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Nightlife in San Francisco

San Francisco nightlife has it all: clubs with world-class DJs in the SoMa District, dive bars in Chinatown, coffeehouses in North Beach and piano bar karaoke in the Castro. For serious cocktails, the Tenderloin is the new bar-hopping hotspot. Downtown is mostly quiet, except round Union Square where Ruby Skye offers large-scale clubbing and Redwood Room drinks. The Mission District offers straight-forward drinks, like those at Zeitgeist. Everywhere is smoke-free, and most bars close at 2am.

Bars

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  1. 1. Café du Nord - Entertainment

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    Café du Nord, San Francisco. Photo by Will Kivinski

    This sexy subterranean supper club near the Castro is set in a beautiful 1907 speakeasy with a 12m mahogany bar, rich red tones and an intimate stage. Café du Nord's line-up of indie performers is as eclectic as the crowd.Show this on map

    Address

    2170, Market Street, San Francisco CA 94114

    Telephone

    +1 415 861 5016

    Transport

    Bus 37 or BART to Church Street

    Website

    Cafe du Nord

  2. 2. Biscuits and Blues - Entertainment

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    This New Orleans-style basement-cum-nightclub near Union Square offers a nightly line-up of quality blues bands from around the USA. The sound system is impressive, and yes, Biscuits and Blues serves flaky biscuits along with great fried chicken and southern-style appetisers.Show this on map

    Address

    401, Mason Street, San Francisco CA 94102

    Telephone

    +1 415 292 2583

    Transport

    Bus 2, 3, 4 or 38 to Union Square or BART to Powell Street

    Website

    Biscuits and Blues

  3. 3. The EndUp - Clubs

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    Many San Francisco clubbers party at The End Up until early in the morning. In the SoMa District, it programmes world-class DJs who spin dance tunes for a diverse clientele. There's a different nightclub every evening, so check their website.Show this on map

    Address

    401, 6th Street (at Harrison), San Francisco CA 94103

    Telephone

    +1 415 646 0999

    Transport

    Bus 12, 27 of 47 to the SoMa District

    Website

    The EndUp

  4. 4. Great American Music Hall - Entertainment

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    Great American Music Hall, San Francisco. Courtesy of Great American Music Hall

    Built in 1907 as a restaurant/bordello in what's now the Tenderloin District, the Great American Music Hall hosts renowned indie bands amidst ornately carved balconies, frescoed ceilings and marble columns. It's possibly one of the most gorgeous rock venues around.Show this on map

    Address

    859, O'Farrell Street, San Francisco CA 94109

    Telephone

    +1 415 885 0750

    Transport

    Bus 19 or 38 to downtown or BART to Powell Street

    Website

    Great American Music Hall

  5. 5. Zeitgeist - Bars

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    Zeitgeist has the largest outdoor beer garden in the city, and on sunny days it's packed with dressed-down locals drinking pitchers of beer. It's the best people-watching bar in the Mission District. Expect a punk-rock-cum-biker-bar venue where everyone's welcome.Show this on map

    Address

    199, Valencia Street, San Francisco CA 94103

    Telephone

    +1 415 255 7505

    Transport

    Bus 14, 26, or 49 to Mission District or BART to 16th Street Mission

    Website

    Zeitgeist

  6. 6. Top of the Mark - Bars

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    Cocktails at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, California.

    Top of the Mark, perched on Nob Hill is one of the world's most famous cocktail lounges, a spectacular glass-walled room with 19th-floor views of the city. Live bands play throughout the week, from jazz to salsa and swing.Show this on map

    Address

    1, Nob Hill, San Francisco CA 94108

    Telephone

    +1 415 616 6916

    Transport

    Bus 1 to Powell/Mason or Powell Hyde cable car to Nob Hill

    Website

    Top of the Mark

  7. 7. Redwood Room - Bars

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    Redwood Room, San Francisco. Photo by Amanda Greene

    Known for its gorgeous redwood panelling made from a single 2,000-year-old tree, the downtown Clift Hotel's elegant Redwood Room bar and lounge has a plush, modern feel. The scene is mostly moneyed young professionals mingling with overpriced martinis in hand.Show this on map

    Address

    Clift Hotel, 495 Geary Street, San Francisco CA 94102

    Telephone

    +1 415 929 2372

    Transport

    BART to Powell Street

    Website

    Clift Hotel

  8. 8. Beach Blanket Babylon - Entertainment

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    Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco. Courtesy of Beach Blanket Babylon

