San Francisco Nightlife

After hours, the city’s business folk and workers give way to costume-clad partygoers, hippies and hipsters, downtown divas, frat boys, and those who prefer something a little more clothing-optional. Downtown and the Financial District remain pretty serious even after dark, and Nob Hill is staid, though you can't beat views from penthouse lounges, the most famous being the Top of the Mark (Hopkins).

Nearby North Beach is an even better starting point for an evening out.

Always lively, North Beach's options include family-friendly dining spots, historic bars from the city's bohemian past (among them Jack Kerouac's old haunts), and even comedy clubs where stars such as Robin Williams and Jay Leno cut their teeth. In SoMa there are plenty of places to catch a drink before a Giants game and brewpubs to celebrate in afterward. SoMa also hosts some of the hottest dance clubs, along with some saucy gay bars. While Union Square can be a bit trendy, even the swanky establishments have loosened things up in recent years.

Heading west to Hayes Valley, a more sophisticated crowd dabbles in the burgeoning "culinary cocktail movement." Up-and-coming singles gravitate north of here to Cow Hollow and the Marina. Polk Street was the gay mecca before the Castro and still hosts some wild bars, but things get downright outlandish in the Castro district. Indie hipsters of all persuasions populate the Mission and Haight districts by night. Keep in mind, though, that some of the best times San Francisco has to offer can be found off the beaten path. And a good party can still be found in even the sleepiest of neighborhoods, such as Bernal Heights and Dogpatch.

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SoMa and Civic Center 36


Civic Center 1

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SoMa 24

Tenderloin 4

Mission District 22


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Dogpatch 2

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Castro 12

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North Beach 12

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Nob Hill 4

Polk Gulch 7

Union Square and Chinatown 10


Chinatown 1

Union Square 9

On the Waterfront 10


Embarcadero 3

Financial District 4

Fisherman's Wharf 3

The Marina and the Presidio 7


Cow Hollow 3

Marina 4

Pacific Heights and Japantown 5


Pacific Heights 1

Western Addition 4

Western Shoreline 2


The Richmond 2

Golden Gate Park 2

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Bars/ Pubs 84

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Comedy Clubs 4

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Gay and Lesbian 22

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San Francisco Nightlife

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  • Bars/Pubs

Laid back" would be an understatement. Once inside, you won't feel like you're in a gay bar—or in San Francisco. And that's the way...

Tsunami Sushi Panhandle

  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

This place next to a jointly owned sake shop has a small but very good sushi menu, as well as a list of more than 100 sakes. The staffers...

Urban Putt

  • Themed Entertainment

While the city's only minature golf course is kid-friendly during the day, this 14-hole indoor course really lights up at night. The...


  • Bars/Pubs

Enticing, romantic, and ultrahip in one package, Vessel has a cavalier glamour that embraces you as you descend the staircase into its...

Vesuvio Cafe

  • Bars/Pubs

If you're only hitting one bar in North Beach, it should be this one. The low-ceiling second floor of this raucous boho hangout, little...

View Lounge

  • Bars/Pubs

Art-deco-influenced floor-to-ceiling windows frame superb views on the 39th floor of the San Francisco Marriott. You won't feel out of...


  • Music Clubs

This former movie palace—a "palace" in every sense of the word—is now one of the city's largest rock-and-roll venues, with tables...

Wild Side West

  • Bars/Pubs

A friendly pool game is always going on at this mellow, slightly out-of-the-way hangout, where all are welcome. Outside is a large deck...


  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

A stone's throw from the bay, the city's greenest wine bar serves up sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines from around the world.


  • Bars/Pubs

It's a bit divey, a bit rock and roll, but a good place to relax with a cold one or an ever-popular (and ever-strong) Bloody Mary in...


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