San Francisco has many bars and does exceptionally well in satisfying the desires of those seeking the high of the nightlife.
However, just like the rebirth of disposable cameras and nostalgic classic songs on Tik Tok, history is taking us by storm with the sudden popularity of speakeasies.
The prohibition might be over, and patrons might not need to whisper while enjoying their spirits, but speakeasies remain a staple for those seeking fun places to get drinks.
Below is a list of the best speakeasies in San Francisco.
993 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 874-8041
The Mission District (home to the Mission Dolores Park) might be anything but a secret, but The Pawn Shop bar is an excellent example of San Francisco bars that pay homage to the prohibition.
On the outside, this iconic landmark looks like a pawn shop, including window displays and a storefront.
However, if you know where to look, the interior houses an upscale speakeasy bar’s vintage and intimate decor.
The lead server/bartender is Ramiro Ordaz.
I frequent The Pawn Shop for exquisite cocktails made with fresh ingredients, but you can also indulge in the draft beers on tap.
644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 788-8188
You haven’t experienced San Francisco if you haven’t been through Chinatown.
On Grant Avenue (between Commercial Street and Sacramento Street), the Cold Drinks Bar is at Chinatown’s heart.
The Cold Drinks Bar is everything you would expect of a speakeasy and more.
To get to the bar, you must first go through the unassuming exterior and find a secret entrance and corridor that opens to a sophisticated and upscale bar.
I love how the staff is dressed in 1920s-themed uniforms, adding to the prohibition theme of the Cold Drinks Bar.
The expert mixologist whips up delectable cocktails, but even beer enthusiasts can find something to quench their thirst.
360 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 321-6000
The North Beach neighborhood is an extremely popular tourist destination in San Francisco.
I enjoy the panoramic views of the city offered from the top of the iconic Coit Tower, and I sometimes visit Washington Square Park for a history lesson (with a view, of course).
Close to these popular destinations is a clandestine speakeasy known as Marianne’s.
Marianne’s is a laid-back upscale bar with an inviting and intimate, dimly lit, and vintage interior.
The bar is known for its handcrafted cocktails, but many drinks exist, including rotating taps of seasonal brews.
As expected of Marianne Thompson, the owner, even the culinary experience is to die for.
718 14th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: (415) 295-2965
The Last Rites bar is found in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, a vibrant location that hosts the popular Duboce Park.
If you are looking for one of the best speakeasies in San Francisco to unwind after a day of playing on the grass, then the Last Rites might be it.
Imagine being marooned in a savage, tropical rainforest; you’ve crash landed at Last Rites, a Polynesian Noir adventure, offering over 150 rums and signature twists on tropical cocktails.
The experience is an immersive destination cocktail bar drawing inspiration from vintage choose-your-adventure novels.
It features a real airplane fuselage-turned bar, seating enveloped by enormous banyan tree roots, stacked stone booths, all nestled in a dense jungle canopy and between two 9-foot tall stone fire-breathing skull idols.
It also features a selection of spirits and specialty brands perfect for exploration.
When going to the Last Rites, I love using the Duboce Park Muni Metro, which is convenient and scenic.
292 Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 829-7565
The Lower Nobb Hill neighborhood is an iconic neighborhood in San Francisco.
I find myself in Union Square more times than I can count (it is a popular shopping area for tourists and locals), and when I think of where to get a drink, fewer places come to mind other than the Linden Room.
In the Linden room, you can enjoy the secrecy of a speakeasy while sipping on some not-so-secret cocktails and curated beers while listening to relaxing jazz music.
505 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 346-1735
Located in the neighborhood of Tenderloin, San Francisco, at the junction of Jones Street and O’Farrell Street, the Wilson & Wilson Private Detective Agency is one of the best speakeasies in San Francisco.
Just a stone’s throw from Union Square and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, there are hundreds of reasons to end up at this clandestine bar.
The upscale and sophisticated atmosphere allows you to enjoy concoctions of well-balanced spirits and fresh ingredients, or you could settle for a cold beer.
501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 346-1735
A close neighbor to the Wilson & Wilson Private Detective Agency, the Bourbon Branch is also found in the Tenderloin neighborhood.
True to its speakeasy roots, the Bourbon Branch has a secret entrance marked with nothing more than the word “Library” and allows patrons to imbibe unique classy and contemporary cocktails along with an assortment of wines and a small selection of beers.
256 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone: (415) 766-4363
Another addition from the North Beach neighborhood, the Devil’s Acre, is found on Broadway and Columbus Avenue.
The Devil’s Acre has made its mark on “Little Italy” (the popular name for the neighborhood).
The City Lights Bookstore and Washington Square Park are a short distance away.
I like visiting the Devil’s Acre to experience the time capsule in the bar reminiscent of the 20th century.
Additionally, the mixologist never disappoints.
650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 869-1900
The Hayes Valley neighborhood offers much to those seeking a fun place to go out.
On Gough Street (between Fell Street and Oak Street), you can find the Smuggler’s Cove bar, the brainchild of the renowned mixologist and author Martin Cate.
The name and concept of the bar pay tribute to prohibition, and there is a hint of a bygone era in the vintage and nautical decoration of the interior.
Smuggler’s Cove has a special place in my heart thanks to its exotic collection of tiki-themed cocktails, but it is known for its vast selection of rum.