The Best Restaurants for Large Groups in SF
From beer halls to swanky supper clubs and everything in between.
The way we enjoy dining at restaurants has changed a lot over the last year and a half—hours of operation are often reduced, proof of vaccination is required, and masks should be worn when not eating or drinking at your table, to name just a few. But one thing that’s returning to normal is our desire to meet with friends and family around a big dinner table again.
While dining in large groups used to be as simple as selecting a number from a dropdown menu on a reservation site, now it’s a tad more complicated as many restaurants have downsized or reduced staff. But as we enter a new holiday season with restaurants fully open and vaccines (and boosters) widely available, a big dinner party with all of your loved ones might sound more attractive than it has in, well, at least a year and a half. Which is why we put together this list of restaurants that are best suited for big groups, all of which are a guaranteed good time in many different forms—beer in a boot, endless meat, skeeball, etc., and several of which may even be able to seat your crew at the very last minute, depending on how deep you roll, of course.
This Bavarian-style beer hall has been catering to groups big and small for over 120 years and, since traffic in the Financial District has ebbed considerably in recent years, is a solid bet if your group decides to gather at the last minute. The restaurant has plenty of long picnic tables that seat around 14 people, perfect for feasting on German fare (pretzels with bier cheese, brats, and schnitzel) and drinking beer out of “Das Boot” (cocktails and wine are also available).
How to book: If you don’t want to take your chances walking in, you can make a reservation for up to 16 people online. Got more people than that? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-421-4778.
It’s impossible to resist the scentl of fresh waffles and fried chicken wafting through the Ritch Street alley, and even if you’re with a throng of people, you don’t have to, as the takeout window also shares a space with next-door bar Victory Hall & Parlor. The spacious bar has tons of seating and a full bar, and though the go-to order is obviously chicken and waffles, there are also po’ boy sandwiches (andouille sausage, blackened or fried catfish, seasonal veggies, etc.), a couple of salads, and sides like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and grits.
How to book: Walk-ins only; if you’re hosting a private event, reach out here.
Zero Zero is a can’t-go-wrong destination for a larger group for a couple of reasons: 1. The family-style menu was created with sharing in mind. 2. The bi-level space has ample seating, including long tables that easily seat 12 and booths that fit up to eight. 3. Each Neapolitan-style pizza with a blustery crust that has the perfect crunch-to-chew ratio comes cut into six slices, so if you work it right, you can probably try at least three different kinds, if not four or five. The restaurant also has great pasta, cocktails, and soft serve (the latter of which you should absolutely plan not to share).
How to book: Make reservations for indoor or outdoor dining online.
Not that sitting around a table eating and drinking with a group of friends or co-workers isn’t great, but you know what makes it even better? When you can get up from that table and play an endless amount of old-school arcade games, skeeball, pop-a-shot, the most expensive golf simulator in the world, and more. Thriller Social Club is 10,000-square-feet over two levels, with a menu that takes the concept of carnival food to the next level (think: a fully-loaded 13-inch hot dog, butter and bacon lobster roll, wings, smashburger, and pizza with fancy toppings like Peking duck).
How to book: You can just show up and take over an area, or email email@example.com to book a “private party.”
This lively Peruvian grill and rotisserie is perfect for a group as it’s impossible not to be in high spirits while enjoying the vibrant decor and food. Order a table full of appetizers to share—the cebiche, causa cocktail, and empanadas are all favorites—before moving on to the mesquite charcoal-grilled steak and whole rotisserie chicken. The signature cocktails come in bottles that serve five, so order a couple of those for the table as well. The best spot for a group of around 12 is at a long table in the main dining room, right in the middle of the action, under a vaulted glass skylight and next to a live olive tree decorated with a kaleidoscope of ribbons. If you want to make the affair a little more formal, there are set menus to choose from.
How to book: Make a reservation for up to six people online. For larger groups, send an inquiry online.
If there’s a vegan in your group, they will be thrilled to dine at this plant-based restaurant, as will the rest of the group once they learn about the restaurant’s commitment to working with local farmers, sustainability, and low-waste—oh right, and the fact that the food is so hearty and flavorful, the absence of meat isn’t even noticed. Wildseed is a popular spot, so the restaurant is always quite bustling, but it has several plans for larger groups, including a room that can be used for private dining.
