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Bars & Clubs

  • Readers Poll Winners

    Best Bartender Chupa Best Beer Selection Toronado Best Dive Bar Zeitgeist Best Gay Friendly Bar/Club El Rio Best Happy Hour Elbo Room Best Karaoke Kor Best Live Music Venue The Independent Best Cocktail Bar Smuggler’s Cove Best Margarita Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant Best Martini Martuni’s Best New Bar Trick Dog Best New Club Monarch Best Pub Crawl Polk Street Best Rooftop 620 Jones Best Singles Bar Amelie Wine Bar Best Sports Bar Hi Tops Best Strip Club Gold Club Best Wine Bar Noeteca… More >>
  • Best Consent-Based Nightclub Petting Zoo

    Frolic at the Stud

    Bathed in black light and filled with colorful and glowing objects, DJ Neonbunny's monthly club Frolic is a mix of people (mostly but not wholly gay/boys) in full fursuits, others of assorted genders and persuasions in partial animal costumes, and plenty of non-costumed folks who are there to dance and rub and nuzzle with the fursuits — or do nothing… More >>
  • Best Noisemaker

    Mighty

    Mighty has always had it better than most clubs. Situated on the edge of Potrero Hill and SOMA, its remote but accessible location allows it to crank the volume without pissing off the neighbors. And, for a long time that was enough; its excellent '70s-issue RLA sound system belted out the jams but was notorious for inducing ear fatigue. Not… More >>
  • Best Sunday Party Guaranteed to Ruin Your Monday

    Honey Soundsystem at Holy Cow

    Walk by the Holy Cow Monday through Saturday, and you'll probably get the impression that it's just another Folsom Street Top 40 pick-up club. Not so on Sundays, when forward-thinking queer DJ collective Honey Soundsystem transforms the space for its weekly residency. Lavish decorations and a top-notch cast of international guest DJs (recent players have included the likes of Silent… More >>
  • Best Place to Dance if You Take a Wi-Fi Enabled Bus to Work

    Bootie at DNA Lounge

    Camp and high spectacle are the orders of the day when it comes to Bootie, the long-running Saturday night extravaganza at DNA Lounge. Though its themes change weekly, at its heart it's centered around a soundtrack exclusively comprised of mashups — those genre-bending tracks created by fusing different songs together. In other words, it's a night full of soaring pop… More >>
  • Best Place to be in the Middle of the Week

    Housepitality at F8

    Screw the weekend, here come the weeknight warriors. Their day is Wednesday, and while the rest of the city winds down, they're getting ready for another late night of dancing at Housepitality. For over two years now, the weekly house-centric party at F8 has offered a world-class experience with a killer cast of resident DJs regularly joined by some of… More >>
  • Best Club Approximation of a Three-Ring Circus

    Ruby Skye

    Derided by some, but loved by many — Ruby Skye is without question the most circus-like club in San Francisco. Every weekend, the baroquely appointed venue in Union Square treats revelers to a sensory barrage complete with scantily clad go-go dancers, state-of-the-art lights, and huge blasts of CO2. The music is intense too, with regular appearances by some of mainstream… More >>
  • Hardest Working DJ in San Francisco

    DJ Primo

    Paris Hilton, Elijah Wood, Thom Yorke, maybe even your 70-year-old grandmother — everyone is trying to be a DJ these days. But while the desire is there, many lack that all-consuming passion for music that lies in the heart of the craft. Not so with local selector DJ Primo, who, since time immemorial, has been a prolific force in turning… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Circus Performer

    Supperclub

    Someone at Supperclub took the business adage "pay people well, or treat them well," to heart. This place is really nice to its performers. So nice, in fact, that the performers are allowed to invite their friends to watch the show for free. And who do aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and dancers hang out with? Other fabulous circus peeps, of course.… More >>
  • Best Bar for the Designated Driver

    Kennedy's Irish Pub & Indian Curry House Restaurant

    Bars can be a real drag for nondrinkers. To the sober, they're crowded, smelly and full of loud, overbearing people. But it's not like that at Kennedy's. This Irish Pub/Indian Curry House in North Beach has plenty of space, clean decor and genuinely good food. There is a back patio, pool table, video games and a full menu of Indian… More >>
  • Best Groutfiti

    The Phoenix

    In the days before Angry Birds, bored and intellectually curious people sitting on public commodes used to engage in the art of "groutfitti." In essence, this is the scrawling of grout-related puns in the grouting of restrooms; examples include "grout balls of fire," "The Grout Gatsby," and "grout barrier reef." This is most common in college towns, which San Francisco… More >>
  • Port Au Prince at Smuggler\'s Cove

