Sip, Snack and Unwind: A Guide to Happy Hour in San Francisco

Where to head when you’re thirsty, hungry and ready to let loose

If you appreciate a good happy hour, San Francisco is a good place to indulge. The city is a capital of the craft cocktail movement; the prime winegrowing regions of Napa and Sonoma are in its backyard; and its artisan beer scene has been brewing for over a decade. And don’t expect boring bar bites in this epicurean hub. Here's where to head when you’re thirsty, hungry and ready to let loose.


Financial District

Gaspar Brasserie

Vibe: Old World Sexy

This glamorous, dimly lit French brasserie near Union Square hosts what it calls Social Time, which entails cocktail and wine specials in the Chandelier Bar and second floor Cognac Room, home to the city’s largest selection of brandy cocktails. Feast on pommes frites with tarragon aioli and croque monsieur croquettes. The Bubbles & Rocks special pairs a split of Moet & Chandon Champagne with a dozen oysters. M-F 4-7 pm. 185 Sutter St., San Francisco.

Bubbles & Rocks at Gaspar Brasserie in San Francisco

E&O Kitchen and Bar

Vibe: Downtown Asian Fusion

Let your hair down from 3 pm onwards at this cavernous restaurant in Union Square. Take advantage of drink specials, $1 oysters and dumplings plus the ever-popular corn fritter bites. Groups should go for the pu pu platter. M-Sa 3-6 pm. 314 Sutter St., San Francisco.

Corn fritters at E&O Kitchen and Bar in Union Square SF

Pabu

Vibe: Polished Japanese

This upscale Japanese restaurant from prolific chef and restaurateur Michael Mina draws a steady corporate crowd with its modern izakaya approach and sushi selections. Insiders come for the generous happy hour menu, offering sake, wine, chuhai and Sapporo to wash down pork steam buns and Tokyo fried chicken karaage. M-F 3-6 pm; Su 5-10 pm. 101 California St., San Francisco.

Happy hour at Michael Mina's Pabu.


Castro

Blackbird

Vibe: Convivial Classy

Join the locals on Upper Market Street at this popular and inviting bar known for its cocktails, which are discounted at happy hour along with beer and wine. M-F 5-8 pm. 2124 Market St., San Francisco. 

Blackbird bar


SoMa

Uno Dos Tacos

Vibe: Alfresco Fiesta

Sandwiched between the Financial District and SoMa tech offices and offering plentiful outdoor seating under yellow umbrellas, this playful and modern Bay Area interpretation of a taqueria (with an impressive selection of tequila and mezcal) is a natural happy hour power player. Join the party with discounted margaritas, sangria pitchers and buckets of beer, plus tasty flautas, gorditas and tostaditas. M-F 4-8pm. 595 Market St., San Francisco.

Margaritas at Uno Dos Tacos in San Francisco


Pacific Heights

Dosa

Vibe: South Indian Glam

Expand your happy hour horizons at this grand contemporary spot with original and tasty South Indian snacks like the papadum and chutney sampler and Chennai chicken paired with discounted drinks like the Bengali gimlet. M-Thu 5-7 pm; 9 pm-close. 1700 Fillmore St., San Francisco; 995 Valencia St., San Francisco. 

Bengali gimlet 


Mission

Elixir

Vibe: Barbary Coast Holdout

The inconspicuous watering hole crafts serious cocktails (such as the Zapotec Sour and the Monk’s Cherry No. 3) but is still a low-key neighborhood bar at heart. Come to watch sports, play darts and save on drafts, well drinks and classic cocktails. M-F 3-7 pm; Su-Tu 11 pm-2 am. 3200 16th St., San Francisco.

Elixir

Hog & Rocks

Vibe: Epicurean Gastropub

This lively self-described ham and oyster bar with an in-depth selection of whiskeys is a solid happy hour spot. Save on beer, wine, bubbles and select cocktails like the smoked margarita and bourbon buck and fill up on $1 oysters and bar snacks like popcorn and huitlacoche corn dogs. M-F 5-6:30 pm. 3431 19th St., San Francisco. 

Happy hour at Hog & Rocks