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The Best SF Bars for Every Kind of Date

From first dates to late night dates to when you want to seal the deal, these are the bars for every kind of San Francisco dating situation.

By / July 25, 2016
   Chris Clouse
   Chris Clouse

It’s no secret that dating in San Francisco is The Worst. So if you’re lucky enough to meet someone you actually want to hang out with and get to know better, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the perfect spot. Lucky for you, we’ve researched the very best bars for all kinds of dates. From second dates to Tinder dates to dates with people you don’t want to be seen with, here are the perfect spots for every romantic (and not-so-romantic) situation.

(Need help getting a date? Here are a bunch of spots you can actually maybe meet someone IRL.)

For When They’re Paying
The View Lounge
The View Lounge at the Marriott has the best views of any bar in San Francisco… which will so much easier to appreciate if someone else is footing the bill for the $14-18 cocktails.


For When You’re Paying
Press Club
Press Club feels pretty swanky when you walk inside, so your date will probably be stoked you’re taking them somewhere fancy. The trick is to get them to meet you before 6 P.M., so that you get $3 off any glass of beer or wine.

For the Second Date
Urban Putt
You enjoyed the first date enough to know you want a second, but you’re still not sure if you’ll want a third. Which is why an activity like miniature golf is perfect. Just be sure to get lubricated at the bar before you play. Dating sober is so zzzzzzz.


For When You Want to Seal the Deal

There’s something both sexy and playful about this bar, which is the kind of vibe you want if you’re hoping for a little action later. Plus, the lightbulbs above the bar urging you to “Be Amazing” can act as inspiration when the time finally comes.


For the 30th Date
You’ve said everything there is to be said. So just go to Brewcade where you can drink beer, play video games, and then go home and fall asleep without having sex. Welcome to the rest of your life.


For When You Don’t Want the Date to Run Long

This beer garden is a perfect place to meet for drinks on a sunny afternoon or evening, but the line to get beer is always out the door, which pretty much guarantees you won’t want to stay for more than one.

For When You’re Hoping Drinks Turn Into Dinner
25 Lusk

The lounge at 25 Lusk is totally sexy and the perfect place to meet for drinks. Plus, if things go well, you can ask for a table for two upstairs.


For When You Don’t Want Anyone to See the Person You’re Dating
The Cliff House

The Zinc Bar at The Bistro at The Cliff House is possibly the most confusing bar name in all of San Francisco, but is also the perfect place to go on a date where you want to enjoy the drinks and killer views, but will die if you see anyone you know. After all, when’s the last time someone you knew had drinks at The Cliff House?


For When You Want to Dance
Double Dutch
Dark, a little dirty, and the perfect place to drink a little too much, bust a move to all your favorite ‘90s hits, and eventually end up making out on the dance floor.

To Show Off Your Whiskey Knowledge
Nihon Whisky Lounge
Nihon has the largest single malt whiskey selection on the west coast and if you buy a bottle, you can store it in a private locker which will surely impress all future dates.


For When You’re Having an Affair
Big 4

The Scarlet Huntington is old school San Francisco at its best, but no one local ever seems to go there. Grab a seat by the piano, order a martini (that will be perfectly executed) and keep your fingers crossed that no one you know sees you canoodling in the corner.


To Woo a Wine Snob
Hotel Biron

There are a lot of great wine bars in San Francisco, but Hotel Biron with its exposed brick, tiny nooks, and low lighting, is by far the sexiest.


To Impress a Beer Connoisseur
Mikkeller Bar
Unfortunately, Toronado just doesn’t have a “date” kinda vibe. Mikkeller Bar, on the other hand, is sleek, dark, and has 42 beers on tap, all of which come out at the perfect temperature, which is sure to get your date all hot and bothered.

For When You’re Not Actually Sure If It’s a Date
Dirty Water

Dirty Water is in the Twitter building, which means a lot of people go there for meetings. But, it also has oversized leather couches and chairs, 52 beers on draft, and 100 wines by the glass, so if it turns out it is a date, you’ll be all set.


To Get Out of the Friend Zone
Sweeping views of the water, the twinkling lights of the Bay Bridge, oysters… If a night at Waterbar doesn’t flip the switch on your buddy status, nothing will.


To Meet a Tinder Date
The Page

The Page is the perfect place to go when you’re not sure what you’re getting yourself into. It has a great whiskey selection, a pool table if you need a distraction, and is pretty centrally located, which means getting home (either alone… or not) shouldn’t take too long.

The BatteryThe Battery

To Meet a League Date
The Musto Bar at The Battery

We’re just assuming anyone who is on The League is also a member of The Battery and that, naturally, that’s where they’d want to go on a date. We could be wrong, but we’re probably not.


To Indulge Your Competitive Nature
Luau Lounge at Players Sports Grill

Luau Lounge has killer views of the Bay and you can take your cocktail into the arcade where you can compete at over 85 games, including skee ball. And if you manage to be a gracious loser, maybe your date will even want to ride the carousel with you afterwards… if you know what we mean. Dibs on the Sea Dragon!


For When You Want to Drink Too Much and Decide That Getting a Hotel Room Would Be The Best Idea Ever
Redwood Room

One minute you’re sipping your fifth over-priced cocktail with throngs of tourists at the bar in the Clift Hotel, the next you’re upstairs having crazy sex and ordering tons of room service. Preferably, in that order.

To Take Someone Who Just Moved to Town
Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

Visiting the Tonga Room should be on every San Franciscan’s bucket list, but mostly, your date will just be impressed with your creativity because seriously, bars like the Tonga Room just don’t exist in other cities.


To Show Off Your Singing Skills
If you’ve got chops and you want your date to know it, there’s no better way to show ‘em off than by belting out your favorite song while being accompanied by a professional piano player. And you’ll seem like a serious hero if your date loves to sing and you tell them you brought them there because you’re dying to hear them perform. Feeling shy about singing for the crowd? You won’t be after one of Martuni’s enormous martinis.


For a Late Night Date

Not only does ABV have some of the best cocktails in town, the kitchen stays open until 1 A.M., which means you can fuel up for your even later night action.


If You’re Dating a Marina Bro/Chick, but Don’t Want to Hang Out in the Marina
Harper & Rye

Harper & Rye gets crowded on the weekends, but during the week, it’s a good spot for relatively affordable cocktails ($10-11) or, you know, a jar of punch (that serves four). And even though it’s on Polk Street, it definitely feels like it would be right at home on Chestnut Street, so your date won’t feel too out of their element.

For When You’re Just Not That Into Them, But Want to Keep Dating Until Someone Better Comes Along

Churchill has a good vibe, good drinks, a chill place to sit, and best of all, you can bring your dog and just pay attention to him the whole time instead of your date.


For the Final Date
Gold Cane Cocktail Lounge

If you’re going to dump someone, you should probably not do it in a bar and instead do it at one of these places. But if you insist on doing it at a bar, The Gold Cane is the perfect dive bar at which to do so because the drinks are cheap (if you’re doing the dumping, you’re also doing the paying) and you’ll be able to find a table in a corner where hopefully no one will hear the screaming or notice the tears.


To Propose
Um… no. Please don’t propose at a bar. Thank you for all that you do.


Daisy Barringer moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and though she considers herself a “local,” knows better than to ever call herself “a native.” She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends a lot of time in Tahoe with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey.

More articles by Daisy Barringer



  1. So well done – this list not only gave me a few new ideas for bars to try, but also a good dose of laughter… the League and the marina bro/chick suggestions were hilarious. Thanks for the boost in the work day, Daisy

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