Cheap Eats and Drinks: Your Neighborhood Guide to SF’s Best Happy Hours
Crawl through these happy hours neighborhood by neighborhood.
Any hour during which you’re holding a drink is a happy hour, but it’s even happier if you’re snagging that drink at a discount. And it’s even better if there’s food involved. With that in mind, here’s a list of some of San Francisco’s best happy hours across neighborhoods, almost all of which last longer than an hour. So, go ahead, call it a day an hour or two early, and head off to wet your whistle.
When: Weekdays from 5–8 pm
The deal: We love a happy hour that extends into the evening, which is precisely what happens at this cozy and stylish cocktail bar. Ten bucks will get you an old fashioned, Aperol spritz, or margarita. Well cocktails, draft beer, and wines by the glass are $1 off.
When: Monday–Friday from 3–5 pm; Sunday from 3 pm–close
The deal: If you prefer a Mexcian vacation rather than a trip to the Caribbean, head to Flores, which has a Sunday happy hour that will make you forget tomorrow is Monday. Tacos are $3 each, guacamole and chips are $9 (regularly $13), the crave-able flautas are $9 (regularly $12), and there’s more where those came from. For drinks, there are several deals, including $8 margarita (regularly $12), $31 pitchers (regularly $38), and $5 draft beer.
When: Tuesday–Friday from 4–6 pm
The deal: Take a mini vacation at this tropical escape on Union Street, known for its Caribbean food and boozy slushies. Snacks like an ahi poke tostada and jerk spiced fries are $6 each, “leisurely drinks” like a chipotle mango margarita and the Old Cuban are $7 each (as is the “Bartender’s Choice”), draft beer is $1 off, and bottles of wine are half off. The dangerously delicious Palm House Slushy made with white rum, spiced rum, and fresh lime is not discounted, but after you have a couple, you won’t care.
When: Monday–Saturday from 5–6:30 pm
The deal: This stylish and fairly pricey bi-level modern raw bar is usually packed during happy hour with patrons eager to make the most of $2 oysters, $2 herb- and jalapeno-marinated mussels, $12 seafood chowder, and $12 rock cod tacos (two in each order). They all go down very well when accompanied by $5 beer and glasses of red and white for $9 each.
When: Monday–Friday from 12–6 pm
The deal: Sometimes you’re in the mood for oysters, and sometimes you’re in the mood for pizza. We’re throwing in one more option for this neighborhood for those who prefer the latter. You can get a 10” personal pizza—margherita, shroom, blanco, and meat lovers are just a few options—for $10, plus $1 off of pints (there are 18 beers on draft, including a couple of ciders), $6 house wine, and $4 sangria. The notorious sake bombs are not discounted but are still worth considering.
When: Monday–Friday from 3–5 pm
The deal: This gorgeous and palatial Peruvian restaurant with water views is not for those on a budget. Unless, of course, those on a budget are going for happy hour when select cocktails, like the prickly pear margarita, are $7, red, white, and sparkling house wines are $6, select beers are $4, and savory empanadas are $5 each. The Cebiche Clásico is also seriously discounted at $14 instead of $21.50, and it’s always so fresh and bright, so you should probably order that as well. Know before you go: The happy hour deal is only available in the restaurant’s “Cebiche Lounge.”
The Vault Steakhouse
When: Tuesday–Saturday from 4–6 pm
The deal: Spend a leisurely afternoon in the Vault Piano Bar lounging in a leather banquette while listening to live music and sipping on a $10 martinis, sazerac, old fashioned, French 75, or negroni. Not a cocktail drinker? Select wine costs $9, and a rotating draft beer costs $6. You’ll want to back that booze up with something to snack on, so order the caprese skewers for $10, caramelized onion with malt vinegar chips also for $10, or shrimp cocktail for $12.
