Jack Nicholson once said, “Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world,” and we have to say, we wholeheartedly agree. Of course, we’d also say that about whiskey. And wine. And sometimes when we’re on vacation, piña coladas. But it’s definitely always true about beer. Which is why we like to know where we can find a good one nearby at all times. Hence this handy list detailing the best beer bar in every SF ‘hood. You can thank us later. Over beers, preferably. Cheers!
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Speakeasy Tap RoomAddress and Info
You don’t have to take a tour of the brewery (although you can on Saturdays if you book it 24 hours in advance) to enjoy a Speakeasy beer in their speakeasy-inspired taproom. The 12 rotating taps are available in tasting flights, pints, bottles, cans, and even growlers to-go. Get a buck off tap pours Tuesday through Friday from 1-5pm and keep your pint glass on Tuesday nights.
Old Bus TavernAddress and Info
This neighborhood brewpub has 14 beers on tap, a few of which are brewed in-house and are typically classic American- and Belgian-style beers, but reinterpreted. The guys who make the beer started by home-brewing, so they’re pretty stoked about their steam-fired four barrel brewhouse. And you can tell just how stoked with each sip you take. Try a flight of OBT beers because how else will you know which one is your favorite?
Cervecería de MateVezaAddress and Info
This Argentine bar and bottle shop by Dolores Park is known for its craft beer infused with yerba mate, a naturally caffeinated herb from South America. Which means you can drink a ton of beer and never get sleepy... which is... great? Grab a seat at the bar or by the window of the cozy spot and enjoy one of the seven beers on tap or grab one of the many beers in the fridge and pay an extra buck to have them open it for you. Oh, and don’t skip the empanadas. Not that you would.
BelgaAddress and Info
The first thing any good beer drinker will notice when he or she walks into this Belgian-inspired brasserie is the wall of refrigerated bottled beers complete with sliding ladder. There are over 60 to choose from at any given time, all of which are organized by “light,” “hoppy,” “malty,” “funky,” “fruity,” “sour,” “contemporary,” and “classic,” to help you make the tough decisions as to what you’re going to order first. There’s even a “celebratory” section. Why bust out the Champagne when you can order a $130 bottle of Duvel Golden? There are also 10 beers on draft and, yes, even beer cocktails.
BrewcadeAddress and Info
Brewcade is basically what you thought being an adult was actually going to be like when you were a kid: tons and tons of video games and tons and tons of beer. Twenty-one games, 24 beers on tap, and 70 more in bottles and cans, to be exact. Just know that you get really good at Ms. Pac-Man after two beers, but those ghosts get really fast after about four.
Smokestack at Magnolia BreweryAddress and Info
You know what goes great with BBQ? Beer. And, hallelujah, there’s plenty of both at Smokestack. There are 20 beers on tap, most of which are pouring Magnolia, though there’s always a chance a guest brew will make an appearance. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a trio of cask ales. And a full bar with a lot of American whiskeys. So yeah. If you’re not going to skimp on the drinks (which you’re not), be sure not to skimp on the barbecue.
BiergartenAddress and Info
For some reason, beer just tastes better when it’s consumed outside. At a tailgate, a cookout, or in this case, at Biergarten, the Bavarian-style beer garden in Hayes Valley. There aren’t a ton of beers on tap, but the rotating selection is always impressive. The only bummer? There’s always a line. But if you get a liter and not a half liter, which obviously you’re going to do, you get over that pretty quickly.
Richmond Republic Draught HouseAddress and Info
The Richmond Republic Draught House is everything a bar should be. TVs to watch the game, wings, and burgers, free Wi-Fi, and 24 beers on tap, all of which cost between six and eight bucks. Plus, if you join the Mug Club, you’ll get $1 off every beer AND a free beer on Tuesdays, which pretty much makes it the coolest club in town. Take THAT Bohemian Club.
Social Kitchen & BreweryAddress and Info
SKB has 18 draft handles most of which are dedicated to the beer that’s made onsite, but a few of which are saved for guest beers. Not sure which one you want? Get the beer flight: six 3oz pours for $10. They serve pretty decent food, which means there are often parents with kids in tow, but hey: moms and dads need to drink beer, too. Maybe even more so than the rest of us, actually.
Toronado PubAddress and Info
If you love beer, you 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 fact that it has 45 rotating beers on tap. People bitch about the surly bartenders, but as long as you use the board, know what you want before you go to order, and have your cash ready, you should be fine.
