San Francisco

Best Bars in

San Francisco
Given its almost absurdly iconic vistas (the Golden Gate Bridge, the trams of Nob Hill…), it is easy to understand why San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the Western Hemisphere. And as could be expected, its nightlife is also something to behold.

Breezy, picturesque and alternative, San Francisco has plenty to offer in terms of nightlife. The city by the bay has it all, from the wild and adventurous to the hip and quirky.

A good place to start is over in North Beach, a buzzy coastal area with a strong Italian heritage and an electric atmosphere come sundown. Once the stomping grounds of the Beat Generation, its traditional eateries, artisanal coffee shops and retro bars now draw a happy mix of tourists and locals. Before indulging in dinner and drinks, head to the lush Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill, and enjoy the scenic ascent to the iconic Coit Tower.

Venture further inland and visit Union Square, the city’s central shopping, hotel and theater district, home to many hidden gems helmed by some of San Francisco’s most expert mixologists. From old-school haunts to swanky cocktail dens, from underground piano bars to vertiginous hotel rooftops, there’s something for every taste.

Feeling more adventurous? Continue down to the infamous Tenderloin, a notoriously shady neighborhood that’s been slowly shedding its dangerous reputation as gentrification seeped in. Its colorful streets house a number of underground art spaces, indie stores and live music venues, as well as a mix of chic, trendy and casual dining spots. From authentic dive bars to speakeasy-style cocktail joints, the nightlife is as interesting and diverse as the neighborhood.

Still not sleepy? Then either head up to the always animated Polk Street, and continue bar hopping the night away, or explore warehouse-filled SoMa, a former industrial district that’s now home to some of the best restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the city.

If you want a taste of San Fran’s colourful past and a bit of unconventional fun, try Haight-Ashbury, a charming, well-preserved Victorian sector rooted in hippie history. The cradle of the 1960s countercultural movement draws lively crowds to its quirky vintage boutiques, record stores, book shops and eclectic bars. The perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up right on the edge of Golden Gate Park.

Finish your journey in the nearby Mission District, a cheerful, historically latino district brimming with hipster charm. Here, you’ll find everything from old-school taco joints and tattoo parlors to craft cocktail bars and eclectic live music venues. Check out all the vibrant street art spread across the area, take in the skyline views at Dolores Park, and continue enjoying the fine weather in a beer garden before rubbing elbows with locals at a neighborhood dive bar.    

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