Check out this list of the best bars in San Francisco
San Francisco offers an eclectic assortment of vibrant bars. Whether you are in the mood for an intimate dive bar or a hip, up-and-coming restaurant, San Francisco has everything you could want in a nightlife scene. Finding and hitting up the best bars in San Francisco is often a challenge, which is why we are reviewing some of our favorites in this latest blog post. The next time you’re out and about with friends, make sure you try out these bustling bars.
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650 Gough Street, Fillmore
Since 2009, Smuggler’s Cove has served as the premier destination for top rum and innovative cocktails in San Francisco. In fact, Smuggler’s Cove offers the largest rum selection in the United States. From the Hotel Nacional Special to the Hibiscus Rum Punch, each cocktail is carefully made fresh to order by some of the top cocktail experts in San Francisco. After they grab their drinks, guests can enjoy the restaurant’s delicious cocktails inside its stunning interior featuring vintage tiki artifacts and rum decor.
“Watching the skilled bartenders was a treat. They operate in a small space, and are so fast too! The drinks were some of the best tiki drinks I've had and I liked that they weren't overly sweet.” - Yelp Review
679 3rd Street, South Beach
Located just a short walk from Oracle Park and the Chase Center, the Alchemist Bar & Lounge serves as a prime cocktail destination in a neighborhood traditionally filled by sports bars. The bar’s signature house cocktails are filled with fresh seasonal ingredients and house-made infusions. Its cleverly named drinks like the Nicotine & Gravy and the Something With Vodka can be enjoyed on the bar’s spacious outdoor patio. If you aren’t in the mood for a cocktail, you can select an option from the Alchemist’s beer and wine lists.
In addition to its vast selection of drinks, Alchemist also offers numerous bar bites. You can start your night off right by sharing some Spinach & Artichoke Dip with friends or trying the bar’s savory Cubano Sandwich. The bacon cheddar fries and nachos are also great plates to share with a group.
“They have a super solid array of craft cocktails. We tried several different crafty concoctions. We ordered a couple of small bites, can I just say the mushrooms are holy hell good, like WOW.... that was an eff'n mushroom!!!???” - Yelp Review
3010 20th Street, Mission
Trick Dog Bar offers a fine selection of cocktails, all of which are named after a college class. For instance, the Computer Science cocktail is a long dry bubbly gin cocktail made with Tanqueray 10 gin, Aperol, Clement Mahina coconut, and apple and lavender soda. The Comparative Literature is an old fashioned cocktail made with Old Forester Bonded Bourbon, mango, and Okinawan sugar.
A food menu filled with savory options is also available for guests. Delicious options including grilled cauliflower tacos, buffalo karaage chicken, and beef tartare are the perfect complements to your inventive cocktails.
“Their drink menu is new - Trick Dog University. You can purchase the menu for $25 and the money goes towards a scholarship fund. I ordered the Computer Science which was a drinking degree geared towards gin. My fav.” - Yelp Review
602 Mission Street, Financial District
As you step into the Archive Bar & Kitchen, you are immediately greeted with brick walls filled with maps and photos of Downtown San Francisco as well as miscellaneous artifacts collected all across the Bay Area. Along with a selection of wines and beers, Archive also offers its own house libations. Whether you are in the mood for some Frozé All Day or Rose Sangria, you are sure to love the inventive cocktails served here. Just make sure you come hungry. Social plates meant for sharing, such as the Cheese Stuffed Bread and Jumbo Chicken Wings are perfect for starting your night. Savory pizzas and salads are also served here in case you came hungry.
“You can't go wrong with lunch here! I've been here a few times with co-workers, as it's close to our office and has foods everyone loves. From 5-star salads such as the 'Prosciutto and Burrata' salad or 'Beet Salad' (my faves) to massive sandwiches such as the BBQ pulled pork or mission chicken, this place offers a lot of classic dishes with slight twists.” - Yelp Review
501 Jones Street, Tenderloin
Located in Tenderloin, Bourbon & Branch is a popular speakeasy known for its sophisticated cocktails and dishes. Because of its nature, you need to make a reservation so you can receive the correct password to get in for the night. There is a “Library” portion available for walk-ins. However, it can get a little crowded. As for the drinks, Bourbon & Branch offers a variety of cocktails and different versions of Bourbon Old Fashions.
“I recently tried Bourbon & Branch and Bourbon & Branch has officially become on top of my list for speakeasies in SF. The vibe so elegant, secretive, and the interior is so beautiful. You feel like you are in a different time period instantly as you walk in.” - Yelp Review
198 5th Street, SoMa
The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant is a prime destination for people looking for some delicious food and a cocktail. Offering authentic Irish food, whiskey, and live Irish music, it is no wonder why the Chieftain is almost always filled to the brim on weekend nights. The Chieftain is also a great place to catch the next soccer or football game. While the bar scene in San Francisco is certainly different for the time being, it doesn’t hurt to put places like the Chieftain on your radar once it is safe to go out again.
“My friend took me here on a weekday afternoon and I was baffled to see the crowd. As soon as I entered, I couldn't help but get soaked in the beautiful ambiance. We ordered drinks along with lunch. I opted for Buffalo chicken wrap. It came with some fresh greens salad and a tangy-sweet dressing alongside. I absolutely loved it and it was delicious!” - Yelp Review
1640 Haight Street, The Haight
Need somewhere new and exciting to visit once the city opens up bars and indoor dining again? Try out Sparrow Bar and Kitchen. Offering modern American cuisine within a vibrant atmosphere, the Sparrow Bar and Kitchen is sure to become your next favorite hangout spot. Everything from the Fried Cauliflower to the Meatballs are sure to fill you up. Just don’t forget to try out some beer or wine with your savory dishes.
“Great spot for brunch or casual dinner. Went in around 6 and there were only a handful of tables occupied so their service was quickly and our waitress was very attentive.
Small, but nice beer selection and you definitely should try their cheese fries.” - Yelp Review
Becoming bored in San Francisco will never be a problem if you know where you can find the best places to spend a night out. Luckily for you, there is no shortage of exciting bars and restaurants in San Francisco to try out. What’s your go-to nightlife destination in San Francisco? Let us know in the comments!