Food & Drink

The 25 Best Happy Hours in San Francisco

Updated On 01/20/2017 at 02:18PM EST Updated On 01/20/2017 at 02:18PM EST
La Mar
La Mar | Nader Khouri

Though it’s true that any hour when you have a drink in your hand is a happy hour, it is also true that when that drink costs less than it usually would, it’s an even happier hour. Even better if there are also discounted bites involved. So here are 25 of our favorite happy hours in SF, almost all of which last longer than an hour, and all of which are definitely worth telling your boss you have to leave at 4:45pm for a doctor’s appointment.

Courtesy of 25 Lusk

25 Lusk

SoMa

When: Mon-Sat, 5-7pm
The Deal: Select $4 beer and $5 wines by the glass, $6 well drinks, and tasty bar bites, like Bavarian-style soft pretzels with Cheddar fondue, pork belly sliders, and rabbit tacos for $4 to $6.

Bar Crudo

Divisadero Corridor

When: Every day from 5 to 6:30pm
The Deal: $1 oysters, $1 herb and jalapeño marinated mussels, $6 seafood chowder, $4 beer and $6 wine.

Bellota

SoMa

When: Daily from 4-6pm
The Deal: $6 tapas, including marinated Spanish olives, spiced Marcona almonds, Gilda Pincho, and queso del dia; select beer and wine for $6, and $5 sherry, sangria, cider, and vermouth.

Kelly Puileo

Black Cat

Tenderloin

When: Every day from 5:30-7:30pm
The Deal: Sit upstairs to get $8 gin martinis, Manhattans, and select wines by the glass, as well as $2 oysters, $3 smoked trout and caviar toast, $3 popcorn, and $4 house-cut fries.

Capo’s

North Beach

When: Wednesdays from 5-8pm
The Deal: “Whiskey and Wing Wednesdays” includes $7 BBQ bourbon wings, $10 chicken BBQ bourbon pizza, $5 shot of house whiskey, and $5 whiskey punch. This deal is only available at the bar, but if seating isn’t available, they’ll make you the food to-go.

The Cavalier

SoMa

When: Every day from 2:30-5:30pm
The Deal: “Bevvys and Bites,” which includes select $8 wine and cocktails, $5 draught beer, and discounted bites, like crispy Brussels sprouts chips ($5), Hen Egg Hollandaise ($8), and a $12 Marlowe Burger.

Blake Smith

Cockscomb

SoMa

When: Mon-Thurs, 5-6pm and 10-11pm
The Deal: $1 oysters, $5 draft beer

Corridor

Mid-Market

When: Daily from 3-6pm
The Deal: Every cocktail, draft beer, and wine by the glass is $5.

Declan McClure

Delarosa

Marina and Union Square/SoMa

When: Mon-Fri, 4-6pm
The Deal: $6 cocktails and wines by the glass and mini Roman-style pizzas for $6.

The Dorian

Marina

When: Tues-Fri, 4:30-6pm; Thursday, 10pm-2am
The Deal: From 4:30 to 6pm, happy hour includes half-off select bottles of sparkling and rosé wine, $5 glasses of house wine, select $4 beers, $1 oysters, $1.5 deviled egg, $5 truffle fries. On Thursdays, starting at 10pm, get “old fashioned drinks at old fashioned prices” -- martinis, Old Fashioneds, and Champagne cocktails are $5 each.

DOSA

Fillmore and Mission

When: Mon-Thurs, 5-7pm and 9pm-close
The Deal: Sit at the bar to get $6 Firestone “Pivo” Pilsner, featured $8 glasses of wine, and discounted appetizers, like $4 Pappadum and Chutney sampler, $6 Idli fries, $8 Chennai Chicken, and $4 vegetarian slider.

The Elite Cafe

The Elite Cafe

Lower Pac Heights

When: Daily from 5-6pm and 10pm-close
The Deal: From 5-6pm, enjoy $1.50 oysters, $3 off wines by the glass, and an $8 rotating cocktail. From 10pm-close, get $3 off wines by the glass and an $8 rotating cocktail.

