Food & Drink

Where to Drink for Free in San Francisco

Free alcohol. It’s alcohol. And it’s free. Sure, you could go to your friend's app launch that came out of some relatively new Swedish incubator and hobnob with the denizens of digital drab... Or you could forgo the vapid conversations about the "next best dating app" and tie one on at one of these lovely destinations...

<strong>Hotel Triton</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/hotel-triton-94108&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Downtown</em><br />
The gimmick at this boutique hotel across the street from the Chinatown gate is “celebrity-inspired.” They have things like leopard print robes and a “Haagen-Dazs Suite” with unlimited ice cream, but you wouldn’t know about any of that because you’re planted squarely in the lobby from 5-6pm for the free wine (and sometimes sangria or hot toddies.)<br />
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<strong>Harbor Court</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/harbor-court-hotel-94105&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Embarcadero</em><br />
Harbor Court is Triton’s sister hotel and offers the same 5-6pm wine hour hospitality to its guests (also, unwittingly, to you.)<br />
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<strong>Argonaut Hotel</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/argonaut-hotel-94109&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Fisherman’s Wharf</em><br />
If you come to the Argonaut by way of Hyde St, you can almost pretend you aren’t at the Wharf. While you’re at it, pretend that you paid for the free wine and toddies (5-6pm) with gold from your vast gold reserves. And that you’re best friends with Tom Hardy.<br />
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<strong>Hotel Rex</strong> (<a href="https://www.thrillist.com/venues/hotel-rex&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Union Square</em><br />
Rex is a library-themed hotel, but more importantly, it’s one with an on-the-house happy hour every day. Stop trying to better yourself by thumbing through that perfectly weathered Jack London and get your priorities straight -- it’s wine time from 5-6pm, so you’d better start drinking like it.<br />
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<strong>Galleria Park Hotel</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/galleria-park-hotel-94104&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Financial District</em><br />
Wine by the carved stone fireplace offers nice respite from the burdensome height of the neighborhood’s towers, but details like the carpet pattern, in what can only described as “classic lobby squiggly lines,” remind one of the make-it-look-expensive-but-pay-as-little-as-possible mentality behind “executive” three star hotel design. It’s not really hip, and it’s not home, but luckily, that’s not what you’re there for. It’s free pours from 5:30-6:30pm. And with popcorn!<br />
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<strong>Hotel Carlton</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/hotel-carlton-94109&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Lower Nob Hill</em><br />
The kind of place you’d describe as “snazzy,” or “jazzy,” or “quirky,” if you were the type of person to use those words in the first place. Personally, we are not, but after a glass of free wine between 5:30-6pm, we might start saying things that are out of character.

<strong>Kama Sushi</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/san-francisco/restaurants/kama-sush…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Soma &amp; Noe Valley</em><br />
Ironically enough, when you go to check in on Yelp to unlock your free carafe of sake, you’ll probably be hit with a “Consumer Alert: Poor Food Safety Score!” pop-up. Whether you want to roll those dice or not is your call, we’re just here to tell you the facts. When the fact is free sake, we’re a little torn, too.<br />
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<strong>Izakaya House</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/san-francisco/restaurants/izakaya-h…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Soma</em><br />
Luckily, this crazy capitalist market breeds competition (or so they tell us), so if you’re giving Kama a hard pass, you can always mosey on over to Izakaya for a free carafe of sake from somewhere a little less… daring.<br />
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<strong>Tataki South</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/san-francisco/bar/tataki-south&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Noe Valley</em><br />
Revolutionizing the ‘sushi restaurant with Yelp check-in deal’ scene by changing up the offering slightly, Tataki puts sake bombs on the table. Literally.<br />
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<strong>Skool </strong>(<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/eat/san-francisco/restaurants/skool-rest…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>SOMA</em><br />
Skool picks up Japanese cuisine where the last few options left off. You won’t find sushi on their menu, but you will find monkfish liver mousse, squid ink spaghettina, a kobe burger, and, of course, a complimentary glass of Cava to wash it all down.<br />
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<strong>AsiaSF </strong>(<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/eat/san-francisco/restaurants/asia-sf&q…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>SOMA</em><br />
This restaurant-club crossover isn’t for the faint of heart, so come with the will to be entertained. To help get in the mood, opt in for a free signature shot, like the White Gummy.

