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 24


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Hayes Valley 4

SoMa 15

Tenderloin 4

Mission District 17


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Dogpatch 2

Potrero Hill 1

North Beach 12

The Haight, the Castro, and Noe Valley 10


Castro 7

Haight 3

On the Waterfront 9


Embarcadero 3

Financial District 3

Fisherman's Wharf 3

The Marina and the Presidio 7


Cow Hollow 3

Nob Hill and Russian Hill 7


Nob Hill 4

Polk Gulch 3

Union Square and Chinatown 7


Chinatown 1

Union Square 6

Pacific Heights and Japantown 4


Pacific Heights 1

Western Addition 3

Western Shoreline 2


The Richmond 2

Golden Gate Park 2

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Bars/ Pubs 65

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 3

Cabaret 2

Comedy Clubs 4

Dance Clubs 6

Music Clubs 14

Themed Entertainment 1

Wine Bars–Nightlife 7

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Gay and Lesbian 17

Green 1


San Francisco Nightlife

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BATS Improv

  • Comedy Clubs

In addition to teaching workshops in improvisation, this renovated warehouse stages performances such as "Improvised Shakespeare" and...

Balboa Cafe

  • Bars/Pubs

Here you'll spy young (thirtysomething) and upwardly mobile former frat boys and sorority girls munching on tasty burgers—considered...

Bus Stop

  • Bars/Pubs

Popular with frat boys and stockbrokers alike, this Marina/Cow Hollow favorite has 18 screens and two pool tables. If you want to meet...


  • Bars/Pubs

This classy lounge with shimmering chandeliers is dimly lighted, but fellow patrons will still notice the logo on your purse, so dress...


  • Bars/Pubs

Don a pair of Diesel jeans and a Michael Kors sweater and sip cosmos or cabernet with the Marina's bon vivants. This is the premier spot...


  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

This small, classy, storefront lounge has reasonable tasting flights (around $20) and decent food that looks more impressive than it...


  • Bars/Pubs

One of San Francisco's oldest singles bars still packs 'em in. You can dine on great hamburgers (and a stellar Reuben) as well as more-substantial...