Unlike other cities across the globe, San Francisco’s city centre isn’t necessarily where it’s all happening. On the city centre’s busiest streets such as Post St, Geary St and Powell St, high street stores are more prominent than bars and clubs.
Ask most natives of San Francisco where you should go to sample the city’s nightlife and they’ll tell you to go to the Mission District. If you follow their advice, around Valencia Street and 16th Street you will discover a plethora of bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Hedonists seem to be fond of the neighbouring ‘SoMa’ district also.
There are two other areas that tend to have quite active social scenes. Haight-Ashbury, the city’s famous hippy district, is home to a number of places to hang out at night time. Most can be found on Haight St. And North Beach is popular with the city’s students, meaning there’s something going on most nights of the week.
1601 Haight Street, Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, USA
Due to a daily happy hour from 5pm-7pm where all drinks cost $2.50, Hobson’s Choice on San Francisco’s famous Haight Street is busy seven days a week. You can use that $2.50 to buy a beer or a ‘welcome drink’ (short and mixer), but instead get the drink that this bar specialises in – punch. They sure pack one.
Open daily from 2pm-2am.
1535 Folsom St, SoMa, San Francisco, USA
If dancing to cheesy music is your thing, then this club in SoMa is perfect for you. Open seven nights a week and never imposing a cover charge, the first thing to greet you after the burly doorman will be a dancefloor full of people getting down to a mix of dance and top 40 tracks. Get ready to shake your money maker...
Open Thurs-Sun 9pm-2am.
3121 16th St, Mission District, San Francisco, USA
While it certainly isn’t the biggest bar in San Francisco’s Mission District, Dalva on 16th Street between Valencia and Mission is arguably the coolest. Listen to DJs spin discs on turntables at the front window while enjoying a drink or two. Staff are friendly and the dark lights create the perfect ambience for a weekend night.
Open daily from 4pm-2am.
111 Minna Street, at Second Street, San Francisco, USA
While this club is very stylish, it doesn't take itself too seriously. The crowd is hip and relaxed and there is always a good atmosphere. It might not attract the world's biggest DJ's, but as it isn't too pretentious you can be sure you'll have a good night here. Music caters for more than just the dance music fans.
243 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, USA
Downtown San Francisco is stuffed with Irish bars, but this one on O'Farrell Street is one which gets mentioned repeatedly when asking people where to go at night. Always packed at weekends, if you pop in for a pint during the week you'll almost definitely be treated to some live music.
Open daily from 12 noon-2am.
911 Folsom St, SoMa, San Francisco, USA
The Covered Wagon Saloon has it all - is plays host to heavy metal bands, and then sometimes DJs. For those looking for something a bit more outrageous there is a backroom that is sometimes a karaoke bar and sometimes even more lavish forms of entertainment.
1539 Folsom St, SoMa, San Francisco, USA
If you step into the Folsom Street's Holy Cow and realise it’s a bit too much for you, step next door into Wish. Not so in-your-face, there is a relaxed atmosphere which mixes nicely with the décor and selection of drinks.
Open daily from 4pm-2am.
Fort Mason Center, Building D, San Francisco, USA
When you are sick of drinking and you want a more relaxed evening this theatre is home to some of the city's best plays.
668 Haight St, The Haight, San Francisco, USA
No city is complete without an Irish bar, and this one has a good atmosphere and serves a good pint. Can be found in the lower Haight area.