2) 1,000-to-1 gin-to-vermouth martinis, and 3) a horseshoe bar overseen by a regular who lived above Aub Zam Zam for 15 years and bought it when Bruno passed.
For what it lacks in size (it's the smallest bar in San Francisco at 19ft x 7ft), Black Horse London Pub makes up for in being one of the best bars in California. Really though, it's hard not to like everything about this place, from the bottled beers they pull out of a bathtub full of ice behind the bar, to the bathroom you have to pretzel your way into, to the dart board that is basically impossible to play. Oh, and you don't just need to drink here before you die; you need to drink here and play 1-4-24 with James "Big Dawg" King here before you die. Actually beating him: optional.
The first time you get into Bourbon & Branch is better than the first time you get into any other bar in San Francisco.
There's nothing like watching two dudes going HAM on The Lion King's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" while eating free peanuts and drinking cheap domestic beers served by bartending legend Mama Candy. Literally, nothing.
Chinatown + Buddha beers + dice + Mark + having to be buzzed through a metal gate in the back of the bar to get into the basement bathroom + fireworks out front + 33 best dive bars in the country status + Three Penis whiskey = yaaaaaaaaaaaaas.
At last count, Buena Vista (one of the oldest bars in the city) had served 30 million Irish coffees since introducing the drink to America in the '50s. Snaps.
We're not sure what we like most about this bar: the living room feel, the cheap drinks, the mostly working piano in that back room, or CC. Oh right, TIE.
This locals-only Mission dive could honestly have its own bucket list. 1) You've gotta play One Flop, 2) you've gotta have a 6am beer here, 3) you've gotta get breakfast, 4) ...
10. Comstock Saloon
Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger's Comstock Saloon is essentially the ultimate high-low bar -- the high manifests itself in a gloriously throwback Barbary Coast interior overseen by curly mustachioed 'tenders (okay, fine, just Jonny, but still) in classy ties and vests; and the low in a FREE LUNCH DEAL on Fridays that you trigger by buying two cocktails that you were going to buy anyway. Also: how cool is that fan???
Opened almost a quarter century ago by a New Hampshire native, this Mark Twain-nodding sports pub does so many things right that we can actually look past the one thing it does very, very wrong: it's a Boston sports bar. But the incredible Beantown memorabilia (check out the framed shot of Larry Legend choking Dr. J), the awesome private party room with dual big screens (watch at least one NFL Sunday here, trust us), the heated back patio area, and the fact that they keep a vintage Ted Williams baseball card INSIDE the behind-bar freezer (get it??) make this maybe SF's best sports bar repping the wrong team.
Dave's is the kind of bar you go to for the company, the cheap drinks, and Dave, who's both a real person, and a great one. Dave's is supposed to close for good on New Year's, so get this one done ASAP.
13. Final Final
If The Connecticut Yankee is the best sports bar repping the wrong team in SF, the Final Final might be the best one repping the right team. Owned by the same guy for nearly four decades (much love, Arnie), it's the kind of throwback that opens early enough to play every March Madness game, has enough TVs to show 'em all (11 flats!), plus there are bar games (darts, pool, Big Buck Hunter), 24 beers on tap, and self-service popcorn. There isn't a sporting event that isn't amazing to watch here, and it's far enough on the edge of the Marina that it isn't totally full of dudes wearing Wayfarers indoors.
The length of time you'll wait for a drink here is directly proportional to the awesomeness of this little bar within a bar in the back of Dalva. Note: you're gonna be waiting for a drink for a long-ass time.
"Wait, the steakhouse? You're sure this is one of the SF bars I need to drink in before I die? Think you've got this on the wrong list, bro." Nope, right list, bro. Pony up to the bar (or the bar seating behind it), order a Manhattan for under $10, drink it, then refill it TWICE with the sidecar shaker that comes with it. Then you'll understand.
16. House of Shields
God damn it this place is beautiful. Restored to its original 1908 luster, this Financial District-er favorite is nuts to butts pretty much every drinking night of the week, and the striking interior is the reason why. That, and The Alcohol. Also: is it just us, or is the men's room door here really, really small?
17. The Interval
Located in the weirdest part of Fort Mason, tucked behind where Off the Grid sets up, this was one of the best bars to open last year IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY and is easily one of the most unique places you'll drink in any city -- you're surrounded by floor-to-ceiling books, an art gallery, and crazy mechanical fixtures everywhere. If there were a list of drinks you had to drink in San Francisco before you died, a bunch of them would probably be made by bartender-to-know Jennifer Colliau.