E&O Kitchen and Bar

Union Square

When: Mon-Sat, 3-6pm
The Deal: Select $6 cocktails and wines by the glass, four $4 beers, and a ton of affordable snacks, like $1 dumplings, $1 oysters, $2 mushroom satay, $3 ahi tuna tartare, $3 chicken satay, $4 wood oven naan, $4 beef short rib slider, and a $24 pu pu platter (fritter bites, two sliders, two ribs, two chicken satay, two ahi tartare, taro chips & pickled veggies).

The European

Union Square

When: Mon-Fri, 5-8pm
The Deal: $6 bubbles and house wine, $7 cocktails, including Aperol Spritz, San Francisco Sour (bourbon, lime, lemon, pinot noir), and Bee Sting (tequila, lemon, honey), $3 Miller High Life, and bar snacks, like calamari, pommes frites, sliders, and a cheese or charcuterie plate from $4 to $11.

Finn Town

Finn Town

Castro

When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm and 10pm-midnight
The Deal: Hit up “Rocks and Rosé” after work (Mon-Fri, 5-7pm) for $7 glasses of rosé, $1.50 oysters on the half shell, and $2.50 oysters Rockefeller. Then go late night (Sun-Thurs, 10pm-midnight) to “Get Fried at Finn” with $2 big bowls of fries, $2 off all bar bites, and $2 off all well drinks.

Hog & Rocks

Mission

When: Mon-Fri, 5-6:30pm
The Deal: $1 oysters, $7 corn dogs, $7 Kennebec fries, and select $7 wine and cocktails, like a smoked margarita, whiskey sour, and Old Fashioned.

Jersey Restaurant

Jersey

SoMa

When: Mon-Fri, 2:30-7pm
The Deal: $3 beers, $5 wines, $4 slices, $5 meatball, and a $6 burger.

La Mar

Embarcadero

When: Every day from 3-6pm
The Deal: Select $6 cocktails, including Pisco Sour, Pisco Punch, Old Fashioned, and Blue Mule, as well as smaller portions of La Mar staples, like Cebiche Classico ($9), Taco Chifero ($9), empanada ($6), and quinoa burger ($6).

Aubrie Pick

Lolinda

Mission

When: Everyday from 5:30-7pm
The Deal: $7 Old Fashioned and Fernet and Coke, select $7 glasses of wine, $2 puffed Peruvian corn, $6 house-made beef jerky, $7 empanadas, and more.

Mason Pacific

Nob Hill

When: Every day from 5-6pm and 9pm-midnight
The Deal: Half-off bottles of wine on the market list.

Maybeck’s

Marina

When: Every night from 4:30-6pm
The Deal: A robust drink and food menu where everything is $7, including four wines by the glass, cocktails like the House Negroni, blood orange margarita, and The Imperfect Manhattan, and small bites like six oysters on the half shell, pickles and ranch, toasted raviolis and marina, and meatballs.

Novela

Novela

SoMa

When: Mondays, 4pm-close
The Deal: $1 shucked-to-order oysters and 20% off bottles of wine.

Pabu

Financial District

When: Mon-Fri, 3-6pm and all day Sunday
The Deal: $5.88 sake, $6.88 22oz Sapporo, $6.88 select wine by the glass, $3.88 pork steam bun, $1.88 oysters, $5.88 hand rolls, and more. These lucky deals are available in the bar and lounge during the week and everywhere in the restaurant on Sundays.

Palm House

Cow Hollow

When: Tues-Fri, 5-6:30pm
The Deal: Half-off bottles of wine, $1 off draft beers, $6 slushy, select $7 cocktails, and discounted snacks, like Puerto Rican smashed avocado, spiced fries, and bone-in chicken wings.

Courtesy of Press Club

Press Club

Union Square/SoMa

When: Every day from open-6pm
The Deal: Mon-Fri, $3 off wines by the glass and draft beers; Sat-Sun, half-off bottles over $70.

