If you’re seeking an authentic and unfiltered experience, look no further than the city’s dive bars.
Step into a world where the atmosphere is alive with energy, the drinks flow freely, and the stories exchanged are as diverse as the patrons themselves.
In this article, we will dive deep into the heart of San Francisco’s nightlife scene to uncover the hidden gems, the legendary haunts, and the best dive bars that offer a one-of-a-kind experience.
199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 255-7505
Zeitgeist is a charming beer garden in the Hayes Valley neighborhood at the corner of Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue.
This funky dive bar has interesting energy and 64 taps of craft beer, but I adore their Bloody Marys and margaritas too!
It’s a casual spot, perfect for hanging with friends or going on a fun date. You can sit outside and enjoy the tasty beers.
12 William Saroyan Place, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 421-4112
This is one of the most fun places to get drinks in the Telegraph Hill area and is just off Jackson Street, so it’s easy to find!
The bar has an eccentric and funky vibe with many vintage art and cool pieces.
As the name implies, it’s like a museum with all the wild art, from small paintings to fascinating masks to awe-inspiring sculptures, all in a fun dive bar!
They have great IPAs and delicious cocktails to enjoy while you look at the art.
3639 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116
Phone: (415) 681-8433
The Riptide is near Ocean Beach, and you can find it by walking along Ocean Beach Path until you hit Taraval Street, so it’s great for tourists exploring the area.
The bar has a rustic and moody vibe with a stunning fireplace that makes it a bit romantic.
They have a variety of draft beers and cocktails to choose from.
It’s one of the most fun places to go out if you want the vibe of a dive bar in an elevated atmosphere.
916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 982-0072
The Li Po Cocktail Lounge is in the heart of Chinatown, off Jackson Street, and not far from the Transamerica Pyramid and Cable Car Museum.
The interior has an eccentric Chinese vibe with artistic lanterns, lots of red, and dim lighting.
It’s a dive bar, but it’s one of my favorites if you want a good time.
They have decent beer options, but you can’t go here without trying one of their delicious Chinese-inspired cocktails.
1723 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: (415) 776-4162
Easily one of my top bars in San Francisco, The Cinch Saloon is an LGBTQ+ bar in the Polk Gulch neighborhood off Washington Street and Clay Street.
They have a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, so everyone is welcome!
They have delicious cocktails and a fun, energetic vibe, as they host many events and exciting promotions you don’t want to miss out on.
While I usually order beer here, I also recommend their house margarita!
582 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: (415) 558-8019
Molotov’s is in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood a few blocks from Alamo Square and the famous row houses called the Painted Ladies.
They have a classic and cozy dive bar vibe with many stickers on the walls and moody lighting.
I love going here because the staff is so friendly and personable.
Enjoy a cocktail in their small outdoor dining area, or relax with a draft beer at the bar.
547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: (415) 863-2276
Tornado is a fabulous bar in the Hayes Valley neighborhood.
It’s near the Painted Ladies and the Nightingale House off Steiner Street and Filmore Street.
This dive bar has a no-muss-no-fuss vibe, with simple dive bar decor and a laid-back atmosphere.
If you want to know where to get a drink, specifically an ice-cold draft beer, Tornado is the place.
They have so many taps to choose from!
510 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 926-8118
First of all, I’m obsessed with the name of this bar!
But I’m also obsessed with the bar, as it has a moody, neon vibe that always puts me in a fun mood.
It’s in the Tenderloin neighborhood near the Orpheum Theatre and Asian Art Museum off Polk Street.
They have so much to offer, including billiards, shuffleboard, a smoking patio, and more, and they’re open every day of the year!
Any cocktail you want, they can make it, but they also have stellar beers on tap.
3223 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Knockout is a short walk from Bernal Heights Park next to Coleridge Street and Peters Avenue.
They have a distinct art deco-esque exterior that’s hard to miss!
They have top-notch music, live performances, and superb happy hours.
It’s one of my favorite places to go out when I want to do a few shots with some super fun people and just let loose and dance.
Check out all the different events they offer because there is something for everyone.
6150 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: (415) 221-0773
Trader Sam’s is a big bar on the corner of Geary Boulevard and 25th Avenue in the Richmond area of San Francisco.
It’s a spacious spot, so I like to bring large groups here, like when I go out with my lovely coworkers.
They have some scrumptious tropical-inspired cocktails that I always get because they’re strong but yummy.
Their menu features many unique Polynesian refreshing and irresistible drinks, so go here when you want a laidback vibe and fruity beverage.
1633 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: (415) 861-2545
Zam Zam is in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood on the corner of Haight Street and Belvedere Street.
It has an interesting vibe, with mood lighting, dramatic art scapes on the wall, and a speakeasy-type entrance.
I love going here late at night for one last cocktail before I head home because they have some wonderful options perfect for ending your night on a yummy note.
And the staff is supremely friendly and upbeat.
1398 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 648-4683
Phone Booth is a cool dive bar in the Mission District between S Van Ness Avenue and 25th Street, a few blocks from Garfield Square Park.
They have a warm and cozy vibe with some eccentric and vintage pieces that give it a homey atmosphere.
They have great but affordable drinks, so it offers all the quintessential elements of a dive bar, including a pool table!
It’s also one of my favorite places to dance and enjoy spectacular DJs.
28 Pier, San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 977-0170
Hi, Dive Bar is right on the water between Pier 26 and Pier 30.
So, it may be a dive bar, but it has some sensational views of the water you can enjoy.
The dark exterior and neon cocktail signs scream dive bar, but it’s one of the more elevated spots on my list.
They serve some amazing food, which is rare at a dive bar, but also have spectacular beer and wine options, so it’s a great spot if you want a nice lunch or dinner.
1401 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 826-4988
Clooney’s Pub is on the corner of Valencia Street and 25th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco.
It’s a spacious bar with dim lighting and minimal decor, so your typical dive bar!
They have food pop-ups every so often, so you can enjoy one of their many draft beers and a snack!
The best thing about this bar is the people, from the guests to the staff; everyone has a brilliant sense of humor and wants to have a good time together.
527 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 863-9328
Casanova Lounge is in the north part of the Mission District, a few blocks from the Mission Dolores Basilica.
The vibe is whimsical and cheeky, with funky art on the walls and personable staff who are laid back but friendly.
Their cocktails are fabulous, and I specifically recommend their house margarita, which is the perfect balance of sweet and salty!
The bar has a very local vibe, so make it one of your regular spots if you live in the area, or vibe with the locals here if you’re a tourist!
San Francisco boasts a vibrant and diverse selection of dive bars that cater to those seeking an authentic and unpretentious nightlife experience.
From the laid-back ambiance to the affordable drinks, these establishments have carved a niche for themselves among locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re in search of a hidden gem tucked away in the city’s colorful neighborhoods or a classic dive bar that has stood the test of time, San Francisco has it all.
So, if you’re ready to embark on a memorable night out, grab your friends and head to one of these top dive bars.
Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, strike up conversations with friendly locals, and indulge in the unique character that each bar has to offer.
Get ready for a truly unforgettable adventure through the best dive bars San Francisco has to offer!