Get a Mai Tai.
19. The Kezar Pub
This one really kinda comes with a caveat -- you shouldn't drink at Kezar on a regular day (I mean, you should, but still...). You should drink at Kezar during a Niners game. Or during a March Madness Final Four. Or during a Warriors Finals game. Or a Giants playoff game. Or the Super Bowl. Really any big sporting event -- that's when the bar is at its best/liveliest/cougar-iest. Just get there early enough to snag a seat.
20. Kozy Kar
Three things you need to know about Kozy Kar: 1) you can drink in a waterbed, an empty Jacuzzi, or a tricked-out GMC van, 2) the TVs splice together vintage commercials with hardcore porn, and 3) you'll probably need to burn your clothes after going here. Kidding! You'll definitely need to burn them. Still, you gotta do it at least once.
This is about as good as secret bars get in San Francisco. There are few cooler ways to enter a bar in the 7x7 than by punching a members-only pin number into a keypad on a loading dock door at the end of an alley.
22. Mikkeller Bar
There are only three bars opened by three-time Danish Brewery of the Year award-winner Mikkeller in the world: one in Copenhagen, one in Bangkok, and one in the Tenderloin. And only one of them has a secret sours bar in its basement.
24. Mr. Bing's
Chances are good you'll find one of the bar guys from Comstock Saloon here after their shift, and that's really all you need to know about Mr. Bing's.
25. Northstar Cafe
Not only is this one of the oldest bars in San Francisco (1882!), it's also home to one of the city's best Customer of the Month programs: win and you get 30 free drink tickets. Throw in $4 beers during a six-hour happy hour Monday to Friday (1-7pm), free popcorn and pool, and Bay Area pride all up on the walls and you've got yourself an SF drinking must. Bonus fact for Cal fans: former Golden Bear/Heisman runner-up Chuck Muncie used to be a regular.
26. The Page
Weirdly, the FAQ page on its website does the best job really anyone could on why it makes this list. On its opening hours: "Like a lot of us, The Page takes a while to get dressed, and looks better in dim light." On accepting credit cards: "None. We accept cash only. Berating us about this only makes us stronger." On whether or not you can get a mojito: "No."
27. The Pied Piper
This is the kind of place your parents visiting from Palm Springs will tell you to meet them at when they're in town, and you'll be like, "Guys, I'm an editor at Thrillist, where it's basically my job to find cool bars and restaurants in the city, can I pick the place?" And they'll be like, "Nope!" And so you'll go and as soon as you walk in, take one look at the mural behind the bar, and one sip of the martini your parents are definitely paying for (because this place is all the expensive), you'll be like, "Holy shit, good job mom and dad."
It's not on here solely because of the alleyway Big Wheel races on the Fourth of July, but that's definitely a big part of it.
29. Red's Java House
It's one of the most storied establishments in San Francisco, and there are few other places we'd rather be on a nice day than the back, Bay-facing patio of Red's, drinking a pitcher(ssssss) of Anchor. And we're not the only ones: before the 49ers Super Bowl victory parade in 1989, Joe Montana, Eddie De Bartolo, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Michael Carter, and Mike Cofer stopped by to down a bunch of dogs with onions and cheese on them (and probably beers too, because why wouldn't they??). Also, Red's is home to one of the city's all-time great menu items: "Double Cheeseburger + Bud."
30. The Riptide
If there was one bar in San Francisco we could see ourselves living in, it would be this one. Sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter(/SF summer) night just feels right.
31. Smuggler's Cove
This should also be on your "US Bars You Need to Drink in Before You Die" list. No one does super-strong rum drinks as well as Martin Cate, and certainly not in a three-story pirate grotto with bars on two floors plus its own waterfall.
If they gave out awards for old-man bars, Specs' would win all the awards. Related: someone should start giving out awards for old-man bars.
This is the kind of place your Lower Haight roommate takes you to your first summer living in San Francisco, except he thinks driving there is a good idea, and four hours later you both end up deciding to walk home and get the car in the morning. (Also, I doubt you guys are reading this, but to the two German women who told me how to properly drink a boot of beer here back in 2006 while I was having a birthday lunch with my then-girlfriend, now-wife: thanks.)