Lower Pacific Heights
San Francisco Athletic ClubAddress and Info
SF Athletic Club is first and foremost a sports bar (they have 28 HD TVs). But it also has a dozen beers on tap and about two dozen in bottles and cans. Our favorite part? You can order a bathtub of beer to be delivered to your booth, and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Sessions at the PresidioAddress and Info
This place is named for session beers (you know, the ones with a lower ABV that British workers drank during WWI between shifts), but don’t worry: you can get beers with high alcohol percentages at this Presidio newcomer, as well. In fact, you can get 24 on tap and over a hundred in the bottle. They also have daily bottle pours and flights and an enormous back patio on which to happily enjoy them.
Monk’s KettleAddress and Info
Fun fact time! The world’s first craft beer brewers with Belgian Trappist monks who brewed beer in kettles. Hence: Monk’s Kettle and the 200 rotating beers (29 drafts, 1 cask engine, and another 150 in the bottle) on the menu. Not sure what to order? The staff is super friendly, super knowledgeable, and super willing to make recommendations. AND the kitchen stays open until 1am.
Hopwater DistributionAddress and Info
California represent! Hopwater Distribution has 31 beers on draft, ALL of which are from the Golden State. The list rotates and includes a few tried-and-true favorites, as well as brews you likely haven’t tried before. Unless you’ve somehow tried every beer from all 425 of California’s breweries, in which case you should probably be the one writing this article.
Rogue Ales Public HouseAddress and Info
Outside seating and 40 taps of beer right in the heart of North Beach? We’re in. There’s lots of Rogue beer, duh, but also plenty of guest taps. If you’re opting for the former, the sampler flight (four beers) is the way to go.
Sunset Reservoir Brewing CompanyAddress and Info
SRBC is housed in a massive space, which is a good thing since it means there’s usually an open table and rarely a wait. There are seven beers on draft, all of which are brewed in-house, and you can get a flight of six for $12 (the sour wheat is our favorite). And yes, this is about beer, not food, but if we didn’t mention the hush puppies, we’d be doing you a huge disservice. So, uh, get those, too.
Anchor BrewingAddress and Info
The only way you’re getting into this brewery is if you book a tour that’ll cost ya $15. With that you get a walking tour, someone to drop some Anchor knowledge on you, and best of all: a 45-minute tasting in the taproom at the end of it all.
Leopold’s GasthausAddress and Info
When you walk into Leopold’s, you’ll feel like Heidi and her goats are going to come running by any moment. Then you’ll be sad when they don’t. But then you’ll have one of the eight old-world beers on tap or one of the 20 bottles, and you’ll feel better. Because that’s how beer works.
City Beer StoreAddress and Info
It’s a bar. It’s a store. It’s City Beer Store! We love this laid back approach to trying and buying beer. There are 15 rotating taps in the bar area, or you can buy one of the hundreds of bottles in the store section and drink it there for a $1 corkage fee. And as if that’s not enough, the mascot is a platypus. And who doesn’t love a platypus? Exactly.
HogwashAddress and Info
Hogwash is all about the swine and swill. The house-made sausage sandwiches are legit, as are the 30 beers on tap, which can be delivered by the pint or the 54oz Hog Goblet (you know which one you’re getting). Oh, and order the fried pickles. They’re probably the best in town.
Magnolia Pub & BreweryAddress and Info
Is Magnolia on this list twice? Why yes, it is. That’s just what happens when you’re the best beer bar in two separate ‘hoods. You won’t find as many beers on tap at this Haight St spot as you will at the brewery, but it’s still a great spot to hit up for some grub and tasty suds. Download their app to find out what’s on tap at any given time.
Mikkeller BarAddress and Info
The name should speak for itself with this one. But in case it doesn’t, please know that Mikkeller Bar has 42 taps, some of which are pouring local beers, a lot of which are pouring experimental Mikkellers. There’s also a super rare "on the fly" gas blending system which gives the bartenders precise control over every pour, which means your beer will always be the proper temperature. Skål!
Barrel Head BrewhouseAddress and Info
Four beers are brewed in-house and another 30 taps are dedicated to guest beers from breweries like 21st Amendment and Fort Point. You can get a 5oz taste of any beer for $2.50. If you want to sample all of the house draft beers, a sample of each is $10. Go during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4:30-6pm) to get two bucks off of house beers.
