Top five bars in… San Francisco, US

25th November, 2019 by James Lawrence

San Francisco has something for everyone, whether it be unpretentious bars or high-class cocktail lounges, raucous dives or quiet speakeasies. SB explores the beguiling city.

San Francisco is justly proud of its reputation as a culturally rich and cosmopolitan city – you don’t have to look very hard for exciting, cutting­-edge nightlife here. Indeed, the city’s heritage of diversity and tolerance comes alive in the murals that enliven its ethnic neighbourhoods, and in the multitude of languages and cultures that peacefully co-­exist. There is no room for conservatism or bigotry in San Francisco – just ask any long-standing resident.

It comes as no surprise, then, that San Francisco’s inhabitants are passionate about socialising, and there really is something for everyone – even teetotallers – in this Californian gem, from raucous dive bars to upmarket cocktail destinations and speakeasies that insist on quiet conversation and no photography from their patrons. San Francisco offers the louche, the sophisticated, the traditional, the contemporary and everything in between.

Of course, as with all major cities, a keen sense of the geography is key. In the Mission District, lively scenes of family, community and political activism adorn the walls of banks, schools and restaurants. This is the place to rub shoulders with unpretentious imbibers at the numerous dive bars that fill the neighbourhood. The drinks are affordable, and the atmosphere is often unbeatable. However, aficionados of high­-end mixology always head to Union Square, where San Francisco’s leading cocktail bars and exciting raw talent are to be found.

The SoMa, or South of Market, neighbourhood, is bursting with nightclubs, while microbreweries and excellent restaurants appear all over the Richmond/Presidio area with wild abandon.

Writer Samuel Johnson’s musings on London can certainly be applied to the vivacious Californian city: to be tired of San Francisco is to be tired of life.

Click through the following pages to see our top bars in San Francisco, US.

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