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Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who starts counting down to 5pm when she wakes up in the morning. Call her a lush on Twitter @daisy.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Twenty Five Lusk 25 Lusk St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Soma)

Housed in a brick and timber SoMa warehouse erected in 1917, Twenty Five Lusk, few San Francisco bars deliver this combination of staggering size and striking beauty, . with 20ft-high ceilings, ample plush leather seating, and, the piece de resistance: stainless steel hanging fireplaces. But avert your eyes from the ambiance for a second, because you'll have to choose from a selection of 250-plus wines and elevated fare like fried burrata or braised rabbit and chevre ravioli.

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2. Bar Crudo 655 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Alamo Square)

If Nopa made the Divisadero neighborhood what it is today, Bar Crudo solidified its status as a golden dining destination. For over a decade, Bar Crudo has been serving up a seriously good happy hour and dinner that’s ideal for family visits. It’s perpetually packed and one of the city’s most underrated restaurants, with a bumping happy hour that features dollar oysters, fish tacos, and sumptuous seafood chowder. Don’t miss the crudo sampler, uni avocado toast, and lobster burrata salad at this small restaurant that packs a punch.

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3. Bellota 888 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

From The Absinthe Group (Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Boxing Room, Comstock Saloon), Bellota is a destination for Spanish food. Set in a Soma warehouse, the restaurant is heavily focused on paella. There are a few different variations to choose from, and the charcuterie board is well worth exploring. There's an all-Spanish wine list too, but before you order a bottle, try one of the gin & tonics.

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4. Black Cat 400 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (The Tenderloin)

It's not quite clear what exactly makes Black Cat a supper club, but that's exactly how this Tenderloin restaurant and lounge defines itself. Perhaps it's the decor, which is sleek and polished with studded leather banquettes, velvet chairs, and gold accents. Or the small plates-focused menu that's inspired by modern interpretations of classics from the American dinner canon, like oyster and smoked pork tongue pot pie, and a double brisket patty melt on rye bread. The beverage program, too, lends itself to supper club vibes, with an international wine list and refined cocktails.

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5. Capo's 641 Vallejo St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)

San Francisco pizza legend Tony Gemignani (the same Tony of Tony's Pizza Napoletana) is behind this North Beach pizzeria dedicated to Chicago-style pies. Capo's specializes in four kinds of crust popular in the Windy City: deep-dish, cast iron pan, stuffed, and cracker thin. The restaurant pays tribute to the mobsters of 1930s Chicago and feels like an old-school speakeasy with red vinyl booths. As for drinks, there are more than 100 whiskies on the menu plus whiskey flights, and if you're more of a cocktail person, there's a make-your-own Old Fashioned option.

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6. The Cavalier 360 Jesse St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

An upscale pub-style joint in Soma from the folks behind Park Tavern, Marlowe, and S&R Lounge, The Cav serves a British-themed menu with hearty standouts like venison tartare; a bacon, caramelized onion, and cheddar burger; and Shepherd's pie.

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7. Cockscomb 564 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Soma)

Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino celebrates the many tastes of San Francisco with his lauded restaurant Cockscomb. Warm, welcoming, and a bit rustic, Cockscomb welcomes diners for lunch and dinner with “nose to tail” delicacies like beef heart tartare, braised lamb shoulder, and pork belly with fermented black bean aioli and fried clams. Classic cocktails like San Francisco’s own Pisco Punch round out the menu for a uniquely delicious night out.

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8. Corridor 100 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Civic Center)

Civic Center's bright and contemporary Corridor stands as two venues in one: an Italian-influenced full-service restaurant, and an adjacent standing room-only cafe with espresso, pastries, and light bites. If you're on-the-go, a latte (available in extra-sweet variations like cinnamon toast crunch and salted caramel) and a Firebrand pastry will suffice. Meanwhile, the restaurant serves heavier, more indulgent meals like savory monkey bread with cheddar, chive oil, and basil aioli, and mains like garganelli bolonese and vegetable pot pie.

