San Francisco is surrounded by water on the East, West, and North, which means it's the perfect place to kick back with a drink and a waterfront view. Which you can do at every single one of these spots. Assuming Karl isn't hanging around, that is.
855 Terry Francois St
It doesn’t get any more “waterfront” than The Ramp’s sunny, Bayside patio. It’s literally so on the water, they tell you not to dock your boat there.
Mission Rock Resort
817 Terry Francois St
You can sit on the overwater patio (which accommodates a Giants game day-friendly ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DRINKERS), or pull up a stool at the bar, which's made with recycled wood pulled from the 1923 bleachers (complete with seat numbers!) from Cal's Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Either way, the views are everywhere.
Pier 28 ½, The Embarcadero at Bryant
The exterior of Hi Dive makes it look like all kinds of dives, but the outdoor patio shoots that down pretty quickly with a quajillion-dollar view that no dive in the city can claim.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
1 Ferry Building - Shop 11
Since its remodel, Hog Island Oyster Co. lost its happy hour offerings, but not the seating outdoors or the gorgeous view of the Bay Bridge. And according to every guy you've ever played some sort of organized softball with, two-for-three ain't bad.
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
Pier 1.5, The Embarcadero
Enjoy Peruvian happy hour offerings seven days a week on La Mar’s boat-docking-friendly patio. Enjoy it even more if you just docked your boat there.
Pier 5, The Embarcadero
Pick your poison at Coqueta: sit outside in the semi-enclosed patio, or snag a seat at the glassed-in bar that looks out on Yerba Buena and lots of sky. Just make sure you get a sangria with that.
Red’s Java House
Pier 30, The Embarcadero at Bryant
A San Francisco staple before Anthony Bourdain dubbed it cool, if you haven’t enjoyed an afternoon beer and burger on its Bay-viewing patio, do it before the Warriors claim this stomping ground in 2017.
The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building, #3
Slanted Door’s floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the Bay (if the breeze is too chilly for you, Guy Who Forgot His Layers), but the more affordable happy hour is best enjoyed on its outdoor patio with a cocktail.
Pier 23, The Embarcadero
The family-owned waterside cafe wants you to enjoy its patio so much, if it’s too bright for you, it'll give you a cowboy hat to wear to shield you from the sun.
369 The Embarcadero
A steak with panoramic views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island? Cheeeeeck. Sit inside or out to take it all in, and always opt for the happy hour or brunch menu, which don’t need you to make a reservation.
132 The Embarcadero
Come for the Asian-fusion happy hour, stay for the relaxing views from the outdoor patio or the bar inside.
141 The Embarcadero
If you like Alpha Phi sorority invitationals, you're in the right spot.
Pier 7, The Embarcadero
The former longshoremen's bar-turned-upscale-eatery might be out of your price range for dinner. But Waterfront’s $1 oyster happy hour and totally free view of the Bay from its patio is not.
399 The Embarcadero
Soak some rays on Waterbar's outside deck, or... its outside deck (or its circular bar where you can get $1 happy hour oysters).
345 Spear St
Forget that it's Palomino and remember that it's a Bay-facing, open-patio'd spot with half-off Wine Down Wednesday.
Pier 33, The Embarcadero
The back patio is sliver-ish, but also unnecessary when you've got floor-to-ceiling windows like it does. If you've ever wanted to see a cruise ship dock, this would be the place to do it from.
Pier 40, The Embarcadero
This dog-friendly, open-air bar (with a smoking/patio area) is a great spot to enjoy reasonably priced seafood and whatever game's on TV.
1 Ferry Building
Anchored on the Embarcadero side of the Ferry Building, its outdoor area offers not only a view, but $8 specials (until 8pm!) eight days a week!!
This mini-San Francisco chain maintains its easygoing vibe, but takes on an outdoor space with water views at its Embarcadero location. Sooooo, maybe go to this one if you're having a hard time choosing.
8 Mission St
Situated inside Hotel Vitale, you don’t have to be staying there to enjoy the panoramic views from the curricular bar. But if you enjoy them too much, you totally can be.
Dock the ferry to the island at Piers 39 & 41
Okay, so Forbes Island is a bit more of a commitment than just dropping by for a drink and a great view (hilarious old Thrillist video proof). But this is truly one of those “only in San Francisco” places, considering it's the world’s only floating restaurant.
The Pub at Ghirardelli Square
851 Beach St
Yes, it's in Ghirardelli Square, but also yes, it nails the three B’s: BBQ, beers, and Bay views -- indoors and out.
Players Sport Grill & Arcade
Bay views + Skeeball = Ugh, fine.
Eagle Cafe is touristy, but like, SF-landmark-touristy thanks to a hard-to-compete-with outdoor patio vantage point.
Pier 39, 2nd level
360-degree views of: the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and sea lions. From Fog Harbor’s fireplace lobby all the way to its outdoor seating, you are the king of the Fisherman’s Wharf castle.
Wipeout Bar & Grill
Pier 39, at Beach St
Related to Fog Harbor, this waterfront surf shack boasts bomb burritos on its outdoor patio.
From Neptune’s waterfront bar, you’ve got a front row seat to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz without all the wind... or navigating through throngs of tourists.
McCormick & Kuleto’s
900 North Point St
Its happy hour offerings are just as award-winning as, uh, places that've won awards. The sights aren't bad either. No matter where you're sitting.
2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason Building A
Despite being, ugh, vegetarian, the views of the GGB more-than-kinda-sorta make up for that.
1090 Point Lobos Ave
Part of Sutro's Historic Landscape District, “jaw-dropping” doesn't even begin to describe the window views. Floor-to-ceiling & ocean-facing, however, do begin to describe it.
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
1000 Great Hwy
Ugh, another historic building with ocean views and house-made beer. Fiiiiiine.