    Best Cure-All Cocktail

    Port Au Prince at Smuggler's Cove

    We all need a drink sometimes. When a day serves up more than a reasonable amount of grief verging on the comedic there is only one tried and true elixir that has the power to restore and dispel bad voodoo: the Port Au Prince ($10, Rhum Barbancourt 5-Star, lime, pineapple juice, Velvet Falernum, grenadine, Angostura Bitters) at tiki temple Smuggler's… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat and Drink Like a Big Shot

    Capo's

    New or old, few places capture the Platonic ideal of how mob-run 1930s Italian red sauce joints might have looked and felt as well as Capo's. Owner and pizza mastermind Tony Gemignani's restaurant is both opulent and comfortable, decorated with old bricks, vibrant red leather booths, and whiskey barrels. Here, you are the boss and you get treated as such… More >>
  • Best Funhouse

    Buckshot

    This bar and game room out in the Inner Richmond puts a whole new twist on the term "drinking games." Forget the college classics like flip cup, beer pong or kings when you're putting back the booze. Instead, travel back further into your childhood and play a slew of arcade games, including hipster favorite Big Buck Hunter. Have fun challenging… More >>
  • Best Adult Spectacle

    Redwood Room

    A man stands alone, leaning against the Redwood Room's bar. A sexy woman, in a tight dress and six-inch heels, walks up to him. She's friendly, smiling, and eager to initiate conversation. This is how every man imagines a night at the bar to play out. Except here, it really happens. A lot. Like clockwork. Most men grin back confidently… More >>
  • Best Reason To Fall Into a Pool At The Bar

    Chambers bar at the Phoenix Hotel

    We know a motor lodge in the middle of the Tenderloin, where a retro-cool room can be had mere steps away from a Christmas-light-illuminated pool complete with kitschy art around it. We also know we had you at "motor lodge" and "Tenderloin." Happily, the mid-century fun and games aren't just for the hip folks staying in a room poolside; any… More >>
  • Best Sucka Free Bloody Mary

    St. Mary's Pub

    The true red and gold fans weren't out on Valencia after the 49ers downed the Falcons to make their first Super Bowl since Steve Young days. They were out in lowriders along Mission Street, popping in for a sip on a vinyl-covered seat at the time capsule of a bar at the top of the hill between the Excelsior and… More >>
  • Best Negroni On Tap

    Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen

    Campari is not for the faint at heart (or head, or liver). Neither are gin and vermouth mixed in equal parts with the ruby red Italian liqueur into the most acerbic and savory of cocktails. Courage for this liquid is centered at this hotel district corner spot, where on occasion Fernet cocktails — at one time, the Hanky Panky —… More >>
  • Best New Live Venue

    The Chapel

    Who says there's no such thing as life after death? For several years, the 1914-era former mortuary at 777 Valencia St. sat dormant, waiting as the surrounding neighborhood experienced an infusion of vitality. In the fall of 2012, it finally rose from the grave. Thanks to local restaurateur Jack Knowles, the elegant old Tudor-style building became the Chapel, the city's… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour Bar Crawl

    The Divisadero Corridor

    Like a good basketball team, a good happy hour bar crawl required a range of components, each understanding and mastering its role. By that metric, the Divisadero Corridor is the '96 Chicago Bulls. Fly Bar is the initiator, a low-key spot with a solid beer selection, sake cocktails, cheap sangria, and an arsenal of mini pizzas — all marked down… More >>
  • Best Flaming Drinks

    By Tamara Palmer Cocktails are on fire all over town. It may often be a cheap gimmick to hide the quality of the concoction, but the true showstoppers are the ones that still dazzle long after they're poured and set aflame. At Smuggler's Cove (650 Gough St., 869-1900, SmugglersCoveSF.com), a paradise for Tiki nerds, the icy sweet Top Notch Volcano (pineapple,… More >>
  • Best Places to Go When the Midway Shuts Down

    By Derek Opperman Don't believe anyone who tells you that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. in San Francisco. Stick it out past last call, and a whole freak show of hardcore partying awaits, if you know where to look. These are the places where people dance 'til 4 a.m. or later despite the lack of alcohol — nobody cares, nobody's… More >>
  • Elena Sanders

    Best Human Chandelier

    Elena Sanders

    San Francisco must surely stand as a major battleground in the ever-escalating war among bars for sheer spectacle. Finding the right balance between absurdity and subtlety is somehow key. Elena Sanders knows this as well as anybody. She's the contortionist suspended from a ring betwixt the bars in Monarch, twisting and spinning in a quietly impressive performance that combines the… More >>
  • Best Place to Experience the Old Divisadero

    Club Waziema

    Listen up, whippersnappers, and let us tell you of the Old Days of Divisadero, before Bi-Rite, before third-wave coffee and locally sourced artisan cocktails, before baby-friendly boutiques and big, broad bike lanes. Divisadero Street was a working-class four-lane ribbon drawing a colorful line through the middle of San Francisco. And one of the best bars on it was Club Waziema,… More >>

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