Fathom Favorites : San Francisco Nightlife

1. True Laurel

True Laurel

A hip new addition to the Mission cocktail scene from the folks behind the ticketed dinner party-inspired restaurant, Lazy Bear. Interiors are inspired by mid-century artists like Isamu Noguchi. Cocktails and bar snacks go way beyond the ordinary offerings. (A smaller bar within the bar serves a separate cocktail tasting menu.) The vibe, even a weeknight, is lively.

753 Alabama St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

2. Leo's Oyster Bar

Leo's Oyster Bar

Start the night at this exquisite jewel of a clubby bar/restaurant. The onyx bar lights up, casting a god-you’re-gorgeous glow on everyone there. In addition to oysters, the house specialty, the tater tots are absolute crack. There’s a smaller semi-private bar room in the back, and a tiki bar patio off that. 

568 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

3. Boot and Shoe Service

Boot and Shoe Service

By the culinary geniuses behind the beloved Pizzaiolo, you can expect much of the same here by way of excellent pizza and Italian dishes. But the strong cocktails and communal tables makes for a fun night out. Come back the next day to nurse a hangover with Sightglass coffee at the cafe.

3308 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610

4. The Tipsy Pig

The Tipsy Pig

The garden of this gastrotavern provides the perfect backdrop for frosty pints of artisanal brews and pretzel braids served with whole-grain mustard and smoked cheddar dip. If macaroni and cheese suddenly appears, no one is to blame.

2231 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

5. Hard Water

Hard Water

The bright, horseshoe-shaped bar has the deepest whiskey cabinet in town (some 400 American varieties!). Pair your tumbler with soulful Creole fare and sunset views of the Bay and you've got a good night ahead of you.

Pier 3
San Francisco, CA 94111

6. Bourbon & Branch

Bourbon & Branch

There's the main bar, and then there are five more not-so-hidden bars inside, including the standing-room only library bar, a fictional Wilson & Wilson Detective Agency, JJ Russell's Cigar Shop, and a secret trapdoor that leads to the original speakeasy but is only available for large events. It's not all smoke and mirrors though — the drinks are strong, the classic cocktails are solid, and the craft ones are fun. There's a refreshing no-cellphones house rule too.

501 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. Blackbird Bar

Blackbird Bar

Drinks are a steal, and intriguing ingredients like acid phosphate and "Trix syrup" keep your eyes on the curious cocktail menu.

2124 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

8. Tradition


This revival cocktail bar in the Tenderloin features a menu that pays homage to every era of alcohol and reservation-only snugs (high-backed booths that were introduced so society ladies could imbibe in privacy without being seen).

441 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. Rickhouse


If there was ever a reason to be spirited away to a FiDi (a cutesy moniker that makes the financial district automatically more fun), it would be sharing a seemingly bottomless punch bowl at a handsome watering hole.

246 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

10. Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler's Cove

Accessorize with an eyepatch here and no one will think anything of it. High seas overload is only emphasized by bartenders pouring long drinks and mixing swizzles fit for a Caribbean island, prohibition-era Havana, and the tiki god next door.

650 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102