There might not be a more famous margarita in the country. Wait, no, just checked, there definitely isn't.
35. The Tonga Room
We actually resisted going here for years because, well, for 1) it's in a hotel in Nob Hill (vom), for 2) it sounds kitschy as fuck, and for 3) we'd pretty much always prefer a good beer or a glass of whiskey to a Tiki drink. But then we actually went and realized it is definitely all of those things, and it doesn't matter because there's a goddamn lake in the middle of it.
36. Top of the Mark
That view, though.
If you've ever lived with three other people above Mad Dog in the Fog and could see this place from the Haight St-facing bay window in your tiny little room, you'll know that you can never, EVER look out of that window without then immediately walking across the street to drink a beer. It's got that kind of pull. Triple bonus points if you're drinking here during its Barleywine Festival.
38. Trick Dog
It's one of the most buzzed about cocktail bars in the world, to the point that Josh Harris and Scott Baird have turned something as simple as a cocktail menu refresh into an industry-stopping event.
What's up, historical landmark that's sat both literally and figuratively (liguratively??) at the center of SF's gay rights movement!?
40. The View Lounge
THAT VIEW, THOUGH.
This is probably going to be the hardest one to check off the list considering it's inside of a private club in the original Bank of Italy Building, but it's also going to be one of the most worthwhile ones. Wingtip has a whiskey selection that rivals (and maybe even surpasses) Nihon's, the 10th-floor bar gives you a holy-crap-it's-across-the-street view of the Transamerica Pyramid, and former Chronicle bar star Brian MacGregor is behind the stick.
There are plenty of other bars with patios, and plenty of other bars with pitchers of beer, and plenty of other bars with picnic tables, but there's only one Zeitgeist.
Grant Marek is Thrillist's Senior Cities Director and he's beaten the Big Dawg at 1-4-24. Congratulate him on Twitter at @grant_marek.
1. Anchor Brewing Company1705 Mariposa St, San Francisco
2. Persian Aub Zam Zam1633 Haight St, San Francisco
3. Black Horse London Pub1514 Union St, San Francisco
4. Bourbon and Branch501 Jones St, San Francisco
5. Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge1155 Grant Ave, San Francisco
6. Buddha Lounge901 Grant Ave, San Francisco
7. Buena Vista Cafe2765 Hyde St, San Francisco
8. CC's Cocktail Lounge2417 Lombard St, San Francisco
9. Clooney's1401 Valencia St, San Francisco
10. Comstock Saloon155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco
11. Connecticut Yankee100 Connecticut St, San Francisco
12. Dave's29 3rd St, San Francisco
13. Final Final2990 Baker St, San Francisco
14. Hideout (at Dalva)3121 16th St, San Francisco
15. House of Prime Rib1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco
16. House of Shields39 New Montgomery St, San Francisco
17. The Interval2 Marina Blvd, Fort Mason Building A, San Francisco
18. Li Po Cocktail Lounge916 Grant Ave, San Francisco
19. Kezar Pub770 Stanyan St, San Francisco
20. Marianne’s360 Jessie St, San Francisco
21. Mikkeller Bar34 Mason St, San Francisco
22. Monk’s Kettle3141 16th St, San Francisco
23. Kozy Kar Bar1548 Polk St, San Francisco
24. Mr. Bing's201 Columbus Ave, San Francisco
25. Northstar Cafe1560 Powell St, San Francisco
26. The Page298 Divisadero St, San Francisco
27. Pied Piper Bar & Grill2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco
28. Pop's2800 24th St, San Francisco
29. Red's Java HousePier 30, San Francisco
30. The Riptide3639 Taraval St, San Francisco
31. Smuggler's Cove560 Gough St, San Francisco
32. Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe12 William Saroyan Pl, San Francisco
33. Suppenküche525 Laguna St, San Francisco
34. Tommy's Mexican Restaurant5929 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
35. The Tonga Room & Hurricane Lounge950 Mason St, San Francisco
36. Top of the Mark999 California St, San Francisco
37. Toronado547 Haight St, San Francisco
38. Trick Dog3010 20th St, San Francisco
39. Twin Peaks Tavern401 Castro St, San Francisco
40. The View780 Mission St, San Francisco
41. Wingtip550 Montgomery St, San Francisco
42. Zeitgeist199 Valencia St, San Francisco
Anchor Brewing is America’s first craft brewery, with roots dating back to the California gold rush. Their beers are handmade from an all-malt mash from the traditional copper brewhouse with a rotation of latest limited-release of their different-every-year holiday brew. (Gulp!)
