San Francisco's Mission District offers visitors an unparalleled menu of food and flavors, plus watering holes that range from down and divey to slick and stylish. The Mission also offers such local pleasures as impromptu mariachi bands, Mexican bottled Coca-Cola and burritos, vintage clothing and local arts. The Mission offers a little something extra for fans of underground indie rock, funk, soul and jazz. The Make Out Room is the neighborhood's venue of choice for an indie rock or soul dance party, or swing by the Elbo Room for DJs specializing in dubstep, cumbia, soul or reggae.
853 Valencia (at 20th St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.970.8336
This Belgium beer bar is a great Mission spot to chill with its red glow, bench seats and free pretzels. Amnesia has a neighborhood bar feel with some panache and DJs spin anything from '80s new wave to funk to house. Friday Happy Hours go off with progressive house and great beer prices.
2299 Mission (at 19th St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.285.0323
With its indelible mix of glam rockers and Betty Page turners, this retrofitted beauty parlor dispenses more than its share of tonic. And while the decorative hair-dryers now serve as chairs, there's always a manicurist on hand.
2389 Mission (at 20th St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.648.7701
An historic landmark venue in San Francisco's perennially hip Mission District, Bruno's is a unique space that keeps the attention of nightlife enthusiasts with great regular entertainment. Live music from local musicians and some of the Bay Area's best DJs take turns keeping the energy high in this massive Mission nightclub. Bruno's is also known for their full bar, skilled bartenders and delicious, better-than-pub-grub fare.
527 Valencia St., San Francisco CA 94110; Tel. 415.863.9328
Located in the heart of the retail corridor on Valencia Street, Casanova Lounge attracts a number of neighborhood regulars with its cheap well drinks and a relaxed vibe. Make sure to try the hibiscus margaritas and try not to stare at the nude velvet portraits lining the walls.
3121 16th St. (at Valencia), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.252.7740
One of San Francisco's smallest bars pumps out great music on the turntables, great drinks and a very nice, relaxing atmosphere. An old, rough wooden bar awaits you with a good selection of beers, as well as one of San Francisco's best juke boxes, with eclectic music from around the world. Smoking is a tongue in cheek taboo in Dalva's secret back room. On the weekends, Dalva's gets crowded, as it is one of about a half-dozen bars worth visiting in the 16th & Valencia vicinity.
3139 16th St. (at Albion), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.552.8558
A true Mission district neighborhood bar, many of Delirium's twenty and thirty-something patrons made a short walk to stiff, cheap cocktails and rowdy games of pool played to the juke box's ample selection of rock music.
647 Valencia (at 18th St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.552.7788
Just a couple of the things you will find at the Elbo Room: great music, pool tables, cheap drinks, an instant-photo booth. The Mission's Elbo Room is, as the aforementioned mellow attributes might suggest, unpretentious and crowded. The upstairs offers live music ranging from rockabilly to funk to salsa and it can get really hot up there when the music gets bumping and peoples feet get jumping. There is always a great time to be had at the Elbo Room.
3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.282.3325
A gender-bending outer Mission bar known for a lush outdoor courtyard and a calendar chock full of music and community events, El Rio is a mixing ground for lesbians, hipsters and those who love them both.
3223 Mission St. (between Fair and 29th), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.550.6994
This venue packs a one-two punch, with live music and DJs Tuesday through Sunday and a daily happy hour. Plus a pinball machine, bingo on Thursdays and a photo booth—not things you see just anywhere.
2526 Mission (at 21st St.), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.401.0810
DJs spin smooth, lounge grooves with an international flair. On most nights, there is a film of the DJs choice playing on the wall facing you as you enter. There are also seats available on a small second floor that is reached via a steep wrought-iron staircase at the back of the bar. This place has great presence, as well as offering some hard-to-find cocktails like a real caipirinha, made with mashed limes, raw sugar and distilled sugar can juice. It attracts some of the upper crust due to its affiliation to the Foreign Cinema next door, but Laszlo's lacks attitude and is a sweet Mission spot to get away to.
Latin American Club
3286 22nd St., San Francisco CA; Tel. 4415.647.2732
The Latin American Club in San Francisco is a hip yet laid-back Mission hangout that attracts a diverse and festive crowd. The bar serves up just about every cocktail (including their near-famous margaritas) at prices that are awesome and at a strength that may leave you searching for your dignity the next morning. Most folks who find their way to The Latin like to pull up a seat at the bar or by the window and throw back a few drinks with friends under the piñata-dappled ceiling.
3225 22nd St. (at Mission), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.647.2888
A conversation-ready Mission bar with lots of furniture. Make out in the dark or just (more likely) hang out with friends over beers. The Make-Out Room is a little out of the way which makes it more of a destination bar rather than one bar in a foggy progression of bars. Live music on the weekends is primarily indie rock, and DJs most other nights.
3316 17th Street, San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.863.3061
Maverick is nestled into one of the grittier blocks of the Mission District amongst authentic taquerias, seedy dive bars and the neighborhood's hallmark junk and thrift stores. Truth be told, it's more restaurant than wine bar, open only for dinner on weekdays with an added brunch on the weekends. The wine is carefully chosen, however, and you won't leave disappointed if you're willing to part with a little cash. Try the "Bubble Flight" to jumpstart a rowdy night on the town. Seating is limited, so arrive early (or better yet, make reservations) and be prepared for a lively crowd.
The Phone Booth
1398 South Van Ness (at 25th St), San Francisco CA; Tel 415.648.4683
Intellectual ennui and surges of testosterone mix wildly at this refurbished Mission hang out. The jukebox is full of Nirvana, Weezer and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the patrons are full of cold San Francisco Anchor Steam. Cute boys, cute girls, fluid sexuality.
3089 16th St. (at Valencia), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.621.9294
Bustling and attentive bartenders will serve you concoctions to quell any thirst. Combine that with a perfect location close to scores of other bars, restaurants and ATM machines (cash only here), and the Skylark is a perfect spot anytime. Skylark tends to get busy later, after 10pm most nights. There is a small dance area in the back, and a long bench seat that stretches the length of the right wall opposite the bar with cocktail tables and chairs to boot. It gets very crowded on the weekends, and the music is loud. If you want a place to have a soft, quiet moment, this is not the right San Francisco bar. If you want strong music and inventive drinks (the Chivas Regal cocktails taste nothing like scotch), you are in the right place.
496 14th St. (at Guerrero), San Francisco CA; Tel. 415.241.9944
Beautiful booths, great DJs, and simple, yet endearing décor make this spot a must visit for those who want to feel a little of what San Francisco nightlife is all about.
200 Capp St., San Francisco CA 94110; Tel. 415.861.8231
Uptown’s chilled-out demeanor and corner dive appeal fits well with the Mission’s diamond in the rough attitude. The jukebox will please music fans with an eclectic mix of new wave, jazz, punk, country and classic rock while locals gather around the pool tables with a beer or two.
199 Valencia (at Duboce), San Francisco CA ; Tel. 415.255.7505
On a Sunday afternoon, there is no mellower place to be in San Francisco than the courtyard at Zeitgeist. Hidden behind a somehow foreboding purple exterior on a block in the Mission, an eclectic mix of hipsters, bikers, and weekend warriors mingles among rows of picnic tables, passing around pitchers of beer, joints, and, occasionally, a damn good string-bean-garnished Bloody Mary. One of the city's best jukeboxes blasts a selection of tunes that's as mixed as the crowd (metal for the bikers, literary altcountry for the hipsters) as a bullhorn-wielding grill master bellows the names of customers who need to pick up their burgers. When the weather cooperates, it's tough to beat.