1. Speakeasy Tap Room1195 Evans Ave, San Francisco
2. Old Bus Tavern3193 Mission St, San Francisco
3. Cerveceria de Mateveza3801 18th St, San Francisco
4. Belga2000 Union St, San Francisco
5. Brewcade2200 Market St #102, San Francisco
6. Magnolia Brewery and Smokestack665 22nd Street, San Francisco
7. Biergarten424 Octavia St, San Francisco
8. Richmond Republic Draught House642 Clement St, San Francisco
9. Social Kitchen & Brewery1326 9th Ave, San Francisco
10. Toronado547 Haight St, San Francisco
11. San Francisco Athletic Club1750 Divisadero, San Francisco
12. Sessions at the Presidio1 Letterman Dr, San Francisco
13. Monk’s Kettle3141 16th St, San Francisco
14. Hopwater Distribution850 Bush St, San Francisco
15. Rogue Ales Public House673 Union St, San Francisco
16. Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company1735 Noriega St, San Francisco
17. Anchor Brewing Company1705 Mariposa St, San Francisco
18. Leopold's2400 Polk St, San Francisco
19. City Beer Store1168 Folsom St, San Francisco
20. Hogwash582 Sutter St, San Francisco
21. Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery1398 Haight St, San Francisco
22. Mikkeller Bar34 Mason St, San Francisco
23. Barrel Head Brewhouse1785 Fulton St, San Francisco
You can couple a visit to this brewery mainstay's tap room with a tour on Saturdays if you book 24-hours in advance, or if you just want to head straight for the beer, that's cool too! You'll find a dozen rotating taps and growler fills (which are 20% off on Thirsty Thursdays).
This casual gastropub in Bernal Heights serves game-changing drinks and eats in a cool, friendly atmosphere. For starters, the bar's 14 taps are split between OTB beers brewed in-house and a rotating selection of local craft ones. The food menu, which has a four-course tasting option, is too good to be considered basic pub fare. The desserts are listed simply by flavor ("chocolate" and "vanilla") and are thoughtful, complex, and downright unforgettable. Old Bus Tavern's menu will tempt you to order everything on it.
Cerveceria de MateVeza offers a rotating selection of guest beers on tap, plus nearly 100 more of the bottled variety. And should you feel the need for some comida con su cerveza, they also serve a number of delicious empanadas.
The first thing you'll notice when you walk into this Belgian-inspired brasserie in Cow Hollow is the wall of refrigerated bottled beers, complete with a sliding ladder. Belga has both killer cocktails and an extensive Belgian beer menu (10 beers on tap, more than 50 in bottles), and a menu that's perfect for sharing (Belgian frites, oysters on the half shell, sausage plates). Oh, and it's got a really great brunch menu with waffles, beignets, and schnitzel with eggs.
Get this: Brewcade's an arcade-meets-bar on Upper Market where you can spend hours playing classic video games like Ms. Pacman and Street Fighter. That’s twenty-one games, 24 beers on tap, and 70 more in bottles and cans, to be exact. It’s the perfect spot to bro out with friends or lessen an awkward first date because there will be something to distract you from the standard “So what do you do?” talk that usually marks that initial encounter.
The folks who brought you Magnolia have expanded their famous digs into this Dogpatch spot that boasts smoked-in-house BBQ options like chopped pork and brisket, plus a huge, on-site brewing system that can produce 30 barrels. Don't miss out on the ahhh-mazing cocktail program either, whipping up speciality cocktails like the Dutchman's Flat which involves rye, ginger, honey, lemon, toasted Nori, and beef bouillon.
With quintessential large mugs, sausages and sauerkraut, long picnic tables in the sun (hopefully), and a rotating selection of impressive German beers, Biergarten everything you want in, well, a beer garden. It’s owned by the masterminds behind Suppenküche, so you know you can bank on them having a way with Teutonic suds and snacks. With no roof, it’s not the ideal spot for a rainy day pint, but you’ll be clamoring for a space come summertime.
Richmond Republic Draught House has all your favorite local beers on tap, including Fort Point, HenHouse, Pine Street, Palo Alto Brewing, Almanac, Drake's, Speakeasy, and more (24 in total). It also does justice to your favorite bar fare like burgers, wings, nachos. With multiple TVs and a laid-back, community atmosphere, it's a perfect spot to catch a game. While you're there, , ask about The Mug Club: it involves getting $1 off every beer and one free beer on Tuesdays.