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9. Delarosa 37 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Financial District)

A part of excellent local restaurateur Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group, Delarosa is a Roman-style pizzeria serving up accessible takes on Italian classics in the bustling Financial District. Get down with reasonably priced kick-ass cocktails like the pisco and roasted pepper-based Redwood and a traditional margherita pizza.

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10. The Dorian 2001 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The Dorian is an opulent oasis with classic cocktails, a separate martini menu, and a sophisticated list of more than 75 whiskeys. Enjoy $1 oysters and half-off champagne during happy hour in the light-filled dining room (where you can also enjoy classic American fare), then retire to the lofted study that overlooks the main rectangular bar.

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11. Dosa 995 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Dosa began its tenure as a beacon of brilliant South Indian cooking when it opened in the Mission more than a decade ago. It's still the best Indian cuisine in the city, and restaurant's namesake dosas are made from inventive fusion batters and served with fresh coconut and tomato chutneys and sambar, a lentil and vegetable dipping sauce. The restaurant also has excellent cocktails, especially the Gin and Tonic made with house-made fig and cardamom tonic.

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12. Elite Cafe 2049 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

Nestled into Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, the handsome, wood-laden Elite Cafe is beloved for its New Orleans-inspired brunch and dinner menus, which feature dishes like breakfast biscuits with fried ham, chicken jambalaya with squash and turnips, crawfish etouffee, and duck gumbo. Make sure you save room for the bacchus, a giant bananas foster sundae with crème fraiche ice cream, chocolate pearls, toasted coconut, and walnuts. In addition to Creole classics, there are exceptional cocktail standbys like a Hurricane, a Sazerac, and (of course) Bloody Marys at brunch.

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13. E&O Kitchen and Bar 314 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Union Square)

E&O Kitchen and Bar is a go-to spot to refuel when duty (and shopping) drag you to Union Square. The menu encompasses a myriad of Asian foods, which means you can get pad Thai, Indonesian fried rice, and Malaysian curry all in one sitting. Spanning three floors, this massive place will always have a seat available for you.

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14. The European 490 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Union Square)

From a Top Chef competitor and a drinksmith formerly behind the program at Beretta comes two glorious spots in one: Aveline (an amazing restaurant), and immediately next to it, The European (a complimentary bar). The cocktails are updated takes on Prohibition-era drinks designed to pair beautifully with a menu of shareable snacks and bar food, like smoked trout fritters and burrata that's served with pears and a balsamic reduction.

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15. Finn Town 2251 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

From Top Chef alum Ryan Scott, this classy cocktail tavern takes its name from the Castro's 1860s moniker, Finn Town, which referred to the neighborhood's dense population of Finnish seamen. The stylish yet low-key space boasts two bars and a plush banquette-filled dining room where comfort food -- double-decker burgers, white cheddar dumplings, and lobster cioppino -- reigns supreme. While it's a wise choice for a dinner date, Finn Town is also the type of neighborhood spot you can stop into for a drink and some oysters. The cocktails are based on SF icons, including the Harvey Milk-themed Milkman: a vodka, lychee milk, and ginger concoction served in a glass milk carton.

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16. Hog & Rocks 3431 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

What's better than an oyster bar? A ham and oyster bar! The team behind Maverick and blessed SF with this delicious double-threat, a rustic slate-walled joint sporting a dark walnut bar, a streetside patio, and, oh yeah, so much ham and oysters! Hit happy hour weekdays from 5-6:30pm for select dollar oysters and $7 cocktails like smoked margaritas and whiskey sours.

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17. Jersey 145 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Soma)

The Rosenthal brothers (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope) pay homage to their home state with this industrial-chic spot in SoMa, where they've used the Garden State's ample pizza parlors as inspiration for their thin-crust pies. Tucked into a bright space with exposed brick, Jersey is much more stylish than the linoleum-floored, Tiffany sconce-adorned joints the brothers grew up with, but stays true to the food of their childhood. Along with a variety of pies topped with crushed tomatoes, oregano, and cheese, the menu features Italian-American classics like chicken parm, meatball subs, and Bolognese lasagne. Happy hour deals on slices, wine, and local craft beer are a huge lure.