How to reserve: For eight guests or less, make a reservation online. For 9 to 16 guests, call the restaurant directly at 415-872-7350; for 17 or more guests, fill out this form.
Charmaine’s has everything one could want for a group gathering at any time. First of all, if one is going to be in a big group, one might feel a little more reassured if the gathering occurs outside. And though there are now plenty of options for that thanks to parklets, Charmaine’s is on a rooftop, so it also comes with views. And it has fire pits, so warmth is also included! It’s also very stylish and, though the prices are hotel prices (because it’s on the rooftop of The Proper), the drinks are top-notch, and the menu is almost completely shareable.
How to book: Charmaine’s takes reservations for parties up to eight online. For groups of eight or more, call 628-895-2033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio
For a group that enjoys live music, excellent cocktails, and dim sum, head to the Opium Den at Mr. Tipple’s. The living room-esque annex off of the main room holds between 6 to 18 people and still allows for the live jazz to be appreciated, just away from the couples on dates. This isn’t a sit-down dinner situation, but rather a low-key gathering on comfy sofas and chairs perfect for sipping and snacking. And while live music isn’t ideal for in-depth conversations, it is ideal for chilling out, and you can always chat during set breaks.
How to reserve: Make a reservation online or fill out the online form for groups larger than 12.
While we’ll never complain about all of the amazing Chinese food we can get delivered to our door to enjoy straight out of the carton, there’s no denying that the best way to enjoy Chinese is sitting around a table with a lazy susan crowded with oodles of dishes, all within reach via a gentle spin. R&G’s menu boasts standouts like live-battered crab with salt and pepper, baked black cod, dried scallops with Chinese melons, and honey spare ribs.
How to book: Reservation for parties up to 12 people can be made via Yelp. For parties larger than 12, call the restaurant at 415-982-7877. Banquet menus are also available.
If your group doesn’t want to spend a ton but still wants really tasty food and good cocktails, make a reservation at Hawker Fare. The Thai street food menu is family-style and the casual space is large with twinkle lights, colorful oilcloth tablecloths, red folding chairs, and almost seems to beg for boisterous conversation, so if things get a little rowdy, there’s no need to stress.
How to book: Book tables for up to 15 people online. For larger groups, email email@example.com.
If your group is craving the pizza, pasta, and cocktails at Fiorella (and why wouldn’t they be?), the Inner Sunset location is the location to book—and that’s not just because it’s the only location with a full bar. The space is, well, spacious with two floors and a retractable awning roof deck. A table on that heated roof deck, under string lights and hanging plants, is our favorite spot in the house, though the clam pie and bolognese taste amazing wherever you’re seated.
How to book: Parties of nine or fewer can make reservations online. Parties of 10 or 11 should call 415-404-6997. Parties bigger than that should fill out this form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell your group to come hungry—very, very hungry—if you’re dining at this Brazilian churrascaria where the parade of tableside meats is (almost) literally endless. Your group will start the meal at the appetizer buffet (salads, charcuterie, cheese, fried yucca, crispy polenta), but be sure to proceed with caution as what comes next is an endless line of servers offering 14 cuts of straight-from-the-fire pork, steak, chicken, shrimp, and lamb carved tableside (turn the disk on your table to green or red to let them know if you’d like more or a momentary break). Also, watch out as the cheese bread is delicious but also filling.
How to book: Reserve online for groups of up to 19 people. For groups of 20 or more, fill out this form.
Magnolia Brewing Company
Our heart will always be with the original Magnolia location in the Haight, but it’s oh-so-cozy and, therefore, not the spot for group dinners. The new(ish) Dogpatch location, on the other hand, has everything going for it, including a full bar, food from a Michelin-starred chef (fancy muniches, flatbreads, and bowls), 16 taps with a couple of guest breweries, and tons of seating, including a “beer garden” that you and your group can take over.
How to book: Make a reservation online, or for larger groups, contact the restaurant directly at 415-689-6154.
Enjoy dinner and a show at this swanky supper club where on Friday and Saturday nights, you’ll get treated to a cirque performance. Tables for the supper club performance (which takes place in a hidden back room) are available for groups up to seven, but even if your group is larger, this is still a great choice because the food is not only delicious but served family-style in the gorgeous main dining room.
How to book: Reserve via Resy for dinner and a show. Reserve here for the outdoor and main dining room.