The 9 Best Cocktail Bars in San Francisco

Whether you prefer the grit of a neighborhood dive, a little tiki bar kitsch, or the ambiance of a sophisticated penthouse lounge, grabbing a drink in San Francisco is always a full-flavored adventure. Our barkeeps are artists, creating masterpieces using seasonal ingredients, local distillates, and that uniquely San Francisco spirit of innovation. Below is our list of the best cocktail bars in San Francisco to start you off on your quest for a new favorite libation.

Close up of a bright red cocktail in a martini glass sitting atop a wooden bar
San Francisco is full of excellent cocktail bars. Keep reading for our favorites. Photo credit: throgers

Pacific Cocktail Haven

Kevin Diedrich’s Pacific Cocktail Haven is a neighborhood establishment known for friendly staff and unusual drink combinations. The neon sign at their location in San Francisco’s iconic Union Square beckons you in for a seat and a sip after a long day in the elements.

Try an Oh Snap!, one of PCH’s uncommon cocktails made with sugar snap peas, gin, and absinthe. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Moongate Lounge

Perched above Michelin-starred restaurant Mister Jiu’s, the Moongate Lounge serves seasonal cocktails inspired by the Chinese lunar calendar. Try one of their sublime concoctions, like Rain Water or Start of Spring, in a dark retro lounge lined with red velvet booths.

Their creative refreshments include six house and six seasonal cocktails in addition to organic wines by the glass and exquisite snacks. You’ll likely need a reservation for this spot, which can be made up to 14 days in advance.

Smuggler’s Cove

If rum-drinking swashbucklers are your thing, then there is no place better than Smuggler’s Cove. This nautical-themed tiki bar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley boasts the largest rum selection in the United States!

Established in 2009, it has amassed a treasure chest of awards, including being one of Drinks International World’s 50 Best Bars six times. Nothing is batched, and many of the ingredients they use are house-made and combined with exclusive rums only available at the Cove.

With over 80 recipes to choose from, ranging from historic to contemporary, you’ll be hard pressed to earn the moniker “Voyager of the Cove” by drinking your way through the entire menu!

Interior of Smuggler's Cove tiki cocktail bar in San Francisco. Dark wood paneling surrounds the space with shelves full of liquor bottles behind the bar.
Escape to Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco for expertly crafted tiki cocktails. Photo credit: jennifer yin

Trick Dog Bar

Award-winning Trick Dog Bar in SF’s Mission District offers unique hand-crafted cocktails and great food. Their over-the-top themed menus are works of art and change every six months. The Trick Dog Hamburger served on a hot dog bun, is one of the city’s best. If you’re looking to take the party elsewhere, you can order food and adult-friendly beverages to go from the Quik Dog pick-up and delivery option.

Picture of the marble bar at Trick Dog Bar in San Francisco, with a glass full of blue straws decorated with airplanes and shelves of liquor bottles behind the bar
Trick Dog Bar has become known for their innovative rotating menus, including the 2018 “Business Class” cocktails made with their private barrels of exclusive spirits. Photo credit: Lou Stejskal

El Techo

Also in the Mission District, El Techo serves cocktails and Latin American street food in their rooftop cantina. Set above its sister restaurant Lolinda, the roof is open seven days a week, rain or shine, with happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Beautiful views and excellent drinks aren’t the only attraction. El Techo was named among the 100 best brunch restaurants in America by OpenTable. Get here early, because except for brunch, they don’t take reservations.


With top-notch cocktails and amazing food, ABV is another Mission District favorite. The drink menu at this award-winning hangout is organized by spirit, making it easy to zero in on your new favorites, like a Dunmore Cobbler with scotch, pineapple, and lemon bitters.

Need a late-night snack? The kitchen is open until midnight. Super friendly bartenders and a fresh charcuterie, what more can you ask for?

Interior shot from behind the bar of ABV, a cocktail bar in San Francisco. Restored mirror panels decorate the walls, reflecting the shelves of the bar and the menu on the wall
The history of the Mission District permeates even the decor of its cocktail bars, like ABV. Photo credit: CTG/SF

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

No survey of San Francisco nightlife is complete without a visit to Nob Hill’s historic Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, the self-proclaimed best cocktail bar in San Francisco. Established in 1945, the Tonga Room is located in the world-famous Fairmont Hotel, where a Hollywood set designer turned the hotel’s former indoor swimming pool into a tropical paradise, with the thunder and lightning of periodic rain storms.

Enjoy the sounds of the Island Groove Band as they play from a boat floating in the lagoon while you feast on Polynesian fusion cuisine and sip potent concoctions, like the 1944 Mai Tai and 1934 Zombie. Yes, they come with umbrellas.

Did you bring your kids on vacation with you? No problem! All ages are welcome until 10 p.m. when it becomes 21 and over.

Interior shot of the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar in San Francisco. It is dimly lit with lanters and tiki statues around
The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is the self-proclaimed best cocktail bar in San Francisco. Photo credit: H. C.

Top of the Mark

Top of the Mark is classic San Francisco! Since 1939, its 360-degree views of San Francisco and the Bay have delighted locals and visitors. The Mark’s glass-walled cocktail lounge was originally the 19th-floor penthouse suite of the Mark Hopkins Hotel.

The “Squadron Shot” is an 80-year tradition, available to veterans and military personnel with a valid ID. Stop by for a martini and bite to eat and watch the sunset over San Francisco.

Colorful cocktails with orange garnishes on a black table
With 100 margarita options at Top of the Mark, you can certainly sit and sip for hours while taking in the view. Photo credit: Supermac1961

The Sage and Drifter

A relative newcomer in town, The Sage & Drifter (1368 Irving St) has wandered into San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district and appears to be here to stay. Named after the Johnny Cash song “I’m a Drifter”, and referencing the sage of Taoist ritual, Sage & Drifter has amassed a devoted local following who love the relaxed atmosphere, great food, and exceptional drinks.

To keep the neighborhood bar vibe, they offer $3 beer alongside excellent food and high-quality cocktails, like the pisco and beet-juice-based Weary Drifter.