Zam Zam's a unique and lust-filled joint that's serving up cheap brews, great music, and a hipster-esque crowd.
Cow Hollow's Black Horse London Pub is the smallest bar in San Francisco at 19ft x 7ft and has enough character to be one of the best bars in California. All of the beers are bottled and kept in an ice-filled, claw-footed porcelain tub squeezed behind the bar, and the selection rotates based on whatever owner James "Big Dawg" King picks up at the grocery store. Aside from the tub of beer, there's a dart board that mostly decorative. Note: Black Horse is cash-only.
The goal of Bourbon and Branch is to take drinkers back to the speakeasy days of the Prohibition. To get in, you have to say a password into an intercom on one of the seedier stretches of the Tenderloin. Once the door opens (don't worry, it always does), you'll be ushered into a dark and cozy bar with hidden rooms, secret exit tunnels, candle-lit bookcases, and a fine collection of rare whiskey. The fact that there was an actual speakeasy at the location in the twenties helps make Bourbon and Branch one of the best secret bars in the city.
Don’t leave this tiny, narrow Chinatown dive until you’ve gotten bartender-legend (and owner) Mama Candy to pour you Chinese whiskey while you you sip on cheap bottles of domestic beer and have worked up the nerve to sing at least one power ballad on the karaoke machine and eaten your way through at least a few bowls of the free spiced peanuts. If you stay late enough, you may even get the ultimate reward: watching Mama Candy herself grab the mic for some Chinese karaoke.
Chinatown surprisingly houses some of our favorite dive bars in the city and Buddha is one of the diviest (and best). It’s cash-only, has a bathroom you can only access after being buzzed in by the bartender, and oh yeah, the bartender… he’ll play you a game of dice for a beer (lose and you buy him/you a beer, win and he buys you/him a beer). But it’ll have to be before 8pm so he can drive home after work. Yeah, it’s that kind of place.
It’s a rite of passage as a San Franciscan (or tourist, for that matter) to crowd up to the bar at Buena Vista mid-morning and sip on a piping hot Irish Coffee. It’s the birthplace of the boozy beverage (in America), after all, and these bartenders have been mixing them up assembly line-style since 1916. Sure, it’s inconveniently located in Fisherman’s Wharf, but it’s worth the trek for that signature mix of Irish whiskey, coffee, sugar, and cream in those delicate vintage glasses.
There are a few things that make this unpretentious Cow Hollow cocktail lounge so great: cheap drinks, a living room-meets-basement feel, an upright piano in the back room, and CC herself. Antique couches from almost every decade, Persian carpets, and leather barstools make CC's the kind of cozy bar worth holing up in all night.
Clooney's has got a ship galley-sized kitchen, with awesome 'tails and company.
From the folks behind Absinthe, Comstock is a classic San Francisco bar in North Beach. The throwback interior is outfitted with antique fans, a 150-year-old absinthe fountain, and the spot's original mahogany bar from 1907. The cocktails are just as classic as the bar, and the tie-and-vest wearing bartenders know how to mix pisco, lemon juice, and pineapple gomme into a standout punch.
This Potrero Hills spot is a great sports bar -- it just happens to represent all the wrong teams. The owner is a New England native, and it shows in the memorabilia around the bar. But get past that and you'll find one of the best spots to catch a game (or some live music) in the area.
Dave's dive is epically appropriate for late-night beer consuming, jukebox perusing, and awesome bartender stories.
No matter the game, Final Final will probably be showing it on one of its 11 (!!) flat screens. On top of that, it has bar classics like Big Buck Hunter, darts, & pool, plus 24 beers on tap & self-service popcorn to snack on.
Hideout (at Dalva) is the drinking equivalent of a Russian nesting doll. If you're having a few with the crowd inside Dalva, but feel the need for a quieter, more intimate atmosphere, simply slip deeper into the back. There you'll find Hideout, a minuscule but thoroughly enjoyable craft-cocktail bar where expert drinksmiths will create alcoholic delicacies to your heart's desire.
The original House of Prime Rib opened in 1949 and has since become a San Francisco institution known unsurprisingly for its 21-day aged prime rib. Every dinner order comes with a bevy of accompaniments: tossed salad, mashed potatoes or a baked potato, and Yorkshire pudding. The English-style dining rooms have fireplaces and cozy leather banquettes, making this space as intimate as it is iconic.
