Nightlife

Bay Bridge San Francisco nighttime
Photo cred: Daniel Parks

Nightlife

SF nightlife tends to be casual and closes by 2am. Each neighborhood offers its own vibe, attracting different crowds. From trivia nights hosted in bars all over the city to underground art demonstrations, SF provides plenty of reasons to never sleep.

Popular Nightlife Areas

  • The Marina: Well-dressed young working professionals and recent college grads keep the Marina trendy.
  • The Mission: Just as diverse by night as by day, the Mission delivers with dive bars, reggaeton beats, hip eats, art walks, and late night burritos.
  • Polk Street/Nob Hill: A diverse assortment of bars and for any games and all players.
  • North Beach: Rowdy bars and a pocket of strip clubs.
  • SoMa: Both Industrial and swanky, there’s no better option in SF for nightclubs and lounges.
  • Castro: Mostly high-energy gay bars, but friendly to all.
  • Lower Haight: Laid back cozy bars with no shortage of bohemians.

Live Music Venues

  • From intimate performances to big-name shows, stay up-to-date at www.sfstation.com/music
  • The Chapel: With its 40-foot high arched ceilings, the Chapel praises as one of the city’s most beautiful music venues and best examples of repurposed architecture, as the building used to be a mortuary. In addition to its music room—hosting concerts, storytelling events, and free movie screenings—the Chapel also comprises a restaurant (The Vestry), cocktail bar, and an outdoor dining patio.
  • The Independent: One of the city’s finest venues with a focus on indie and up-and-coming acts. You can’t go wrong seeing a show here.
  • Yoshi’s SF: A well-known jazz bar and venue in the heart of SF’s jazz scene, the Fillmore neighborhood.
  • The Warfield
  • Amnesia: Small Mission bar with intimate music shows, including free bluegrass on Mondays and gypsy jazz on Wednesdays.
  • The Rickshaw Stop: Intimate venue that hosts up and coming artists and always ends the night with a sweaty dance party. Head there on Thursdays for the weekly Popscene club night (sometimes 18+).
  • Elbo Room: Live music upstairs 7 days a week.
  • Boom Boom Room: A primarily blues club, but check the schedule to see all upcoming shows.
  • Just outside the city: Oakland’s Fox Theater and Berkeley’s Greek Theater host a ton of big names.
  • El Rio: Host a number of events and small music shows. Check calendar here.

Weekly Nightlife Events

Mondays

  • Mo Town Mondays at Madrone Art Bar in the Lower Haight. Always a good time if you get in before the crowds—excellent cocktails and a local vibe. 6pm-2am. $3 after 9pm.
  • Free bluegrass show at Amnesia in the Mission. 9pm-midnight.
  • Chill live music at the Mission’s Revolution Café. After 8pm.
  • Rosamunde Sausauge (Mission location) Trivia Night. 8-10pm.
  • El Rio $1 PBR, $2 Wells & Radical Vinyl DJ Party. 8pm-2am.

Tuesdays

  • “Brass Magic” free big band concert at Madrone Art Bar. 10pm-2am.

Wednesdays

  • Concert at Milk Bar in Haight-Ashbury. 8:30pm (free if you RSVP on Eventbrite, otherwise $5 at door.)
  • Free Gypsy Jazz show at Amenesia in the Mission. 8pm-midnight. Think jazz music with Eastern European vibes and wind instruments, tends to draw a Lindy Hop crew.

Fridays

  • El Rio: Free Oysters on the half Shell @ 5:30

Saturdays

  • BootieSF at DNA Lounge in SoMa. A super fun/high energy dance party with a big mash up of music. (Tickets: $15 advance, $10 before 10pm, $20 after 10pm)
  • El SuperRitmo at Make-Out Room: Super fun Latino dance party—cumbia, reggeaton, salsa. $5 at the door before 11pm $10 after 11pm. Just across the street from the Make-Out Room you’ll find the best margarita in town at the Latin America Club, it’s pint-sized and potent!

Museums by Evening

Enjoy cheaper ticket prices and unique exhibits after hours.

  • Nightlife at Cal Academy of Sciences: Every Thursday $12, 6-10pm. 21+
  • After Dark at the Exploratorium: First Thursdays of the month $15, 6-10pm. 21+

Top 10 Bars

  1. Tonga Room (Nob Hill: 950 Mason St.): In the basement of the Fairmont Hotel, the Tonga Room is an amazing tiki bar (complete with a pool and a band playing on a boat) that will instantly whisk you away from foggy SF. Order the scorpion bowl to share with friends or the Pineapple Royale (in a real pineapple). Happy Hour makes the cocktails more affordable: Wednesday-Friday from 5-7:00pm
  2. The Buckshot: A favorite of local college students, this place always has a lively crowd in addition to numerous bar games like shuffleboard, darts and skeeball.
  3. The Riptide: An awesome neighborhood bar with nightly events and live music some nights. Order the Bloody Mary (made with a splash of Guinness)!
  4. El Rio: Grungy bar on the edge of Bernal Heights. Fun day time and night time. Every night of the week they have different events and drink specials.
  5. Buena Vista Café: Old School iconic bar and restaurant known for their famous Irish Coffees.
  6. Bourbon & Branch: Speakeasy, password is “books”
  7. 15 Romolo: An old-school speakeasy in the middle of all the Kerouac history, hidden in an alley between two strip clubs
  8. Southern Pacific
  9. The Ramp: Happy Hour hang-out spot in the Dogpatch with a super chill outdoor patio. As its name implies, the Ramp is right next to the water—you can watch the cargo ships rolling in with a cold one in hand.
  10. Zeitgeist: