San Francisco

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San Francisco is more of a bar town than a disco town. Head to Nob Hill, the Mission, and the Tenderloin for dives and kitschy, themed establishments; to the Financial district for classy, happy hour venues. Much like everything else in the city, the nightlife scene starts and ends early: You’ll find residents crowding the bars as soon as work lets out (as early as 5pm), and staggering home around 2am once last call has put a damper on their evenings.

San Francisco Nightlife

1300 on Fillmore

1300 on Fillmore, opened in 2007, delivers vocal jazz and hush puppies on Sundays to a crowd diverse in both age and race. Settle in for the show with a meal from English chef David Lawrence, who lets his Jamaican roots and French culinary training inspire the menu.

1300 Fillmore, CA, 415-771-7100,
Tags: nightlife | live entertainment | jazz

Epic Roasthouse

Epic Roasthouse attracts an after-work crowd to its upstairs terrace for generous wine pours at happy hour. Dinner is equally hearty, with menu options like 28-day dry-aged steaks, Peking duck, and truffle-whipped potatoes.

369 The Embarcadero, CA, 415-369-0115,
Tags: nightlife | happy hour


Gitane, a sexy lounge that opened in late 2008, calls attention to its bohemian namesake (gitane is French for gypsy) with an eclectic combination of vintage and modern artwork, grand chandeliers, and candy-hued walls. Top tipples include several types of sherry and specialty cocktails like the Autumn Flip, a sweet and savory concoction of apple brandy, bitters, cinnamon cordial, salted maple syrup, and a whole egg.

6 Claude Lane, CA, 415-788-6686,
Tags: nightlife | lounge | cocktails


This Mexican cantina and lounge is super hip. Come early for incredible small plates (and to miss the lines outside), then slink downstairs where sexy singles congregate.

501 Broadway, CA, 415-982-5299,
Tags: nightlife | trendy | lounge | bar


This 7,000 square-foot warehouse with state-of-the-art lighting and sound features dancing and live performances. There are three bars, including a 30' all steel main bar and a frozen vodka bar. Open til 4am.

119 Utah St., CA, 415-762-0151,
Tags: nightlife | dancing | open late

Press Club

Since 2008, Press Club has been bringing wine country to the city: Within one striking space, six local wineries offer tastings for as little as $2 a pour. The small plate menu – tiny bites of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and other antipasti are all on offer – pair well with the three-wine flights, which the staff select and rotate out monthly.

20 Yerba Buena Lane, CA, 415-744-5000,
Tags: nightlife | wine


Between Union Square and the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood sits Rye, progenitor of the city’s fresh-ingredient cocktail movement. Come here to taste owners and expert mixologists Jon Gasparini’s and Greg Lindgren’s specialty potables while mingling with the urbane crowd.

688 Geary St., CA, 415-474-4448,
Tags: nightlife | cocktails

Teatro ZinZanni

Since 2000, a wild night of European cabaret and cirque has awaited visitors to this tent. A five-course dinner is served as performers, divas, and madmen entertain you with an ever-changing show. Book at least two weeks in advance.

Pier 29, CA, 415-438-2668,
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | dining | open late | bar | cabaret

The Ambassador

The current, swanky hotspot for locals and out-of-town A-listers has exposed brick, lots of black, and rotary phones in the booths to connect you to others in the bar, including the bartender.

673 Geary St., CA, 415-563-8192,
Tags: nightlife | smart splurge | dancing | local favorite | open late | bar

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