Art walks

When you drink to support the arts, I’m pretty sure the calories don’t count and there’s no hangover. Take advantage of this loophole to sample rare spirits like Two Buck Chuck, Tecate, and PBR.

Lower Haight Art Walk (address and info)
Lower Haight
Catch a show opening at Upper Playground, get a salon deal at Edo, and don’t miss the Art Walk-exclusive absinthe popsicles from Maven.

Lower Polk Art Walk (address and info)
Lower Nob Hill
This misnomer of an art walk has evolved to incorporate a range of Tenderloin galleries in addition to the original Polk Gulch set. It’s a BYOB tradition around here, but you can usually count on a few, like Spoke Art to be serving up something sparkling.

First Thursdays (address and info)
Union Square
The Godfather of SF art walks, this downtown regular feature put on by the San Francisco Art Dealers Association has been going strong since ‘93. The art plays it safer, and the crowd is more composed, both of which point towards one thing: actually drinkable (and free) wine.

Divisadero Art Walk (address and info)
Western Addition
Mingle with the skaters at San Franpsycho, and the burners at Bean Bag Cafe, and know in your heart of hearts that you’re going to end up at either Madrone or The Page.

<strong>Cask</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/san-francisco/bar/cask&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Downtown &amp; Other Locations</em><br />
This trio of liquor stores is owned by FutureBars, the company that brought you Bourbon &amp; Branch, Tradition, Local Edition, and Rickhouse, among others (basically all of your favorite bars). The impressive roster of watering holes should be an indication of the excellent selection of liquor available at their retail offshoots. From whiskey to fernet, you can try before you buy at one of their frequent in-store tastings. Check out their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Cask-111989230212/&quot; target="_blank">Facebook page</a> for specific events.

<strong>Fat Grape Winery</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/drink/san-francisco/bars/fat-grape-wine…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Treasure Island</em><br />
Test out the (rarely contested) “free booze tastes better” theory at Fat Grape’s tasting room next time you end up at Treasure Island Flea, or anytime Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6pm

<strong>Wattle Creek Winery Tasting Room</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/drink/san-francisco/bars/wattle-creek-t…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Fisherman’s Wharf</em><br />
For the landlocked lot of you, waddle over to Wattle Creek anytime during operating hours. Sign up for their wine club to test out the (also rarely contested) “membership has its perks” theory.<br />
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<strong>Bluxome Street Winery</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venue/drink/san-francisco/bar/bluxome-street-w…; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>SOMA</em><br />
Another membership option, perhaps one that appeals to the extremely hydrophobic, this SOMA wine club offers free tastings for you and up to three friends. Come by anytime during operating hours, so long as they aren’t hosting a private event. Check special hours on their <a href="http://www.bluxomewinery.com/53-bluxome-street-tasting-room/hours&quot; target="_blank">website</a>.

<strong>Public Barber Salon</strong> (<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/public-barber-salon-94102&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Tenderloin &amp; North Beach</em><br />
For the exact cost of a haircut you can get a haircut and a PBR. Maybe even two, depending on what kind of service you’re getting and how fast you drink.<br />
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<strong>Plant Warehouse </strong>(<a href="http://www.thrillist.com/venues/plant-warehouse-94109&quot; target="_blank">address and info</a>)

<em>Lower Nob Hill</em><br />
We hate to prey upon the goodwill and generosity of the Plant Warehouse folks by outting their brilliant little secret. But Thrillist is a good friend that doesn’t keep secrets from the ones they love (you), so we’re doing it anyway. More than just a plant store, this veritable indoor rainforest off Polk Street houses a wooden platform with cushioned benches and a wine table. Help yourself to a plastic cup and pour a glass from the rotating selection. They usually have three or four bottles to choose from, all of which are very tasteful. If you’re extra-lucky, you may even catch a cheese and cracker pairing. Once you’ve blackened your tongue on complimentary Merlot, do your due diligence and purchase a succulent.<br />
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<em><a href="https://www.thrillist.com/authors/laura-reilly&quot; target="_blank">Laura Reilly</a> is a production assistant at Thrillist and she really is best friends with Tom Hardy. Swear! Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/asapreilly&quot; target="_blank">@asapreilly</a>, and again at <a href="http://instagram.com/asapreilly&quot; target="_blank">@asapreilly</a>.</em>