A former gentlemen's club where women were not allowed (unless they were prostitutes) until 1976, House of Shields also operated as an actual speakeasy during Prohibition, with an underground passageway connecting it to the Palace Hotel. Presidential side note: Warren Harding was known to go super hard here. Today the lack of TVs/clocks make this the ultimate FiDi bar for happy hour drinks that turn into nightcaps.
Deep in Fort Mason, The Interval is part museum, part coffee shop, and part bar. Bartender Jennifer Colliau is a straight-up cocktail geek and all of her drinks, some with quirkier names than others (Decanted Mother-in-Law, Mexican Firing Squad Special) have a story. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves make you feel like you're in someone's personal library. It's the kind of place you go to think while you drink.
Live music, Mai Tais, and Chinese whiskey are reason enough to come visit this divey cocktail lounge in Chinatown.
A sports bar (especially big on soccer) with pool tables, Golden Tee, trivia, and bar eats, including some of the best wings in SF.
Behind a bookcase in The Cavalier is Marianne's, a secret bar named after the woman who had an affair with Mick Jagger. The once-private lounge -- to get in, you had to punch a members-only code into a keypad and wait for someone to let you in -- changed its policy in 2016, making it open to the public. Along with a more flexible door policy (a waitress at The Cavalier will show you how to get in) Marianne's 2.0 traded its 19th century English parlor vibe for an edgier, 70's rock & roll one.
MB is a Danish spot with 42 beers on tap (including four Mikkellers, unique to this location) and two cask-conditioned ales, served at three different temperatures, depending on the style of beer. Yeah, they take this stuff seriously... so seriously, in fact, that all of the beers on tap are managed by a system dubbed the Flux Capacitor, which controls the exact mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide used for each tap (no lightning required). There’s also a “secret” downstairs cellar dedicated exclusively to sours. It gets better: Mikkeller Bar isn’t just about the beer. No, there’s also an awesome food menu that involves lots and lots of delicious meat.
At this gastropub in The Mission, beer is the total focus. Their specialty is Belgian beers, though the list has 200 rotating beers for every palate. Monk’s Kettle has coolers set at 45, 50, and 55 degrees to ensure your brew is served at the right temperature, and the entire keg system is cleaned every two weeks so the beer always tastes its best. Food includes everything from bar bites like chile- and honey-roasted hazelnuts, to more substantial fare like dry-aged beef loin with blue cheese potato gratin. Not sure what to order? The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and totally willing to help you figure it out. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t point out that the seasonally driven pub fare is quite tasty.
This kitschy Nob Hill dive bar is styled after vans of the late 70s with booths that rock shag carpets, mirrored ceilings, and waterbeds. In fact, one booth is a tricked-out GMC van. A night at Kozy Kar is definitely an experience, due in no small part to the TVs that splice vintage movies and commercials with hardcore porn.
Mr. Bing's is a Chinatown jukebox haven with strong drinks and a rowdy crowd.
The Northstar Café captures the essence of your favorite dive bars with free pool and popcorn, a six-hour happy hour every weekday, and Christmas lights, but the Bay Area pride covering the walls and its over a century-long tenure (it opened in 1882!) make the spot quintessential San Francisco.
The Page has got pool tables, a jukebox, and cheap booze -- what more could you want from a Lower Haight dive?
Since 1909, Maxfield Parrish’s famed Pied Piper painting has hung at the bar of the same name inside of the legendary Palace Hotel. Like everything about the Palace, the Pied Piper Bar is historic, elegant, and tasteful. Although a favorite for classic cocktails, their menu oozes old school refinement with American standbys like the New York Strip, ahi tuna tartare, and one of the best burgers in the Bay Area.
Pop's is a dive bar The Mission that's got cheap booze and an awesome crowd.
There's nothing flashy about Red's, and that's part of what makes it so great. Burgers, hot dogs, and beer dominate the menu (with the obligatory sides of french fries or onion rings), and the view of the Bay makes a great backdrop for the casual patio.
The Riptide is a casual, lodge-y dive bar that opens at 4pm every day. They host open mic nights on Mondays and offer live music on Saturdays and Sundays, with no cover ever!