South Harbor Waterfront
425 Marina Blvd
Located inside The Inn at Oyster Point, your wine is served with a side of Marina view -- from the seating inside and the outdoor patio.
This list -- and all the rest -- look even sexier in our iPhone app. Get it now!
Margaux Poupard is a Thrillist San Francisco contributor and would like to know if she missed any. Seriously, did she? You'll probably tell her very nicely on Twitter.
This article was originally published on July 22, 2014.
1. Hi Dive Bar501 The Embarcadero Pier 28 1/2, San Francisco
2. Hog Island Oyster Co.1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
3. CoquetaPier 5 - The Embarcadero, San Francisco
4. The Slanted Door1 Sausalito - San Francisco Ferry Bldg #3, San Francisco
5. Waterbar399 Embarcadero, San Francisco
6. SB40Pier 40, San Francisco
7. Perry's on the Embarcadero155 Steuart St, San Francisco
8. Americano Restaurant & Bar8 Mission St, San Francisco
9. Greens Restaurant2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco
10. Cliff House1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco
11. Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco
12. South Harbor Waterfront Restaurant and Bar425 Marina Blvd, South San Francisco
13. Butterfly1500 the Embarcadero, San Francisco
14. MarketBar1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
15. McCormick & Kuleto's900 N Point St, San Francisco
A sweet oceanside bar right next to the Bay Bridge, The Embarcadero's Hi Dive serves tacos, quesadillas, and Muni-referencing burgers like the F-Line with Niman Ranch beef, bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar, and homemade BBQ sauce. Oh, and for dessert, don't miss the King Triton Sundae with chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, crumbled Skor bar, and strawberries.
Hog Island Oyster Bar, located in the Ferry Building Marketplace, does its namesake proud; for those that love oysters, few places do it better. With outdoor seating that truly completes the seafaring experience, a grilled-cheese sandwich with superb word-of-mouth buzz, and cold, IPA brews to complement, Hog Island has serious make-a-day-out-of-it appeal.
Born from a Top Chef Masters vet, Coqueta (which means “flirt”) is an idyllic spot for creative and refreshing cocktails, festive tapas, and a gorgeous view of the Bay. Sit outside in the semi-enclosed patio or snag a seat at the glassed-in bar -- either way, you’ll be enjoying Spanish and Basque small plates that are vibrant and flavorful alongside sumptuous sangria in an unbeatable setting.
Traditional Vietnamese cuisine infused with Bay Area spirit, The Slanted Door, according to its visionary owner/executive chef Charles Phan, is a restaurant that "refused to cut any corners."Using local, fresh ingredients, patrons experience a variety of meals given a modern, subtle twist.
Waterbar is a two-story restaurant on the Embarcadero with mind-numbing views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island. You come here for two reasons: to take in the aforementioned views and to eat oysters. The seafood-centric menu features all of that seasonal, locally sourced good stuff, but the best thing about Waterbar is the daily $1 oyster happy hour and chilled glasses of white wine.
Finally bringing its talents to South Beach, SB40 is a World Series-inspired do-over of an old waterfront Filipino foodery that adds appropriate amounts of orange and black to the interior of an already awesome three-patio'd building, plus a 12-seat mahog
This outpost is a mix of raw brick and sweeping Bay views, with seating clustered 'round a big mahogany bar, plus an open-air patio, private room, and two communal tables.
Inside the boutique Hotel Vitale, Americano is an upscale Italian restaurant whose waterfront locale on the Embarcadero is as much of a lure as its pork & beef meatball appetizer. The all-day service peaks at happy hour, when sunset views over the Bay Bridge complement a menu featuring the aforementioned meatballs, charred individual pizzas with house-made mozzarella, and coriander-spiced fries. Though Italian in flavor and influence, the food is by no means heavy, and most of the ingredients are sourced from local California producers.
An OG on the vegetarian front since 1979, Greens is the real deal: A legit, upscale restaurant in a beautiful space within Fort Mason that basically showed America that you can still eat really, really well without all the meat and cream and all the other things associated with fine dining back during the fall of disco. Though founding chef Deborah Madison has passed the reigns onto Annie Somerville, the food continues to pull in people from all across the world. You’re not to mess around here: get the price fixe, sit back, and be blown away when you realize all the next-level things she can do without the magic of bacon.
With jaw-dropping views of Ocean Beach, the craggy coast-hugging Land’s End, and the wild, blue Pacific, Cliff House is a classy brunch or dinner spot perched on aon the edge of a cliff on the lip of the Pacific Ocean. Sit by a window to experience the dizzying, romantic effects of feeling on the edge of the world and don’t forget to order a $5 Irish coffee. This is the ultimate place to start a Sunday day date with a mimosa brunch or take in a sunset on a clear/clear-enough evening.
You’ll probably want to order the Sample Set (4oz of the eight house made brews for $13) so that you can decide what you want to take home in your growler. If you’re looking to buy a new one, you can get a nice German-style there for $25 (that includes the beer), or bring your own and fill it for $15. Enjoy your beer there because it doesn't get much better than their awesome waterfront view.
This place is inside The Inn at Oyster Point, and it is one of the best restaurants to relax and enjoy a glass of wine while gazing out at a beautiful view of Marina.
Come out for brunch or a hearty dinner and enjoy the view out of Butterfly's bay-facing floor-to-ceiling windows (or from their skinny patio).
A great spot to sit outside with views of the bay, MarketBar also offers sweet happy hour specials, like $8 cocktails and wine or $4 beers.
With a notoriously sweet happy hour and gorgeous views in almost every direction, there are a lot of reasons to come spend your evening at McCormick & Kuleto’s. This is the perfect place to bring a date that you are really looking to impress, and their happy hour deals are unbeatable.