When: Monday–Saturday from 4 pm–5:30 pm
The deal: This Michael Mina restaurant, known for its modern take on Japanese izakaya and creative cocktails, is the place where deals get done and expense accounts are taken advantage of. Luckily, even if you don’t have an expense account to bill to, that won’t be a problem, at least not for an hour and a half. During that time, you can get a whiskey highball for $10.88, draft sake for $9.88, a 22-ounce can of Sapporo for $9.88, and a shot and beer for $13.88. All that drinking will make you hungry, so fill up on pork steam buns for $3.88, hand rolls for $6.88, and fried chicken “karaage” ($7.88).
When: Monday–Friday from 1–7 pm
The deal: If you’re among the many San Franciscans who now work from home, make Blackthorn Tavern your office for the day. You can check email courtesy of the free wi-fi between free games of pool, plus get $1 off draft beer and mixed drinks, as well as $3 PBR bottles and discounted pitchers.
When: Monday–Friday from 4:30–6 pm; Tuesday from 4:30 pm–close
The deal: We could wax poetic about this taqueria/sports bar, especially the taco Nick’s Way (IYKYK, but if you don’t, we highly recommend changing that), but there are so many deals to get to that we’re just diving right in. During happy hour every weekday, you can get $3 street tacos, $3 Tecates, $5 house margaritas, and $1 off well drinks. Go on Tuesday and you’ll get the $3 street tacos and $3 Tequates deal all night long.
When: Daily from 5–7 pm
The deal: This quirky bar must be experienced in person to understand what makes it so unique truly. Do that during happy hour when draft beer is $5, and you can get $2 off sour drafts. Just don’t go hoping to order a Bud, Coors, or PBR because this beer/wine/sake bar doesn’t serve any of them.
Lower Nob Hill
When: Monday–Friday from 4–7 pm
The deal: This bi-level bar is beloved by many a San Franciscan for maybe no reason other than a good time/trip down the rabbit hole is almost guaranteed whenever you visit in the later hours. During happy hour, the bar keeps its deals simple with $5 draft beer, $6 well cocktails, and a buck off everything else.
Lower Pac Heights
When: Daily from 3–6 pm
The deal: This charming wine bar is one of our favorites thanks to an excellent wine selection and friendly and knowledgeable service. Plus, during happy hour, you can get half-price oysters for $1.50 each and 20% off select wine by the glass (6oz pour). If you want 24 oysters for the table, you’ll also need to buy a bottle of wine; if you only want six, a glass of wine will suffice.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm
The deal: Not in the mood for oysters? Head to Harry’s, a Fillmore Street stalwart, for $6–$8 draft beer, $7 well drinks, $9 chardonnay, and everyone’s go-to order these days: $10 espresso martinis. You’ll also get a deal on snacks like a warm, soft pretzel served with incredibly delicious pimento cheese for $6, three sliders for $10, a $5 empanada, and $5 fries.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm
The deal: This casual Roman-style pizza spot serves until 10:30 pm on weekends, which is considered late for SF, but the best deals are to be had in the afternoon when the happy hour menu is in effect: The $8 drinks include a house red, Moscow Mule, Bacca Spritz, and classic margarita, plus a beer of the day that’s available for $6. The snacks are all $10 and include a couple of pizzas, a spicy cauliflower dish, and prawns in garlic, butter, and all of the other good stuff.
The Tipsy Pig
When: Monday–Thursday from 5–7 pm for wine; 5:30–6:30 pm for food
The deal: The trick to making the most of the happy hour at this popular Marina spot is to arrive promptly at 5 pm and order your half-price bottle of wine, which, come 5:30 pm, you can enjoy with a bunch of discounted snacks, including $7 burrata, “pretzel” bites, mac ’n cheese, and a couple of salads, and $9 popcorn shrimp, mini burgers, BBQ pork sliders, and a cheese plate.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm
The deal: El Techo is always a popular spot due to its rooftop location, and its happy hour brings margaritas and sunshine-induced smiles to drinkers who manage to snag a table. If you don’t want a $7 margarita or a drink made with tequila, lager, and sangrita, there are also beers for $5 and pitchers of sangria for $18. As far as food, guacamole and chips, empanadas, and fried plantains are all $7, and yuca fries are $5.