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18. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana Pier 1.5 (at Washington St), San Francisco, CA 94105 (Embarcadero)

La Mar is an elegant seafood shrine in Embarcadero helmed by Le Cordon Bleu-trained Gastón Acurio, whose authentic Peruvian cuisine rivals what you'd find in Lima itself -- he would know, as Acurio's run one of Lima's premier fine dining establishments, Astrid y Gastón, for years. La Mar offers vibrant waterfront views to enjoy alongside equally vibrant ceviche, which features a rotating selection of fresh seafood bathed in leche de tigre, a citrus-based marinade that cures the fish. Acurio's other speciality, warm and savory empanadas, are a welcome contrast to the cool and tangy ceviche.

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19. Lolinda 2518 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

From the Beretta team, this Argentinian steakhouse in The Mission is the perfect dark restaurant to share wood-fired meats, ceviche, empanadas, and a bottle of Latin wine (or, you know, a Fernet and coke). You have two floors of seating to choose from and can even rent out an entire level to throw a killer meat-fueled bash. We recommend getting a group of your closest friends together so you can taste through the endless array of hot and cold small plates and the ten (!) different kinds of grilled meats, which range from blood sausage to a giant, 72oz bone-in ribeye steak.

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20. Mason Pacific 1358 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Nob Hill)

Much like its location at the intersection of Chinatown and Nob Hill, Mason Pacific is a convergence of two styles: it's a restaurant that at once feels like a neighborhood bistro and a fine dining establishment. Situated along a cable car line, it has an elegant look in both its decor (leather banquettes, large mirrors, white tablecloths) and cuisine, which centers on refined American plates like poached trout, half roast chicken, and braised lamb, all presented with fresh seasonal vegetables -- and with polite and polished service. You won't find any pretension at Mason Pacific, particularly in the friendly bar area at the front, where you can start with oysters and appetizers, or simply stop in for a glass of wine (while impressive, the list is petite and pricey).

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21. Maybeck's 3213 Scott St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

The restaurant formally known as Spaghetti Bros. changed its name to Maybeck's after less than a year in business due to some confusion around its concept. Contrary to what "Spaghetti Bros." implied -- a casual Italian restaurant with red-checked tablecloths and piles of meatballs -- the Marina spot actually focuses on upscale, seasonal food, both Italian and otherwise. Maybeck's-slash-Spaghetti Bros. does serve typical red sauce dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, but you'll also find regionally inspired plates like McFarland Springs trout with local roasted vegetables and miso butter.

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22. Novela 662 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Soma)

This book-themed cocktail bar in SOMA is one of the most glamorous places to drink in San Francisco. Everything about Novela sticks to the theme, from the chromatically-organized library and vintage card catalog cabinet to the drinks named after literary characters (Jay Gatsby, Christopher Robin, Severus Snape). A private bar, appropriately called the Hemingway Room, is available for special events.

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23. PABU 101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

When you think of Japanese whisky bars, you think of Nihon Whisky Lounge. But Pabu is a solid surprising contender: they have a secret Japanese cocktail menu, plus traditional Japanese whisky service. Each of the 14 Japanese whiskies offered are served with a complimentary food item that's blowtorched in front of you, meant to bring out the complex flavors of the drink.

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24. Palm House 2032 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

This skylit, tropics-channeling Marina go-to offers island-influenced fare (and a beverage program to match) that'll have you quickly putting your mind into vacation mode. Sip a mai tai while nibbling on tuna poke, coconut crusted prawns, and macadamia-topped mac and cheese. Groups will want to tackle a boozy punch bowl complete with rubber ducky garnishes that make drinking even more fun.

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25. Press Club 20 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

This massive and cavernous multi-winery tasting room is the perfect spot to grab a comfy seat, taste through the 50 wines by the glass and over 230 bottles, and snack on truffled popcorn & deviled eggs with caramelized bacon. We recommend going with the one of 18 wine flights or chatting with your knowledgeable server about what to order, but this vino bar doesn’t just stop at wine — there are almost 30 beers by the glass and beer flights as well.

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