A go-to for beer geeks right off of Golden Gate Park, this 18-tap hops haven leans heavily on its own award-winning brews but leaves a solid number of lines open for excellent guest taps as well. Bartenders are equally welcoming and knowledgeable, the truffle mac & cheese is some of SF's best, and there's a full bar available in case some of your companions are avoiding gluten.
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.
San Francisco Athletic Club is your destination for beer in a bathtub. For real. Small ceramic tubs full of beer bottles on ice are delivered straight to your table, and if that weren’t enough of a draw for game night, this sports bar on Divis also boasts pool tables, shuffleboard, and bleachers, plus a range of bar food. The menu features nontraditional healthy options like poached salmon salad and veggie chili to the not-so-healthy: one-third pound burgers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and crinkle-cut fried pickles.
This beer-focused restaurant has 100 beers on tap, which range from lower-alcohol “session beers,” to hoppy IPAs, to Belgians. The menu is super approachable, organized by style and whether it’s “easy,” “exciting,” or “fun,” it is conducive to trying something new. You’ll find dishes that utilize some of those beers like the duck liver mousse with a red ale gelee or mussels in a Henhouse Saison broth.
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 beer bar in Nob Hill prides itself on California beer. In honor of California being the thirty-first state, Hopwater has a rotating tap of 31 beers from the Golden State's 400-plus breweries. The list is updated almost nightly and includes tried-and-true favorites and brews you've likely never tried before. There's a fair selection of bar fare too, like fried chicken sandwiches, steak fries, and pulled pork sliders.
Rogue Ales Public House is a North Beach staple. There’s plenty of seating that still manages to fill up with a lively mix of locals and tourists every day and night. The menu is what you’d expect from a mid-sized pub (burgers, sandwiches, wings), but you can’t leave without downing Rogue’s flagship Dead Guy Ale or the slightly tart Hazelnut Brown Nectar.
This microbrewery in the Outer Sunset is a great spot to enjoy handcrafted beers and tasty food… and it’s an even better spot to fill your growler. If you don’t have one, they sell one of the highest quality growlers available: it’s stainless steel, double walled, and thermal insulated. A 1L filled growler will cost you $40, and the 2L runs $60. If you have your own or want a refill, it’s $10 for the 1L and $20 for the 2L. FYI: If you want the Dry Irish Stout, you’ll have to enjoy it in-house… that one isn’t available to-go.
Wanna know what San Francisco tastes like? The take a sip from a bottle of Anchor Steam lager, made right here in San Francisco since 1896. Brewery tours are a bucket list item, where you can see everything from the massive steam beer tanks, to the fermentation room and maybe even an appearance from OG brewmaster Mark Carpenter. The brewery’s Anchor Bar is a pot of gold at the end of the tour, but make sure to book well in advance.
Leopold’s is an Austrian beer hall on Polk Street known for its boots of beer, dirndl-wearing waitresses, and year-round Oktoberfest vibe. The dinner menu features authentic Austrian eats like wiener schnitzel, beef goulash, and house-made charcuterie. There are eight beers on tap and more by the bottle, plus wine from Eastern European regions.
Part bottle shop, part bar, this cozy SoMA shop is a go- to for SF beer lovers. City Beer Store offers over 500 types of American and European brews, mostly from small batch brewers. Crack one open inside their cozy taproom and bar, or sample a pint from its 15 rotating taps. City Beer Store also offers a nice selection of small plates, like bacon caramel corn, cheese, and charcuterie.
With over 30 beers on draft, this Union Square taproom is a beer drinker’s paradise. It’s the perfect marriage of craft brews and elevated bar snacks, the latter of which includes house-made sausage sandwiches, curry fries (with an almost obligatory fried duck egg add-on), and fried pickles. It's a counter-serve, so after you place your food order at the bar, snag a seat at one of the communal tables with a beer -- be it a local IPA or Belgian sour -- in hand.
Before breweries were opening on every block, San Franciscans were getting their craft beer fix at Magnolia. This OG brewery is located in Dogpatch, but you can sip its suds and chow down on bar fare at the Haight St. restaurant as well. Magnolia offers outdoor tables for those rare sunny days, plus booths and communal seating inside. You’ll also find 12 rotating Magnolia brews on tap every day, a guest pour, and a few cask choices as well.
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.
The folks at Barrel Head will fill your growler up with any of their four house-brewed beers for $15-$18 (depending on which one you want, not what kind of a mood they’re in). Try the $9 Flight du Jour to sample them all first, so you can make this very important decision fully informed. And if you don’t have your own growler, no worries: you can buy one there for $10.