Happy hour is really the most magical time of day. First of all, it happens early. Like, sometimes maybe before you're even "supposed" to be drinking. Second, the drinks you're not even supposed to be drinking yet are cheaper, which is confusing because what is one supposed to do with less expensive drinks except drink them? And lastly, there's usually some sort of delicious bar bite or appetizer involved, and most of the time that is specially priced as well and probably involves oysters. Oh, and BEST OF ALL? Even though they call it happy HOUR, it always goes on for at least two.
Anyway, here are the 19 best new ones in SF, complete with everything above and more.
What are you waiting for? Bail on work early already, bro.
Fisherman's Wharf When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm (Note: No happy hour during tourist season) The Deal: $1 oysters (usually $3), $5 sourdough pepperoni pizza; a selection of $6 craft cocktails, $5 house wine, $5 well drinks, and beers that are $3 to $4.
SOMA When: Mon-Fri, 4-6:30pm The Deal: The signature cocktail -- the Bluestem Smash (you pick your choice of either vodka or whiskey with seasonal fruit, lime, mint, and sparkling wine) -- is $7, and $1 of every Smash sold goes to UCSF cancer research. Glasses of One Hope chardonnay and pinot are offered for $5 and 50% of One Hope’s profits are donated to autism and breast cancer research. Bottled and draft beers are also offered for $3.
The Mission and Fillmore When: Mon-Thurs, 5-7pm and late-night happy hour, 9pm-closing. The Deal: A selection of beverages: a featured red and white wine ($7/glass), a Spice Route Cocktail ($8), and beer including the Firestone 'DBA ($4) at Fillmore, and Kingfisher ($4) at Valencia; various appetizers are also featured for happy hour like the Taco "Frankie" ($9) and Idli Fries ($6) at DOSA Fillmore, and the Dahi Vada ($7) at DOSA Valencia, with Vada Pav vegetarian sliders available at both locations ($4/$8)
Union Square When: Mon-Sat, 3-6pm The Deal: $4 beers and $6 wine and specialty cocktails such as the Sutter Punch (pineapple-infused Matusalem rum, pineapple gum, lime) and the Blushing Geisha (El Jimador tequila, sake, prickly pear, lime). Happy hour bites include $1 oysters and dumplings, plus E&O specialties such as the famous Indonesian corn fritter bites for $3.50 and a pu pu platter (fritter bites, sliders, ribs, satay, and ahi tartare) for $22.
Embarcadero When: Mon-Fri, 4-6pm The Deal: Local oysters on the half shell served with oak barrel-aged hot sauce, shallot mignonette, and Italian parsley for $1.50 each, discounts on rotating wines on tap, as well as discounts on cocktails -- including $8 spritzes, $7 mules, $6 shots (Bulleit bourbon, Corralejo tequila, or Fernet Branca), and $4 Miller High Life.
Financial District When: Mon-Fri, 4-6pm The Deal: $1 oysters and deviled eggs, $3 pomme frites, $5 sommelier-selected glasses of red, white, and sparkling wine, plus $6 Ma Cherie (vodka, lemon, honey-ginger, hibiscus tea) and Champagne cocktails (Champagne, Curaçao, bitters).
The Mission When: Mon-Fri, 5-6:30pm The Deal: $5 Kennebec fries, $6 chicken liver mouse with strawberry mostarda, or chef's-choice oysters for $1.50. Plus, new wine, beer, and cocktail specials offered daily.
SOMA When: Sat, 3-5pm The Deal: Wine tasting for $10/person. The staff will open four to six bottles at the bar (each week will have a new theme) and give walk-in guests 2oz tasting pours. So, um, FREE WINE. The highlighted wines will also have special retail prices just for that day.
Cow Hollow When: Mon-Fri, 3-6:30pm The Deal: $5 draft beers and wine, $6 Palm House slushies, and $8 signature cocktails. Plus half off all salads and ceviche and $4 fries, samba chips, and smashed avocado.
Bernal Heights, Duboce Triangle, The Mission When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: $1 off all draft beers and wines, including local breweries like Lagunitas and Speakeasy, plus a variety of California Wines.
Alamo Square When: Mon-Thur, 5-7pm and 10pm until closing The Deal: $4-5 select draft beers; $5 wines by the glass; $7 cocktails; Mediterranean-Moroccan bites like sharmola, flat bread, calamari, and marinated thyme feta cheese with grilled pita bread for $4 to $5.
