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

Hayes Valley 7

SoMa 24

Tenderloin 4

Mission District 22


Bernal Heights 3

Dogpatch 2

Potrero Hill 1

The Haight, the Castro, and Noe Valley 17


Castro 12

Haight 5

North Beach 12

Nob Hill and Russian Hill 11


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 3

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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Gathering Places 1

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Themed Entertainment 3

Wine Bars–Nightlife 10

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Gay and Lesbian 22

Green 1

San Francisco Nightlife

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  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

A slice of modern French life, this cozy and romantic wine bar is an ideal spot for European oenophiles. Vintage-theater seating is available...

Big 4 Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Dark-wood paneling and green leather banquettes lend a masculine feel to the bar at the recently remodeled Scarlet Huntington Hotel,...

Kozy Kar

  • Bars/Pubs

Outrageous and full of sexual energy, this tiny space with an even tinier dance floor may be the heterosexual equivalent of San Francisco's...

The Cinch

  • Bars/Pubs

This Wild West–themed neighborhood bar has pinball machines, pool tables, and a smoking patio. It's not the least bit trendy, which...

The Wreck Room

  • Bars/Pubs

Shuffleboard, arcade basketball, a jukebox, and plenty of flat-screen TVs make this spacious yet divey place feel like a time machine...

Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Since the 1940s the Tonga Room has supplied its city with high Polynesian kitsch. Fake palm trees, grass huts, a lagoon (three-piece...

Top of the Mark

  • Bars/Pubs

A famous magazine photograph immortalized the bar atop the Mark Hopkins as a hot spot for World War II servicemen on leave or about to...

Royal Oak

  • Bars/Pubs

Tiffany-style lamps and cascading ferns contribute to the clubby feel of this comfortable spot, walkable from other nearby neighborhood...

N Touch

  • Bars/Pubs

This self-proclaimed gay Asian dance club has long been popular with well-coiffed Asian–Pacific Islander men. Dancing, whether to '70s...


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