    Beach Blanket Babylon is a comedic musical that pokes fun at current political figures and celebrities; the costumes and oversized headdresses are outrageous. It's been playing in North Beach for more than 30 years and still almost always sells out.Show this on map

    Address

    678, Green Street, San Francisco CA 94133

    Telephone

    +1 415 421 4222

    Transport

    Bus 30 or 41 to North Beach or Powell/Mason cable car to Green Street

    Website

    Beach Blanket Babylon

  9. 9. Li Po Cocktail Lounge - Bars

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    Li Po's Cocktail Lounge, San Francisco. Photo by Sean Clare

    An eerily dim cave-like Chinatown dive bar that was once an opium den, Li Po's Cocktail Lounge has an alluring character with a dusty clutter of Asian furnishings and exotic mementos. Try the Special Mai Tai cocktail.Show this on map

    Address

    916, Grant Avenue, San Francisco CA 94108

    Telephone

    +1 415 982 0072

    Transport

    Bus 1,12, 20, 30, 41 or 45 to Chinatown, or Powell Hyde cable car to Washington

  10. 10. Mezzanine - Clubs

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    Mezzanine, located in the SoMa District, is one of the most modern dance venues in San Francisco with state-of-the-art laser technology. A diverse crowd dances to live music from various genres, as well as some of the world's best DJs.Show this on map

    Address

    444, Jessie Street, San Francisco CA 94103

    Telephone

    +1 415 625 8880

    Transport

    Bus 14, 21 or 26 to Mission Street and 6th Street or BART to Powell Street

    Website

    Mezzanine

  11. 11. The Mint Karaoke Lounge - Entertainment

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    The Mint Karaoke Lounge is the best-known karaoke bar in the Castro, with over 3000 song selections and a crowd as diverse in their looks as their taste. The martinis here are wickedly large, liquid courage for approaching the microphone.Show this on map

    Address

    1942, Market Street, San Francisco 94102

    Telephone

    +1 415 626 4726

    Transport

    Bus 14, 26 or 49 to Hermann Street or BART to Church Street or Duboce and Church

    Website

    The Mint Karaoke Lounge

  12. 12. 1015 Folsom - Clubs

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    1015 Folsom is an enormous party warehouse spread over three levels. Located in the SoMa District, it programmes varying nights, attracting everyone from moneyed professionals to a hip-hop crowd, with DJs mixing tunes to a coordinated full-colour laser system.Show this on map

    Address

    1015, Folsom Street (at 6th Street), San Francisco CA 94103

    Telephone

    +1 415 431 1200 / +1 415 431 7444 (event hotline)

    Transport

    Bus 12, 19, 27 or 47 or BART to Civic Center or Powell Street stations.

    Website

    1015 Folsom

Clubs

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  1. 13. Ruby Skye - Clubs

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    Ruby Skye, San Francisco. © Mary Tsao

    Downtown's most glamorous and gigantic nightspot, Ruby Skye is a renovated 1890s Victorian playhouse with a ballroom dance floor, three bars, a smoking lounge and DJs. It's too yuppie for most clubbers but a safe bet for tourists.Show this on map

    Address

    420, Mason Street, San Francisco CA 94102

    Telephone

    +1 415 693 0777

    Transport

    Bus 2, 3, 4, 27 or 38 to Union Square or BART to Powell Street

    Website

    Ruby Skye

  2. 14. Bimbo's 365 Club - Clubs

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    Originally located on Market Street when it opened in 1931, Bimbo's 365 Club  is a swanky North Beach, Ricky Ricardo-style spot where you can catch live rock, jazz, and smaller, eclectic acts. Amid glamorous leather banquettes, audiences dance and sip grown-up cocktails. Grab tickets in advance at the box office, which is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.

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    Address

    1025 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, USA

    Telephone

    415/474-0365

Entertainment

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  1. 15. The Fillmore - Entertainment

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    Made famous by promoter Bill Graham in the 1960s, The Fillmore, aptly located in the Fillmore District, showcases big names in a moderately sized space. Inside is an impressive collection of vintage concert posters chronicling the hall's musical history.Show this on map

    Address

    1805, Geary Boulevard, San Francisco CA 94115

    Telephone

    +1 415 346 3000

    Transport

    Bus 22 or 38 to Fillmore District or BART to Montgomery Street

    Website

    The Fillmore

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