When it comes to bars - I have a few stables and a few loves. Here's the thing about SF though - I'm constantly discovering new pockets of places I have yet to explore. So, ask me in a month and who knows, maybe this list will be entirely different.
Currently, some of my favorites are:
1) Laszlos in the Mission -- Foreign Cinema Bar
Head here if you want strong drinks at a good price.
Plus, they have movies playing in the background!
I recommend heading upstairs - you will almost always find a booth to sit and catch-up in.
I'm personally guilty of getting here right after work - around 5-7pm (before it's too crowded) and curling up with a good book or my laptop. (They have free wi-fi! Just ask them for the password :))
2) El Techo in the Mission -- Rooftop Bar
- I know, I know. SF is far too cold to head to a rooftop bar. But, trust me, you get amazing views of the city.
- The drinks are probably slightly over priced, but let's be real, where in SF are they not?
- You will have to stand & the service isn't the best.
- But, again, gorgeous views of the city.. I'd include a picture, but I swear pictures wouldn't do it justice!
3) Palominos in Embarcadero -- Indoor/Outdoor Restaurant
- Okay fine, this is probably not necessarily a bar.. but they have 24hour happy hour, so how can you not love it?
- Sit outside (don't worry, there are heaters) and catch some amazing views of the Bay Bridge. Fun fact - pay attention to the lights on the Bay Bridge - they change pattern!
- I personally recommend Wine over the Cocktails. While the cocktails taste delicious, I find them pretty diluted and I personally don't want to pay all that money for a drink that doesn't even have alcohol.
- Also, note that the service can be slow - so I'd definitely recommend ordering your drinks directly at the bar.
- Other fun facts: the staff is always friendly, they don't always card pre-21 (not that I ever drank before 21 or anything), & their potato gorganzola is delicious. It's basically waffle fries with a gorgonzala white sauce.
4) Charmaine's in Civic Center -- Indoor/Outdoor Rooftop Bar
- Charmaine's is another rooftop favorite.
- Unlike El Techo, they have indoor seating with glass doors that give you amazing skyline views, all while staying warm. Alternatively, they have outdoor seating with fire pits!
- One thing to note - the entrance IS NOT on Market Street. Yelp/Google are lying to you! To get there - walk to the back (7th and McAllister). You'll see a line and bouncers ready to check your I.D and let you in.
5) 620 Jones in TenderNob -- Outdoor Bar
- An outdoor bar with chill vibes. This bar technically claims to be a rooftop bar, but in all honesty, it's just an outdoor bar. But, don't be deterred! You still get amazing views, surrounded by skyline buildings.
- The only downside - it's CASH ONLY
6) The View in SoMa / FiDi -- Indoor Rooftop Bar
- In full disclosure, this bar is definitely over-priced
- But, it's an indoor bar, with AMAZING views of SF.
7) Local Edition in FiDi -- Speakeasy / Lounge
- This bar reminds me of the perfect cross between a speakeasy & cocktail lounge.
- It's a bit hard to locate, but look for the notable clock in the window
- The drinks are definitely over-priced and it's never easy to find a seat.
- Im not entirely sure why I still love this bar, but there's something about that underground, 20s feel, that always draws me in.