Daisy Barringer is Thrilist's SF Editor and she's never ever been sad during happy hour. Sometimes after happy hour. But never EVER during. Follow her on Twitter @daisy.
Set in a former warehouse in SOMA, Bar Agricole is a cocktail bar-restaurant hybrid that serves cool Northern Californian food (Marin oysters, roasted Dungeness crab, grilled flatbreads) and equally cool cocktails. Decorated with glass sculptures and furnished with wine barrel chairs, the massive restaurant is split between a 4,000sqft interior and a 1,6000sqft garden, which is accessible through a glass and steel facade. If the food and drinks weren't so spot on, the sleek aesthetics would certainly steal the show.
You can't beat the views at this waterfront resto. Oysters and sourdough bread are the move at Bistro Boudin. They also offer killer happy hour deals: $1 oysters (usually $3), $5 sourdough pepperoni pizza, a selection of $6 craft cocktails, $5 house wine, $5 well drinks, and beers that are $3 to $4. Note: no happy hour during tourist season.
Downtown's Bluestem Brasserie has a sleek vibe that's reminiscent of LA, which is exactly why it's so unique in the city by the bay. Floor-to-ceiling windows, big leather chairs, private booths, and a second-floor balcony create an upscale, power meal vibe that matches the menu of solid American food. Bluestem has the best brunch in the neighborhood, probably because it serves a special brunch-only burger that's topped with hash browns, breakfast sausage, bacon, house-made American cheese, and a fried egg. Hello, heaven.
5. 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.
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.
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.
When Chef Bruce Hill (Zero Zero, Bix, Picco in Larkspur) decided to take over and remake the legendary Fog City Diner, it was a calculated risk. After all, the diner was a legend. But his revitalization was spot-on, and the burger he brought to this party (which he has claimed would happily be his last meal) is easily one of the best in the city. The combination of the smoked tomato aioli, house-made American, thin patty, dill pickle, and onion create what in many ways is the perfect version of the upscale diner burger. Even better? You can get the burger and the rest of the menu plus cocktails like a raspberry-based Negroni from 7am 'til 2am.
This Parisian-style brasserie in FiDi is the kind of place you'd bring a date if you wanted that date to go on for hours. For starters, the dark wood interior, red leather banquettes, textured walls, and chandeliers practically ooze sex appeal. The downstairs restaurant serves a menu of classic French food with a Northern California twist, but there are some pure bistro staples like Croque Monsieur and steak frites. Upstairs in the Cognac Room bar, you'll find the largest selection of brandy drinks in San Francisco.
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.
A pleasant oasis from the tourist-driven madness of Union Square, Klyde's will welcome you with open arms and $5 glasses of wine at their 3-7pm weekday happy hour. If you can brave the Forever 21 bag-toting hordes on weekends, the crab and fried green tomato benedict on the brunch menu will make you glad you did.
Designed with an art deco aesthetic and Parisian charm in mind, this bistro and wine bar satisfies coffee shop regulars as well as wine snobs with a menu that serves both buttery pastries and dinner entrees like a caviar-topped bone marrow and oysters dish. If you identify with the latter label, note that an in-house expert ensure a top notch wine menu, which can be ordered by the glass, bottle, and to-go.
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.
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.
Housed in a stunning century old building (with even older signage), the Marina’s Reed & Greenough pays homage to the area’s history with vintage decor and timeless cocktails. Skilled bartenders turn back time with concoctions like the Bee’s Knees featuring New Amsterdam Gin, honey water, and lemon juice, and speed things back up to modern times with their blazing Pisco Brûlée.
Oh, hello 200 craft beers and small-production wines that can be enjoyed in this cafe and bottle shop for no corkage fees while you munch on hot or cold sandwiches (slow-roasted lamb or turkey meatloaf taste good to us).
Hailing from the creators of Super Duper, this taco/tequilaria is SOMA's Mexican hotspot, and Tacolicious' fiercest competitor. Their fresh corn tortilla roller is doling out delicious tacos daily, and's got delicious veggie options.
21. Ziryab 528 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Alamo Square)
Ziryab is a sweet Mediterranean spot with delicious cocktails and a killer happy hour: discount draft beers, wines by the glass, and cocktails, plus cheap Mediterranean-Moroccan bites like sharmola, flat bread, calamari, and marinated thyme feta cheese with grilled pita bread.