When: Daily from 4–7 pm
The deal: If you’re looking for something a little more chill than El Techo, head to this laid-back bar with good eats and an outdoor patio. There’s also free WiFi, but who cares? You’re not there to work. The deal’s simple: All drafts are a dollar off, but the food is already so affordable you’ll think you’re getting a happy hour special whatever time of day you’re there.
Mission Rock Resort
When:Tuesday–Friday from 3–6 pm
The deal:Views of the Bay get even better when accompanied by three hours of $1 oysters. Get yours upstairs (only) in the restaurant. Wash them down with $7 draft beer and house wine and $8 frozen cocktails. Also, it is worth mentioning that the oyster deal includes an order of at least six (no problem) and no more than 24 (possibly disappointing, but also probably for the best).
Capo’s by Tony Gemignani
When: Monday–Friday from 4:30–6:30 pm
The deal: There’s something for everyone looking for a bargain at this Chicago-style pizza spot from the world’s best pizza maker (no, seriously, he’s won the World Pizza Championship 13 times), including a bucket of White Claws for $15. There are also select $12 specialty cocktails, $8 glasses of wine on tap, $6 beers, and $5 shots of Jameson and Fernet. Snacks include $5 fries or, if you’re willing to spend an extra two dollars, $7 truffle parmesan waffle fries.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–7 pm
The deal: This historic “parlor” has been serving locals and tourists since 1936, and although you can’t get those prices, you can still get some of the best deals in the neighborhood during happy hour, including two-for-one on select draft beer and cocktails, a $9 shot of Fernet and a PBR, and $10 cocktails.
When: Monday–Friday from 3–7 pm
The deal: The Riptide is our go-to in the Outer Sunset for chill vibes, live music, good people, and a cozy fireplace on foggy nights. The live music doesn’t usually start until after happy hour, but you can get the good times rolling with the happy hour deal of $1 off well cocktails, draft beer, and wine by the glass.
When: Monday–Thursday from 5– 6 p.m. and Friday–Sunday from 4:30–5:30 p.m.
The deal: Violet’s is one of the few bars on this list that takes happy hour (singular) literally. Still, there are deals to be had in the form of $4 beers, $8 wine and cocktails, and snacks like ballpark fries (an iteration of SF’s famous garlic fries) for $5 and fried chicken wings for $10.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm; Saturday from 5–6 pm
The deal: Almost everything on this rustic wine and whiskey bar’s happy hour menu is $8, so grab a seat on one of the cozy couches and settle in for an hour of $8 well drinks, $8 wine and beer, and $8 bar bites, like deviled eggs, crispy spiced chicken wings, and fontina and spinach arancini. The only thing that’s not $8? The half-off oysters on the half-shell.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm; all night on Saturdays
The deal: Here’s one for the oenophiles. This spacious, subterranean wine bar and lounge’s happy hour includes $2 off all wine by the glass and 20% off all bottles offered by the glass during the week. Then, on Saturdays, you get 50% off select bottles all night.
When: Monday–Friday from 4–6 pm
The deal: This self-proclaimed sports bar is more than just a sports bar. It also has an outdoor patio, skee ball, and Super Shot, as well as a great cocktail menu. During happy hour, you can knock two bucks off all house cocktails and $1 off beer.
E&O Kitchen and Bar
When: Tuesday–Saturday from 3–6 pm
The deal: This sprawling modern Asian restaurant is usually popular with tourists and convention-goers, but even the most jaded San Franciscan would be a fool not to take advantage of its stellar happy hour (one of our faves on the list) when many of the best dishes are heavily discounted. There’s a bunch of stuff on the happy hour menu, including bites like dumplings for $2, a half-dozen oysters for $10.50, corn fritter bites for $2.50, and steamed pork buns for $3. You can also get glasses of wine for $7, a selection of cocktails for $9, $8 for sake, and a couple of draft beer for $6.
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