This three-story tiki bar in Hayes Valley is one of the those bars you need to go to at least once in your life. There are waterfalls, pirate paraphernalia, and more than 500 rums from around the world. It serves the tiki drink to end all tiki drinks: the Smuggler's Rum Barrel, a punch made with 15 different rums and 20 different juices. Since Smuggler's Cove is on every tourist's list of places to drink in San Francisco, there's always a line and the place is always crowded, but that makes it all the more festive.
One of our very favorite bars in the world is in an alley in North Beach, but is the polar opposite of nearby trendy, good-looking-people-filled 15 Romolo. Spec’s is an O.G. San Francisco bar, the kind of spot you’ll find dudes who’ve been drinking there since at least the early ‘50s. The bar itself is as badass as they get -- the walls are thickly covered with artifacts, letters, taxidermy, and other paraphernalia that your girlfriend would definitely not be cool with you mounting on the living room wall (unless she is literally the coolest). You should be drinking something strong and brown, and you should definitely engage the regulars in conversation. Order a wedge of gouda with some saltine crackers and cross your fingers that the guy in the fedora starts playing the piano after another drink.
The original German bierhaus from the foilks who also run Biergarten, 'küche is deep on all the requisite German brews (your bocks, your helleses, your dunkels), this is the kind of place you're likely to find yourself tackling beer in serious quantities (boot or otherwise) so be sure to lean on hearty plates of sauerbraten and spatzle to keep you balanced.
This authentic Mexican spot has a killer list of only 100% agave tequilas (that represents the entire tequila industry), a staff who will teach you about the stuff, AND a delicious menu to boot. Since opening its doors in 1965, its margarita recipe has stayed the same, proving traditional isn't always a bad thing.
It's the ultimate in old-school, over-the-top Tiki kitsch (we’re talking a cover band playing on a raft in the middle of a swimming pool while it rains) and it’ll never go out of style. Located in the a Nob Hill hotel, the Tonga Room opened in 1945 and, despite its tourist-appeal, is now one of those places where you more or less have to go and order a Scorpion bowl before they give you your San Francisco citizenship card.
If you like your stunning view with a side of martini, this is your booze-soaked huckleberry. In addition to having a hella classy mid-Century vibe, Top of the Mark boasts a “100 Martini Menu,” the best of which can be found on page one. The namesake martini is a straight-up, straightforward blend of Ketel One, vermouth, and two olives -- shaken, not stirred, Mr. Bond. Don’t be afraid to show up in a tux. And, don’t be surprised if you see at least three proposals.
If you love beer, you'll love Toronado, thanks to the fact that it was at the forefront of the craft beer movement in the ‘80s and even more thanks to the 45 rotating beers on tap. The Lower Haight bar specializes in local California beer, but there are usually some brews from Colorado, the East Coast, and Belgium. It's next door to Rosamunde, so the smart move is to order a sausage and wash it down with whatever's on tap. Note, Toronado is cash-only.
Brought to you by The Bon Vivants, Trick Dog in The Mission's a marble- and steel-adorned cocktailery serving drinks from a Pantone-inspired menu with names from favorite song titles, along with bar bites like beer nuts, pickles, and cracklins.
Predominately known throughout the city as SF's first-ever gay bar, Twin Peaks is adorned with beautiful, front-facing windows (for those who were comfortable enough back then to show the world their sexual orientation). Beyond the historical value, the drinks are strong, the company is amazing, and the music is a constant throwback to simpler (or, not-so-simpler) times.
The View Lounge offers (of course) stunning views of the city, delicious cocktails, tasty shared and small plates, plus a TON of space to spread out and enjoy yourself until last call -- which you're probably going to want to do every time.
With over 300 whiskies collected from around the globe, Wingtip has one of the best whiskey collections in the world. While it comes across as an old fashioned gentleman’s club, it's not, and we quote, "a bunch of guys in a steam room talking about what a raw deal Prohibition was." If you treat yourself to a membership, the perks are seemingly endless: access to the delightful "whisky corner," where you can spend hours sipping from rare bottles, golf simulator, game room, wine cave, parlor rooms, and a machismo vibe.
Zeitgeist is a fascinating combo of a dive and a biergarten that houses an eclectic blend of friendly patrons who are all there for the same reasons: to sample a bodacious variety of beer, enjoy the nice weather on the numerous outdoor picnic tables, or slug an award-winning Bloody Mary (and in many cases, all three).