San Francisco's Best Tiki Bars, According to Local Experts

The City by the Bay has always had a thing for tropical cocktails.

Tiki bars were popularized in the United States in the 1930s, and in San Francisco they’re still a hit. Summers might be cool and foggy around here, but a rum-based drink with an umbrella and some tropical ambience can bring the vacation vibes. We asked some local experts to tell us where they go when they’re in the mood for tiki cocktails.

Trad’r Sam

It still holds the nostalgia of a tiki bar in its heyday. The bartenders are friendly, the beer is relatively cheap and it's always a good time, whether you're alone and just want to unwind or spending time with your friends. It’s one of the city’s original tiki bars, and some say one of the oldest tiki bars remaining. Sit back and listen on a quiet night, and you can still hear the tropical vibes and good times from years ago. Sevan Araneda, bar manager, Last Rites, @lastrites_sf

Smuggler's Cove in Hayes Valley

Smuggler’s Cove

It represents the passion of the owner and bartender Martin Cate, who creates delicious, fun cocktails with the quality and integrity you would expect from a San Francisco bar. It's also a cozy little spot that has all the kitschy, fun trappings of a tiki bar. Anjan Mitra, co-owner, DOSA, @anjan

 

Forbidden Island and Li Po Cocktail Lounge

The first offers a non-kitschy tiki experience. And since it’s in Alameda, I make a day of it and hit the island. I suggest the second Chinatown spot, which is more of a Chinese drinking den, because they serve ridiculously good mai tais. If you have more than one in the basement, you'll be on island time. Colby Heiman, director of operations, Sorrel, @sorrelrestaurant

Bar at Hawker Fare

Hawker Fare

My go-to tiki spot is Hawker Fare. It has awesome food too and is right by my house. (Drink order: Virgin Sacrifice or Zombie.) Ryan Farr, owner, 4505 Meats, @4505meats

Luau Lounge on Pier 39

Luau Lounge

I love this bar on Pier 39. It has a great view, and you have to go through the arcade to get to it. Rosemary Noriega, concierge, Hotel Zetta San Francisco, @hotelzetta