San Francisco's nightlife is as diverse as San Francisco itself, and each district's selection of bars, clubs and lounges has its own distinct flavor. For electronic music clubs, hip-hop or chill art lounges, head to San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood, while the artsy Mission district is primed for everything from dive bar hopping to intimate dance space, an alternative to the city's larger clubs. On the flipside, the Marina District sports decidedly slicker (though no less debaucherous) bars. Gay-friendly bars and clubs exist all over the city, with the Castro, SoMa, and Polk Street areas leading the way. San Francisco's North Beach is open until the wee hours with neon strip joints and cool hideaway bars, and rowdy clubs. It's all available here with SanFrancisco.com's district-by-district guide.
85 Campton Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108
Located in the heart of San Francisco's Union Square district, Vessel represents a luxurious nightclub of signature San Francisco style. Vessel's award winning Funktion One sound system, state of the art LED lighting system, and World Class DJs and entertainment sets the tone for the most thrilling nightlife experience in San Francisco. Communal-style seating in the banquette areas provides personalized service to table and bottle service clientele.
A Bonafide Place of Hydration
2801 Leavenworth St., San Francisco CA 94133
The Parlor is a stylish new addition to the San Francisco nightlife scene. Decked out ala the early 1900s (with a rustic edge and burlesque vibes), this San Francisco lounge and nightclub treats the cads of the nightlife crowd well with a wealth of modern perks like hi-def TVs, private TVs in private booths, a sexy bar stocked with the finest rare liquors and house infusions, and lengthy bottle service menus. This nightlife haunt also features DJs and live entertainment in The Club area, as well as VIP areas like The Library and The Whiskey Room.
420 Mason St., San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.693.0777
Some of the top DJs in the world have spun at San Francisco's Ruby Skye. The club and bar is located right in the heart of downtown SF off Union Square and is a decidedly high-style lounge that can host bands, fashion shows, dance nights, private events and more. State of the art lighting puts on a show of its own with the help of a top-notch sound system. Two levels, four rooms and a handful of VIP rooms draw celebrities from Los Angeles and around the world to see what the Bay Area club scene has to offer. Several full bars pepper the historic theater come premiere nightclub and locals know Ruby Skye is the place for swank clubbing in San Francisco. Whether looking for a night of hitting the bar and dancing or catching a one-hit-wonder on his or her comeback tour, Ruby Skye has it.
Red Devil Lounge
1695 Polk (at Clay), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.921.1695
Another one of San Francisco's historic theaters converted into a hot music club, the Red Devil Lounge takes performances and patrons to another world with elegant red lanterns, gold patterns throughout and comfortable seating. Local San Francisco bands and outfits from around the world have performed at the intimate venue known for their strong drinks and friendly environment--two attributes in high demand throughout the SF club scene. Close to downtown hotels and restaurants, that run the gamut from hole-in-the-wall to five-star gourmet, the bar and club is not only convenient but, with live music that varies widely in genre, can accommodate any fan. Other bars and lounges may try to be like the dual-floored Red Devil Lounge, but few in the staggering San Francisco scene can come close.
1511 Haight (at Ashbury), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.552.6949
Cocktails with the freshest of ingredients, organic artisan Pizzettas and jazz nights at Club Deluxe are the talk of the quaint lounge's Haight-Ashbury District locale. Known for some of the best mojitos in San Francisco and a specialty Spa Collins drink—complete with fresh cucumbers—crowds donning fedoras and requisite SF vintage duds along with generic San Franciscans wander through the door nightly. An authentic art-deco façade, neon signs and pinup girls make the cozy jazz café and bar one of a kind in a bustling city full of grungy pubs and elitist night clubs. Stroll in to find comedians, jazz musicians and a handful of others on any given night of the week and enjoy a perfectly mixed cocktail over a steaming hot pizza.
1131 Polk (at Post), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.923.0923
What seemed at first to be a dicey proposition -- put a hipster bar in a neighborhood where few hipsters live -- has now proven to be gold. Since opening last October, the spacious Hemlock Tavern has become a beacon for jean-jacketed, bedheaded coolios who like to toss back a few drinks, eyeball each other's duds, and check out some great music by bands they've never heard of. Thanks to a very open-minded booking policy, the Hemlock's 55-person-capacity performance space has offered everything from the symphonic pop of the Shimmer Kids to the raucous garage tunes of the Flakes to the metal madness of Thunderbleed aka Blind Vengeance. It's a fair bet you'll find something of quality any night of the week, be it the twisted pop of the Foibles, the raunchy rock of Killer's Kiss, or the vaudevillian oddness of the semiregular "Unnatural Acts" showcase. The tavern also features some terrific -- and free -- DJ nights, including the Sunday afternoon country show hosted by DJ Blaze Orange and Monday night's "Punk Rock Sideshow" featuring Kut 'n Paste and the Duchess of Hazard. All this beautiful ruckus and gratis bags of warm peanuts, too.