The Best Bars in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the top drinking cities in the United States, and it can be hard to decide among so many incredible options when you’re only in town for a few days. So where should you start? Make your way through this list of the best bars in San Francisco.

Best Bar for After-Work Drinks

In town on business? Need a martini after eight hours of meetings? Known for its ever-changing themed menu and fantastic cocktails, Trick Dog is the place to go. This spacious bar can accommodate large groups, but it gets crowded in the bar area after 6 p.m., so arrive early.

Best Bar for Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties 

Your best friend is getting married, and you’re in town to arrange a special night before the big day. Why not start the evening off right with some tropical vibes at Smuggler’s Cove tiki bar? This three-floor pirate haven can accommodate crowds and is a great place to transport yourselves to an island paradise. Split a volcano bowl with your friends, and you’ll be sure to get off to a good start. This tiki spot even made the world’s 50 best bars list from Drinks International in 2015.

Best Bar for Beer Lovers  

If you love beer, you have to check out the Monk’s Kettle. With 150 bottles and 28 casks, this classic spot in the Mission has something for everyone. Not a beer lover or can’t decide what to order? This is still a great place to go, as the friendly staff can help you find something you’ll appreciate.

Best Bar for Sing-Alongs

Called one of the friendliest places to drink in the Bay Area, Oakland’s The Alley is the perfect place to belt out some tunes or listen to the locals share a song or two. The walls feature over 40,000 business cards from visitors who hail from around the world. This bar accepts cash only, so don’t forget to hit the ATM first.

Best Bar for History Buffs 

If you want to know what the Prohibition Era was like or if you like pretending you’re in a spy movie, check out the slick speakeasy at Bourbon & Branch. This spot contains five bars, and each one has different instructions for accessing it. Just make sure you keep all of the passwords straight and pay attention to the house rules. Otherwise you could find yourself back out on the street.

Wherever you end up enjoying libations, make sure to book a San Francisco hotel that’s within walking distance so you can get back to your room safely when the evening is over. Of course, San Francisco also has plenty of public transit and ride-hailing options available, so if your goal is to venture a bit further out, nothing will stand in your way. In fact, truly adventurous travelers might even aim to try every bar on this list. Whatever happens is sure to make for one amazing story when you get home.