Rooftop terraces and uber bars have long been a San Francisco staple but the stirrers and shakers of San Francisco's cocktail scene are the real stars after dark.
The only game in town. ABV on 16th Street has not only garnered two Spirited Awards for their elegant drinks, the cosy atmosphere is complemented by an equally evocative torch-decor. Try their signature Casino Perfecto (Perfecto (blanco tequila, cappelletti aperitif wine and amontillado sherry) with a side-plate of canapés.
Some bars off Union Square allow you standing room only but there are several where a reservation will confirm you one of the best tables in town. Local Edition offers a vast selection of cocktails and plenty of atmosphere. Across on Kearny Street, Rickhouse woos in the crowds with their sublime concoctions and Scotch whisky.
Best craic in town
Irish Pubs are synonymous with America's after-dark scene, especially in San Francisco where sports and brew go hand-in-hand. Go to Johnny Foley's Irish House on O'Farrell for live music, whisky and beer as well as The Irish Bank on Mark Lane.
For industrial cool
Industrial cool is now the new oasis of calm. Legions of white-collar workers will extol the joys of drinking rare tap beer at Mikkeller Bar on Mason, while the Bourbon and Branch draws in discreet patrons looking for 'curated' cocktails and dry martinis.
Eden Lounge in North Beach imparts an old-world feel while the Hidden Vine simply leaves you sated but a poorer; with the minimum spend a $100. Hideout at Dalva in The Mission district is another that handcrafts its ravishing cocktails. Other gems across town include The Ipswitch, Tivoli Sour Room and Wilson & Wilson, which is set in a fictional detective agency!
The conversation is always at a pleasant hum at the landmark bars. Enjoy the sweeping views at Top of the Mark, The Starlight Room and Jones, which fans out onto a rooftop terrace. And taking inventiveness and panoramas to another level is the iconic Redwood Bar in the Tenderloin.
For Happy Hour
Travellers visiting the waterfront district can enjoy the best pisco sours at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana for $6.00 while on Columbus the upscale Comstock Saloon mixes Derby cocktails for the same price. For just $1.00, you can join the frolicking fun and steady flow of beer at the Lightning Tavern in Cow Hollow.