Complete with bamboo walls and other tropical-themed embellishments, the San Francisco tiki bar offers a multitude of brain-freezing, hangover-inducing drinks. You might recoil at the thought of imbibing an entire flaming volcano bowl, but the next day you'll marvel at how you somehow downed two of the massive cocktails.
Located on the lobby level of the InterContinental San Francisco, the grappa bar has more than 120 selections of the specially distilled brandy, plus grappa-based cocktails and other wines, beers, and spirits.
Housed in a renovated brick warehouse in the heart of SOMA, the club hosts a regular mix of live shows, dancing, and other events, from gay dance parties to line dancing.
Characterized by its checkerboard Formica floor, sparkly walls, and hot pink facade, this vintage-style (the bar actually opened in 1998) Mission District salon has all the accouterments of an actual beauty bar, including rubber-stooled dryer chairs (the ones with those space-helmets designed to incubate your new perm) and, if youre lucky, a cute hipster manicurist to paint your nails. Not to mention the drinks are reasonably priced, especially for San Francisco. Beauty Bar gets packed on the weekends (and some weekdays) when rotating DJs come to spin hip-hop, funk, pop, and classics.
The south of Mission dive bar attracts a rock 'n' roll-type crowd with semi-regular live punk shows and other debauchery-inspiring events.
Located at the crest of North Beach, this old-timey nightclub is decked out with plush scarlet interiors, disco balls, and a curved stage. The old-school Art Deco decor recalls an era when San Francisco venues booked cabaret shows and bebop bands while the clientele dangled cigarette holders and sipped now-obsolete bourbon drinks; Bimbo's now showcases big-shot rock, pop, funk, R&B, and soul acts in a setting that feels intimate and private.
The San Francisco sports bar is decked out with tons of hanging televisions, making it a lively gathering space to drink beers and watch the game.
Blondie's recently added a second bar to its backroom smoking lounge, which is open on the weekends. But the martinis are the main attraction, with specialties like the Dagwood boasting a "smorgasbord olive feast" along with smoked salmon, spicy sausage, and bleu cheese (what's the food-to-liquor ratio on that savory concoction?).
Founded in 1997 by blues legend John Lee Hooker, the Boom Boom Room was once a sultry, steamy place for locals to get down to some of the country's best blues acts. Today, the club still hosts a range of blues, boogie, and soul bands, but its got a little less roots and little more funk and jam-band, which tends to attract a slightly younger, lighter crowd. But with its red walls, photos of famous musicians, candles on the tables, and checkerboard floor, the Boom Boom Room is still a groovy place for the blues.
For years, this Potrero Hill spot has reigned as the rock club in San Francisco. Though sometimes criticized by out-of-town bands for its complacent, arm-crossed audience, and by locals for favoritism, it still books some of the best shows and has a sound quality to match. Fans of noise-rock, post-rock, punk-pop, and everything in between cram the beer-sticky checkerboard floor all the way to the pool table and spill out onto the back patio for standing-room-only smoking and some serious tattoo watching. Don't expect fancy drinks or cheesy promotions here; this place is known for its anti-snob snobbery. But we're not complaining.
Folsom Street may not be the most picturesque destination in San Francisco, but that doesnt stop musically inclined and hip thirtysomethings from hanging out at this popular cafe. Known for its unique combination as a cafe and Laundromat, Brainwash also features predominantly acoustic solo acts seven nights a week, as well as a Thursday comedy night. During the day, Brainwash attracts suit-and-tie types to informal business lunches over burgers and delicious french fries. At night, its a haven for young aspiring songwriters.
The Mission Street music venue hosts a wide variety of genre-spanning weekly shows.
Bruno's offers live music Tuesday and Thursday, featuring Jazz Mafia Tuesdays, Batanga Live! Thursdays, and DJs on other nights. Full-service Italian restaurant open until 10 p.m.