Ten Best Bars from Bay to Breakers in San Francisco

Long-known as a "foodie" city that practically invented the organic food movement, San Francisco is applying the same love and devotion she's had towards food to another favorite pastime: drinking.

Just as the organic food movement was defined by local and sustainable ingredients, the trend in most San Francisco bars is to offer locally made beers and spirits. For example, many visitors are familiar with San Francisco's local beer Anchor Steam. Local bars are not only stocking this popular brew, but also adding the small-batch, traditionally distilled spirits of Anchor Distilling Company, as well. 

Not really into locally-made drinks? If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for socializing, our San Francisco guide also includes that. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in San Francisco for hanging out and kicking back. From the classic "Beat" hangout of Vesuvio to a hot new bar created by the latest tech boom like Trick Dog, we've got that perfect mix of old and new so your nightlife has the best of both worlds in San Francisco.

What's the energy like? How do the bartenders pour? Are most bars located in the sizzling Mission area? No fear - we share all the facts!

The Tenderloin
Cafe Royale
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


Nestled between the seedy Tenderloin and ritzy Nob Hill neighborhoods, Cafe Royale has a fantastic selection of local brews, such as "Inception" by Triple Voodoo - very hard to find on tap anywhere else in town. The walls are covered with the...  Read More



Blackbird's motto really does capture the essence of this bar: "Ever Classic, Never Stuffy, Welcome to the Bird." Featuring local wines, artisanal craft beers, and handmade cocktails, The Blackbird is everything you should expect in a bar. The...  Read More



A nightlife hotspot in the revamped and recharged Hayes Valley neighborhood, the Absinthe is very popular for lunch and dinner. But if you stick around until night, the city's best and brightest always step into the Absinthe, definitely one of...  Read More

Press Club
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


Located two blocks from both Union Square and the Moscone Convention Center, Press Club is an extraordinary wine-tasting venue. Because Press Club rotates wines from artisan vintners on a monthly basis, guests are guaranteed a taste of the best...  Read More



If you've had it with your average night out, take a trip back to 1920's Prohibition at this sleek and elegant bar. They take their cocktails and their "house rules" seriously, though - this isn't the place to scream and twirl your glowsticks....  Read More



At this mid-20th century San Francisco landmark, the bar's patrons order at the same bar top as did the free-spirited Beat poets of the 1950s and 60s, including writer Jack Kerouac. Today, lingering historic charm and beatnik vibes delight...  Read More



Part of locally beloved Lolo restaurant, this mescal inspired, craft cocktail bar has gotten more popular by the minute. Some of the cocktails sound good enough to eat - and with good reason. Bar managers Gallardo and Vasquez are always peeking...  Read More



Just like its specialty food item, a hamburger in a hot dog bun, Trick Dog brings the same clever and refreshing attitude towards its drinks and overall ambience. If you want to feel how the tech boom has pushed San Francisco right up to the...  Read More



Every city needs a bar that remembers her history, and San Francisco's Pied Pipe does just that. Taking its name from the famous Maxfield Parrish painting that adorns the bar, the Pied Piper, located in the historic Palace Hotel, is popular...  Read More



Given how quickly trends come and go in San Francisco, the fact that the Alembic has been making craft cocktails for several years actually makes the bar one of the forerunners of this latest hip trend. A house favorite is the "Sazerac," a New...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom